• 9/10
    TALISMAN - 7 - 9/10


Release date: October 20, 2006

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Since their self-titled 1989 debut album, Talisman have been responsible for some of the finest Melodic Rock to hit the airwaves. Their six studio albums and three live albums have showcased the talents of the much travelled and highly sought after vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. It’s been over three years since their previous album Cats and Dogs was released, and at last their eagerly awaited follow-up, the cunningly titled 7, has hit the shops.

Opening with the up-tempo “Falling,” with its irresistible melody, sprightly guitars, and understated keyboards provide the perfect backing for Soto to deliver the killer vocals. Rather than rehashing melodic Rock clichés, Talisman have taken the essential ingredients of the genre and added a contemporary twist to give an altogether refreshing result.

“Nowhere Fast” sticks to more familiar territory with Marcel Jacob’ unique bass sound laying the foundation to one of Talisman’s most infectious hooks to date. The Funky verse bubbles with life before the driving, hook-laden chorus catches you and sticks with you for days.

The Funk traits are prevalent throughout the album, not in the Chili Peppers sense, but in the overall groove of the song structures. “Rhyme Or Reason” is a case in point. Again, Jacob’ bass is to the fore and locks in tightly with drummer Jamie Borger, and is in a way reminiscent of Talisman’s own cover of Seal’s “Crazy” on their Life album. Another strong Soto vocal performance and some superb backing vocals really bring matters to the boil. The Funk elements are revisited even more effectively on the forceful “Succumb 2 My Desire” later in the album.

Soto has rarely sounded better than he does here. Always an exceptionally strong singer with a smooth yet powerful delivery with an edge, Soto has surpassed even his own high standards. “End Of The Line” shows Soto’s versatility with a more aggressive delivery to the verse, which expands into a very melodic chorus, giving Soto the perfect vehicle to soar effortlessly over the harmony backing vocals.

“On My Way,” with its shuffle-like beat, has the feel of an old favourite but with the freshness and life of a newly composed masterpiece. You can almost feel the wind in your hair driving down a sun-drenched boulevard in an open-topped sports car with this being the soundtrack to your journey.

Jeff Scott Soto is able to cover so many styles — Hard Rock, Funk, Soul, Pop, ballads — with such passion and effortless ease. On “Forever More,” his ability to deliver a top quality ballad is shown to full effect. While Soto takes the plaudits for his performance here, guitarist Fredrik Akesson delivers a solo of true class. Here is a song even Journey would be proud to add to their catalog.

The multitude of styles and variety of songs is one of the many strengths of 7, with the Reggae-like “Troubled Water” the Pop-ness of “Shed A Tear Goodbye,” and the dramatic heart wrenching ballad “Back 2 The Feeling” adding to the potent mix.

In the pre-release publicity, Talisman claimed that this was their best album yet. Most bands say that with each new release, but in this case, Talisman hit the nail right on the head. This is their finest moment, bringing all of their strengths together and producing an album of high quality songs with a superb production and top class performances by the band.

7 is an album to be listened to with mixed feelings. It is an album that may well be their last, as Jeff Scott Soto has deservedly been called by Melodic Rock megastars, Journey, to fill their vacant vocalists spot on a permanent basis following his stand-in role late last year. It is with a sense of sadness that this record may be their last, but what better way to go than with the best album of their career and one of the finest releases of the year.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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