Thursday, August 25, 2016

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016)

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016) full

Graceful Melodic Rockers DANTE FOX return 2016 with a new album titled "Breathless", not surprisingly released by AOR Heaven Records.
One thing that has always earned my love to Dante Fox from the moment I heard them for the first time more then twenty years ago it's the voice of Sue Willetts. Whoever is in the band, as long as her voice is there, it will always be Dante Fox.

Willetts, having been selected in the Top 20 in Classic Rock magazine's 50 Female Rock Vocalists Of All Time, should explain all you really need to know. Although you really need to listen to those velvet tones to get the full Fox!
"Breathless" then is up there with the best in the Melodic Rock world. With albums as great as this, the band should be headlining arenas across the globe. Although I am more than happy to have Dante Fox as one of Rock's best kept secrets.

Another ace in Dante Fox's hand is the guitar playing of Tim Manford, which when given a faultless production from Mark Stuart / Sheena Sheer, sounds like something out of the world. The rest of the band now consists of Andy Perfect on drums and Alan Mills on bass.
The songs have a rich, polished sound – not too clinical mind – and having ‘keyboard player to the stars’ Eric Ragno and Lee Small (Shy / Phenomena) on harmony vocals adds to the magical mix.

'Young Hearts' is the kind of rock song that many bands starting out now would sell their souls for. Couple that with 'All Eyes On You' and the title track, and you get an opening trio of songs that will not only leave you breathless, but gasping for more.
At this point 'Break These Chains' provides a welcome breather, but it’s still as powerful, if not more so, due to its subtleties.

DANTE FOX - Breathless (2016) inside

This leads me to the album's calling card in the form of 'Broken Hearted Man' which is a song that Heart would no doubt have scored a worldwide hit back in their big hair heyday. The band no doubt believe this to be true too as there are two versions included here, the normal one and an acoustic / string arrangement at the end of the album. Both are fantastic.
There's also a stand out tune in 'Love Affair', but then again how can you pick your favourites when they are all so ruddy marvellous?

Dante Fox's "Breathless" is, simply put, one the best 'pure' melodic rock albums apperared in recent years. There's many bands (and good ones) out there trying to recapture the magical '80s sounds but few succeed like Dante Fox.
At the moment there is basically no real competitor to Dante Fox in terms of female-fronted Melodic Rock. High Quality Melodic Rock I should say. Heck, all songs here could rival Heart / Ann Wilson best work in their '80s prime.
"Breathless" is a mandatory purchase for all fans of the genre.

01 - Young Hearts
02 - All Eyes on You
03 - Breathless
04 - Break These Chains
05 - Broken Hearted Man
06 - I Can't Stop Tonight
07 - Dynamite (Your Love Is Like)
08 - A Love Affair
09 - How Will You Know (Where to Find Me)
10 - Creeps into My Mind
11 - Broken Hearted Man (Acoustic) [bonus track]

Sue Willetts (vocals)
Tim Manford (guitar)
Alan Mills (bass)
Andy Perfect (drums)
Erik Ragno (keyboards)
Lee Small (harmony vocals)



TANGO DOWN - Bulletproof (2016)

TANGO DOWN - Bulletproof (2016) full

This blog's favorites TANGO DOWN are back with a new album titled "Bulletproof", as always, via Kivel Records. Tango Down never failed to deliver top class Melodic Hard Rock, and this new album is not the exception; the band sound bigger than ever.

Something common in Tango Down is the changing faces in the vocalist slot all over the years / albums. In past records the band featured the services from the likes of David Reece or Alex Barbeiri, and ot surprisingly, Tango Down have yet another lead vocalist with, this time, Chas West (Lynch Mob Red Dragon Cartel, Resurrection Kings) now handling the singing.

While most bands suffer a lot with the lost of their frontman, this seems to be a rule for Tango Down and a benefit, as each album from the band result different and unique.
What never changes in this awesome band is their terrific musicianship and their ability to craft killer Melodic Hard Rock songs.
The production of Bombay Black's Ty Sims (House Of Lords) provided the necessary punch to make this new 10-track offering shine like a diamond.

'Punching Bag', title track 'Bulletproof', 'Superstar', 'Anything Can Change' are kick-ass songs plenty of groove and monster riffs, then the classy Tango Down melodic stuff come in spades with 'Give Me a Reason', 'When We Were Young' and 'Broken Heart'.

TANGO DOWN - Bulletproof (2016) back

Tango Down continues delivering top notch Melodic Hard Rock with their fifth album "Bulletproof", just 10 tracks but 10 golden bullets straight to your heart. Why this band is not huge among fans of the genre is beyond me. They are among the best.
New frontman Chas West is without a doubt a clear winner for the NY based bunch as his clear and powerful voice perfectly fits the Tango Down style; catchy and powerful US hard / melodic rock of the highest order with a superb production.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Punching Bag
02 - Give Me a Reason
03 - Bulletproof
04 - Carry On
05 - When We Were Young
06 - Going Under
07 - Superstar
08 - Edge of Goodbye
09 - Anything Can Change
10 - Broken Heart

Chas West (vocals)
Scott Miller (guitar)
Axel Gessner (bass)
Keith Michaels (drums)



TESLA - Mechanical Resonance Live (2016)

TESLA - Mechanical Resonance Live (2016) full

Hard rock favorites TESLA are presenting a live recording of their classic album “Mechanical Resonance LIVE!”, celebrating the original multi-Platinum record’s 30th birthday in style. With a few surprises up their sleeve, including the new studio single “Save That Goodness” written & produced by Phil Collen of Def Leppard, the album will be released on August 26th.

Some records pushes you out of the denial box when it comes to age. It's really true, Tesla's debut "Mechanical Resonance" was released in 1986 and I can remember it as it would have been yesterday, and it means that I'm thirty years older too.
The album was introduced with quite some good reviews which made me and my friends very curious. So we went, as each week, to the local record shop and there it was. When I heard the album I was more than impressed.

Tesla released a debut that was plenty with hits, but there was true substance in the songwriting. There was no bad song on this record and each of the tunes kept the thrill up till now.
Next to the songs it was the dynamic guitars, the powering rhythm section and last but not least Jeff Keith's very unique husky voice that made this entire package to a real winner.

Therefore it was a great idea to celebrate this milestone with a live release, including all songs from "Mechanical Resonance".
"Comin' Atcha Live", "Changes" and "2 Late 4 Love" are also three decades later great melodic hard rock songs of an awesome band. Not to forget the iconic "Modern Day Cowboy" and "Lil' Suzie".
It wasn't one single show that build the base of this live album. It has been concerts played at the Graspop festival, Rocklahoma, Sweden Rock and the Monsters of Rock cruise that have been combined to a unique live release.

TESLA - Mechanical Resonance Live (2016) back

As a special treat Tesla added a new song to this album too. "Save that Goodness" is the name of the track that was written & produced by Phil Collen of Def Leppard. It's a terrific cool rocker that is pure Tesla with some Def Leppard links. Actually, it would be great if Def Leppard would have had this kick-ass expression in some of their later songs.

"Mechanical Resonance Live" is a damn cool album that has a great sound which makes legendary songs shine bright and fresh.
You do not like much live albums? Forget that, this is a must have.

01. Rock Me to the Top (Live)
02. Ez Come Ez Go (Live)
03. Gettin' Better (Live)
04. Comin' Atcha Live
05. Changes (Live)
06. Before My Eyes (Live)
07. 2 Late 4 Love (Live)
08. We're No Good Together (Live)
09. Love Me (Live)
10. Cover Queen (Live)
11. Lil' Suzie (Live)
12. Modern Day Cowboy (Live)
13. Save That Goodness [New studio track 2016 - Bonus]

Jeff Keith – Vocals
Frank Hannon – Guitar
Brian Wheat – Bass
Troy Luccketta – Drums
Dave Rude – Guitar



MAVERICK - Big Red (2016)

MAVERICK - Big Red (2016) full

For many, one of the big surprises this year will be "Big Red", the amazing new album by MAVERICK, a five-piece from Northern Ireland whom have been building their fan base since 2012 and four years later this new album may well propel them further forward.

The one thing you are going to hear throughout this album from start to finish is huge guitar riffs from lead guitarist Ryan Balfour and the strong pipes of his brother and lead vocalist David Balfour.
Don’t believe me? Well, just listen to the intro tracks “All For One” and “Free” which feature all these aspects, including an outstanding harmonising section from the rest of the band (and a bass solo from Richie Diver).

The young bucks from Belfast have never shied away from expressing their musical influences from the likes of Poison to Winger to Warrant and while you hear an influence of each of these bands throughout the album they were shown predominately in the catchy love song “The One” and the party classic “Whiskey Lover” that will have anyone listening to this album up dancing with a bottle of Jack in hand.
There was even a tasteful Thin Lizzy / Dokken mixture added to the following track “Renegade.”

Of course there is one track that need special mention; “Asylum”. This tune features some huge special guests in The Poodles' lead vocalist Jakob Samuelsson and a guitar solo from Alice Cooper’s former guitarist Kane Roberts.
The connection between Maverick and The Poodles started while Maverick supported The Poodles on their last European tour, this friendship then blossomed into what we have now, a powerful vocal duet between David Balfour and Jakob Samuel. While the solo is short but sweet the famous muscle-man Kane showed us that he still has what it takes to blow us away, machine gun guitar or not.

MAVERICK - Big Red (2016) back

Holy cow... this band are a force to be reckoned with. Maverick's style on "Big Red" take you back to the glorious late '80s / early '90s with an impressive urgency but an enviable maturity.
You will be pleasantly surprised by these guys... impressive stuff.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. All For One
02. Free
03. The One
04. Mademoiselle
05. Forever
06. In The Night
07. Whisky Lover
08. Renegade
09. Beyond The Gates
10. Asylum
11. Fly Away

Lead Vocals: David Balfour
Guitar: Ryan Sebastian Balfour
Guitar: Terry McHugh
Bass: Richie Diver
Drums: Mike Ross



TWISTED SISTER - The Best Of The Atlantic Years (2016)

TWISTED SISTER - The Best Of The Atlantic Years (2016) full

Released tomorrow by Rhino / Atlantic Records, "The Best Of The Atlantic Years" brings together all TWISTED SISTER hits from heir heyday in a brand new 1 CD jewel case compilation, featuring no less than 18 remastered tracks plus the previously unreleased cover of ‘Born To Be Wild', new sleeve notes from Gary Bushell and fluorescent pink ink.

Nothing screams “I wanna rock!” more than a Twisted Sister greatest hits album. "The Best Of The Atlantic Years" release marks the 40th anniversary of the group (since Dee Snider joined).
Twisted Sister notably spent an entire decade in the bar scene, packing clubs and banging heads until finally securing a record deal in 1982.
The debut album, Under The Blade, was eventually remixed by Atlantic in 1985 following the raving success of Stay Hungry, which brought powerhouse hits like “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Both cuts are featured on "The Best Of The Atlantic Years" along with other ageless classics from the first five albums. Highlights include all-time opener “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You),” “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “S.M.F.,” “The Fire Still Burns” and more, plus a cover of the classic “Born To Be Wild”, done in the 'twisted' style of course.
Following the death of longtime drummer A.J. Pero in 2015, Twisted Sister made the decision to embark on a farewell run with legendary drummer Mike Portnoy, who was tapped as Pero’s replacement.
Headlining the Saturday night installment of the 2016 Rock Carnival on Oct. 1, Twisted Sister will be making their final northeastern tri-state area appearance.

TWISTED SISTER - The Best Of The Atlantic Years (2016) back

You can call this "The Best Of The Atlantic Years" a cash-in comp, but man, you have into one single disc all Twisted Sister's hits, and with a superb sound. Worth every cent.
Essential stuff

01 - What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)
02 - I'll Never Grow Up, Now!
03 - Sin After Sin
04 - You Can't stop Rock 'N' Roll
05 - I Am (I'm Me)
06 - The Kids Are Back
07 - I Wanna Rock
08 - We're Not Gonna Take It
09 - The Price
10 - S.M.F.
11 - The Beast
12 - Burn in Hell
13 - Come Out and Play
14 - Leader of the Pack
15 - The Fire Still Burns
16 - You Want What We Got
17 - Hot Love
18 - Love is for Suckers
19 - Born To Be Wild [previously unreleased]



KING COMPANY - One For The Road (2016)

KING COMPANY - One For The Road (2016) full

"One For The Road" is the debut CD from KING COMPANY, the new melodic hard rock outfit from Finland to be released on Frontiers Music this Friday 26, 2016.
Formed two years ago, the band comprises experienced musicians from the Scandinavian scene, but most of them coming from heavy metal bands.

Drummer Mirka 'Leka' Rantanen (Warmen, ex-Thunderstone, ex-Kotipelto, etc.) had been thinking about forming a new hard rock / melodic metal band for a long time. He wanted to play with people with whom he had worked before and whom he knew both as good musicians and considered friends.
First, he contacted guitarist Antti Wirman (Warmen), who immediately joined the project. Singer Pasi Rantanen was in Mirka's mind from the beginning, as they had played together in a couple of bands before (Thunderstone, Warmen). After keyboardist Jari Pailamo (Kiuas, Ponies To Kill) and bassist Time Schleifer (Enfarce) joined the band, this 'supergroup' was ready to start working.

Broadening the King Company sound beyond classic hard rock, their music has a significant edge thanks to sharp riffage and bristling solos. Still, there's something more.
In more than a few songs you can detect a subtle blues flavor, in the same fashion Whitesnake always slipped it in to their tunes like uon the excellent 'Shining', the melodic 'Desire', title track 'One For The Road', and 'No Man's Land' (which was the band's original name). The latter song flows more like a hard rock anthem, yet steady almost smoldering like a fire grasping for more air.

KING COMPANY - One For The Road (2016) inside

But King Company's guys also have been raised listening '80s music, and you can't discount the AOR factor in their tunes. The songs are loaded to the brim with solid melody, good guitar and vocal harmony (Rantanen sings clean yet with a little rawness to his timbre), likable refrains, and catchy hooks.
Take the glorious 'Farewell' and 'One Heart', just two songs delivering that AOR momentum at the right place on the album, one in the middle, the other at the end, resulting in a perfect balance to this effective, rocking melodious album.

Catchy and solid Melodic Hard Rock are the best words to describe King Company's debut 'One For The Road', based on the classic style of the genre plus a slightly modern edge resulting in a really, really good and entertaining product.
HIGHLY Recommended

1. One For The Road
2. Shining
3. In Wheels Of No Return
4. Coming Back To Life
5. No Man's Land
6. Farewell
7. Wings Of Love
8. Cast Away
9. Desire
10. Holding On
11. One Heart

Pasi Rantanen (vocals)
Antti Wirman (guitars)
Jari Pailamo (keyboards)
Time Schleifer (bass)
Mirka Rantanen (drums)



CRUZH - Cruzh (2016)

CRUZH - Cruzh (2016) full

Finally time has come; Swedish AOR band CRUZH will be releasing their first, self-titled album "Cruzh" via Frontiers Music.
At the beginning of 2013 CRUZH was presented to the music press creating some kind of mystery. The only thing shown was an image with the silhouette of the three band members and the first single. The track quickly spread on the internet and both Scandinavian and International websites (it was featured here on the blog) and radio stations played it and speculated around the identities of the band members. A cool promotional move.
Frontiers Music was impressed by the guy's quality, and now their full length debut is ready to please the crowd.

Cruzh is Tony Andersson (ex Dawn Of Oblivion) on keyboards and lead vocals, Anton Joensson on guitar & background vocals (ex Eye, TrashQueen) and Dennis Butabi Borg handling bass and background vocals (formerly in TrashQueen as well).
Perhaps the first thing to note here is that Cruzh is not a resurrection or clone of TrashQueen, a glammy band. "Cruzh" is not a glam, sleaze, etc. Nope. Cruzh falls into into the AOR / Melodic Rock style. It's not that their songs can't have some edge, notably in the riffage, but their sound leans to the milder AOR side of things.
In short; Cruzh is classic Scandi AOR / Melodic Rock.

As with the classic style & sound of the genre, emphasis is definitely placed upon song melody and vocal harmony. Throw in some piano, as with the song 'Stay', and you have a mellow ballad with some West Coast breeze. Similar, possibly even more subtle and subdued, is the vocal-rich 'Anything For You' plenty of delicious layers.

All is balanced with rockers, melodic rockers indeed like 'Hard To Get' which begins with a smooth vocal harmony, only to lead into strong riffs and significant groove.
'First Cruzh' rocks with some edge, then 'Aim For The Head' is driven by bold riffs, sweet groove, tasty vocal harmony, singular melody, and a catchy refrain combine for arena-ready hard rock strength, while never giving up that AOR sensibility. It's one of my favorites on the album.

CRUZH - Cruzh (2016) inside

'Survive', 'Hard To Get' and the Def Leppard-ish 'You' are all three excellent samples of Cruzh's music; super catchy melodic rock as it gets. 'Set Me Free' is another highlight, a fast-paced rocker that grabs you at first listen and makes you wanna turn the volume to 10.

All three band members operate as songwriters in Cruzh and among their influences are Def Leppard, Toto, FM, Winger, Firehouse and Bryan Adams, and you can hear some of these influences here, but to me Cruzh has a typical European / Scandi AOR sound akin Bad Habit, Terra Nova, Grand Illusion, etc.
And I love it. I am a sucker for this kind of AOR and "Cruzh" does not disappoint on their debut packed with strong songs, fine musicianship and a classy production for the genre.
Highly Recommended

01 - In N' Out of Love
02 - First Cruzh
03 - Aim for the Head
04 - Anything for You
05 - Survive
06 - Stay
07 - Hard to Get
08 - You
09 - Set Me Free
10 - Before I Walk Alone
11 - Straight from My Heart

Tony Andersson – lead vocals, keyboards
Dennis Butabi Borg – bass
Anton Joensson – guitars, backing vocals
Erik Wiss – piano, production
Louisian Boltner – drums on all tracks
Mattias Silfver – backing vocals on all tracks
Martin Johansson – backing vocals on “Anything For You”



MICHAEL SWEET (Stryper) - One Sided War (2016)

MICHAEL SWEET (Stryper) - One Sided War (2016) full

Stryper's MICHAEL SWEET returns with a new solo album titled "One Sided War" to be released tomorrow august 26. Sweet has been on a tear over the course of the last few years, releasing new music with Stryper, George Lynch (Sweet/Lynch) and his own solo music.
While his previous solo effort was an extremely diverse Rock ‘n’ Roll record, this new release "One Sided War" is pure hard rock, the kind we all love from Styrper and Sweet's pen.

Sweet has surrounded himself with some very talented musicians for th recording. He asked guitarist Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Night Ranger), drummer Will Hunt (Evanescence), guitar shred master Ethan Brosh (Burning Heat, solo work), and bassist John O’Boyle (Tom Ingram Band) to help him with his new solo album.

What they have crafted is an all killer, no filler album of hard rock, glam rock, and some huge classic metal riffs to satisfy your taste buds if this is what you are hungry for.
Here is what Sweet had to say about this album: “Musically it’s my heaviest solo album. It’s not metal but there are definitely some songs on there that will pop out at you. There are some songs that have a bit of the Iron Maiden / Dio feel to them, as well as some songs that have a little bit of a Van Halen influence to them. It’s a very guitar-oriented, hard rock/metal album with lots of melodies and hooks.”

We all know that Sweet is a very talented guitar player, but with having Hoekstra and Brosh on this record, he could just sit back and focus on his vocals as those two are phenomenal guitar players and this album showcases that.
If you had already heard and watched the video for the first single and lead off track “Bizarre,” then you know what to expect from this album. Take a look:

It is hard hitting, riff-heavy, packed full of furious guitar solos, and a well-mixed album. “Bizarre” is a high-speed track that will make you buckle up because you will be on a ride of your life. For anyone wondering if Sweet still has his powerful voice, this will answer your question with a “heck yeah!” He does. His voice is stronger than ever and he can still hit those high notes from the past.
The title track “One Sided War” kicks off with a drum roll from Hunt and then is filled with thick heavy riffs, loud guitars, thumping bass lines, and again strong vocals. “Can’t Take This Life” is featured twice on this album with the bonus version featuring the talents of 16 year old Mariah Formica, who is an up-and-coming vocalist. It is a catchy song that will having you singing along after one listen.

“Golden Age” sounds like a train is rolling through your town with the fast paced drums and chugging guitars. It also has some amazing guitar licks and solos from Brosh and Hoekstra.
“I Am” is a riff heavy song with a slower pace to it. Sweet has a little bit of a deeper and raspy vocals and I really dig how he sounds. Things pick up quickly during the guitar solo, as it is a fire blazing solo.
“Who Am I” slows things down a bit as this is the only ballad on this album. It is a beautifully written song that shows the softer side of Sweet that we all know he is capable of. “You Make Me Wanna” kicks things back to full-speed with another catchy and head banging tune, while “One Way Up” is a groovy tune that might have you dancing in your room.

After the first spin, I was surprised at how fast of a listen "One Sided War" is. Once it is over, you will ask yourself, “Is it already over? Because I want to hear more!” That’s how good this album is.
If you are a fan of the harder side of Stryper, then you have to pick this album up. It will not disappoint you and you will want to tell all your friends about how good it really is.
I am also amazed at how well all the musicians are on this album. They glued perfectly, specially Hoekstra delivering some amazing solos akin Night Ranger 'clean melody' type.

01. Bizarre
02. One Sided War
03. Can't Take This Life
04. Radio
05. Golden Age
06. Only You
07. I Am
08. Who Am I
09. You Make Me Wanna
10. Comfort Zone
11. One Way Up
12. Can't Take This Life [feat M. Formica ](bonus track)

Michael Sweet – vocals, guitar
Will Hunt – drums
Joel Hoekstra – guitars
Ethan Brosh – guitars
John O’Boyle – bass
Moriah Formica – vocals (12)



PALACE - Master Of The Universe (2016)

PALACE - Master Of The Universe (2016) full

"Master Of The Universe" is the debut album from PALACE, the new Swedish melodic hard rock band founded by lead singer / guitarist Michael Palace, who began working with Frontiers as a songwriter and guitar player for First Signal (featuring Harry Hess), Cry of Dawn (with Goran Edman), Kryptonite (featuring Jakob Samuel) and Toby Hitchcock.
The successful collaborations led to a worldwide record deal with Frontiers, and let me tell you that PALACE rocks greatly.

Palace is heavily influenced by '80s imagery and sounds, basically massive arena melodic rock / AOR. Musically the band is really melodic with some welcomed edge here and there. Vocally, Michael Palace has some similarities to Steve Newman, and works very well with the material.
This debut starts with the brilliant, catchy and super melodic tune of title track 'Master Of The Universe', an '80s melodic gem that leaves you breathless and recalls bands such as Journey and Hardline.

The groovier 'Cool Running' rocks you via its excellent rhythm, solid arrangements and the killer chorus, then 'Part Of Me' is another superb track with a commercial potential that several years ago would have been a chart hit.
Palace deliver a good song after another, like the huge, American stadium flavored 'Matter In Hand', the AOR-ish 'Path To Light' and the anthem 'She Said It’s Over', while in 'Young, Wild, Free' we are dealing with sharper guitars and an overall more punchy attack.

PALACE - Master Of The Universe (2016) inside

Palace's "Master Of The Universe" brings to mind late '80s US Arena Rock / Melodic Hard Rock especially in the songwriting style / sonic approach, benefited by a production akin the big names from that era.
It's all good, melodic, bright and rockin', always with melody at the forefront.
Terrific debut. HIGHLY Recommended

01. Master Of The Universe
02. Cool Runnin’
03. Man Behind The Gun
04. Part Of Me
05. No Exit
06. Matter In Hand
07. Path To Light
08. Rules Of The Game
09. She Said It’s Over
10. Stranger’s Eyes
11. Young / Wild / Free

Michael Palace - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Rick Digorio - Guitar
Soufian Ma’Aoui - Bass
Marcus Johansson - Drums



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered]

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered] full

All the TALISMAN catalog has been reissued by a Swedish label with new artwork, newly remastered audio and previously unreleased material. We already presented most of these on this blog but a couple missing, and two that can't be absent in your Talisman / Jeff Scott Soto collection.
And one of these is TALISMAN's self-titled debut "Talisman".

Talisman was the brainchild of talented Swedish musician Marcel Jacob (RIP) who at an early age discovered that he possessed the talent for playing guitar and writing songs. Marcel started his professional musical career playing together with Yngwie Malmsteen and in a band called Force (which would later become EUROPE)
With Force, he co-wrote the songs "The King Will Return" and "Scream Of Anger" with Joey Tempest, the later which would remain a live favorite amongst Europe fans and that the band continue to perform live even today.

Then Marcel recorded the album "Marching Out" with Yngwie and remained for 2 world tours from 1984-86. Difficulties with management forced him to quit and head back to Sweden.
In autumn of 86, guitarist John Norum departed from the band Europe and was looking for members to complete his solo band. Marcel joined and started writing songs for Norum's first release "Total Control".

After a successful album and tour, the idea was to get started on a new album for Norum but after some disagreement on direction, Jacob decided to record his own album with the working title 'Guitars On Fire'. Göran Edman, the singer with Norum at the time, sang on the original demos.
Edman decided he would remain with Norum and through conflict of interest, wasn't able to continue working with Jacob. Shortly after Edman could nor pursue the recordings, Marcel then met Christer Wedin, who worked for the record label Elektra, and was convinced Marcel's new project was worth looking into.

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered] booklet

With a deal now in place, a vocalist was needed to secure the direction of the songs. On a whim Marcel contacted Jeff Scott Soto in the US who was with him in Yngwie's band years earlier.
Soto was extremely interested after hearing the songs and once the all were done and mixed, Jacob changed it from a solo project to a new moniker called TALISMAN...
Marcel recorded the bass, keyboards, most the drums and guitars himself except the solos, handled by guitarist Christopher Ståhl.
Then Jeff Scott Soto recorded the lead vocals and arranged the backing vocals / harmonies, all performed by himself on various layers of tracks. The results were spectacular.

The mixing was done at Abba's Polar Studios in Stockholm and in February 1990 Talisman's self-titled debut and first single 'I'll Be Waiting' released in Scandinavia.
Success was not immediate but the single dis air on the biggest hit radio show in Sweden, receiving more and more requests for Taliman's music.

So Jacob / Soto decided to re-release the single for a possible chart position and this time it went straight to number 3, and the following week to number 2. This was huge considering the fact Talisman played hard rock and the standard on the radio show was Top40 pop music.
The single went gold and the album "Talisman" sold over 50,000 copies in Sweden alone, a big number for the local market.

TALISMAN (Jeff Scott Soto) - Talisman [Deluxe Edition remastered] inside

Although Talisman was not properly 'a band' (something developed for the band's second album, the outstanding Genesis) Jacob & Soto formed a terrific tandem on this debut "Talisman". Jacob's fine taste and skills provided a heavenly musical background for Soto's powerhouse vocals.
Simply class. Period.

You just can't resist the melodic sheen of the opening trio 'Break Your Chains', the exquisite 'Standin' On Fire' and of course, Talisman's best ever song 'I'll Be Waiting'. And the rest of the album is plenty of killers, no filler as well. This Sun Hill Records remastered reissue is close to perfection, delivering a great balanced sound and a pristine output.
And if you need more there's previously unreleased live tracks from the era testifying how awesome Talisman was on stage. Be aware there's two versions of this release, one with 6 bonus tracks and this one with 8 bonuses.
A Must Have.

01 - Break Your Chains
02 - Standin' On Fire
03 - I'll Be Waiting
04 - Dangerous
05 - Just Between Us
06 - System Of Power
07 - Queen
08 - Lightning Strikes
09 - Day By Day
10 - Women, Whiskey & Song
11 - Great Sandwich
12 - MJ Playing Solo in Studio (Instrumental)
13 - Just Between Us (Live 1990) Kopparberg, Sweden
14 - Eternal Flame (Live 1990) Kopparberg, Sweden
15 - I'll Be Waiting (Live 1990) Kopparberg, Sweden
16 - Scream Of Anger (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
17 - NJBBWD (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
18 - Standin' On Fire (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
19 - Let Me Love You (Live 1990) Karlskoga, Sweden
20 - Ice Cream Man (Live 1990) Stockholm, Blues Brothers, Sweden

Marcel Jacob: Bass, rhythm guitars, drums, keyboards
Jeff Scott Soto: Lead vocals, backing vocals
additional players:
Christopher Ståhl: Lead guitars
Mats Lindflrs: guitars on Women Whiskey & Song
Mats Olausoon: Keyboards
Peter Hermansson: Drums on System Of Power, Lightning Strikes
additional players on the live sessions:
Jason Bieler: Lead guitars, backing vocals
"Jake Samuel" Jakob Samuelsson: Drums, backing vocals
Thomas Vikström: Keyboards, backing vocals



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