Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

With Jeff Scott Soto still busy with Boogie Knights, his time with Axel Rudi Pell had come to an end. He was too busy to do both. However, he wasn’t too busy to play around with his good buddy Marcel Jacobs. Since Talisman was on hiatus, they decided to form Human Clay and pull together some of the old demos they hadn’t used with Talisman and make an album. That was the debut Human Clay album we reviewed a few weeks back. It was time for them to do another album together in Jeff’s spare time and this time around had a better batch of songs and they spent a little more money on it, double the last one.

As a result, the production was a lot better and so was the sound. This one sounded more like a Talisman record as the bass was more prominent in the mix and most importantly, the drums were actually real drums thanks to former Talisman drummer Jamie Borger. Jeff sounded great, they had real engineers this time around and it all came together much better. There was still no touring as Jeff’s other commitment made it too hard to do. In fact, Human Clay has never played live as a band and never will due the passing of Marcel in 2009. The Japanese label they were under actually had an option for a third album, but nothing ever came of that as one was never released or recorded that we know about.

My version of the album is a Japanese edition. It doesn’t have the OBI strip, but as you can see below, there is some Japanese at the bottom. Included in the CD was an extra booklet that was all in Japanese and being the Japanese edition, we get a bonus track. And that is really all the info I have on this one, so turn up the volume and let’s review the album.

The album opens with a bass solo from Marcel who actually handles all the guitar work as well. The opening track, “Lessons of Love”, is more in the melodic tradition of Talisman as is most of this album. The drums sound like drums this time around and Jeff sings his heart out. And I never knew that Marcel could jam on a guitar like he does, but the solo is totally awesome. The uptempo rocker makes you sit up and take notice. Now this is more like it!

“King of the Nation” is up next and actually reminds me a little of Queen’s “Let Me Entertain You” at certain points with the way Jeff delivers the verses. But that bass is all Talisman. Another fast, uptempo rocker but the style of this one is really cool and gives us a different sound. Still has a great chorus and a killer solo as well…plus Jamie’s drumming on this one is also stellar.

Then “Salvation” comes in with a bang with a heavy drum opening that leads to a more melodic track with a heavy bass line all the way through. Jeff’s vocals are effortless and sound so silky smooth. This mid-tempo track give us more of what we want from Talisman…I mean Human Clay.

Then it is back to the heavy rocker with “Pain & Deception”. This fast driving track speeds through the verses with Jeff singing a duet with himself. It is an interesting way to present the song, but brilliant. Marcel’s fingers are flying as that bass is playing at warped speed and Jamie has no issues keeping up. It might be the heaviest song on the album and amen to that! I could take a whole album of this metal version of the band easily!!

“The Thin Line” opens with a gritty guitar riff and quickly Jeff comes in with a swagger and lays down the vocals. His confidence is expertise is apparent. I like the crunchy guitar in this one, really cool sound, but don’t fret as Marcel’s ever present bass sound is still there driving the song forward which gives it a funky groove. This one isn’t as heavy as the last, but still has a big punch and like the rest Marcel’s solos this one is perfectly made for the song and a little showboating throw in for good measure. This album definitely has the better songs than the debut.

One of the best songs on the album is “Speed Demon (Dedicated to ‘The Worm’)” and it is another fast driving, heavy song. Like the title suggests, the song feels like you driving 100 mph down the road. The chorus is the winner here as it is simple and catchy as hell and would make a great. The guitar work is as fast frantic as you’d expect with a driving drum beat backing it up. By the end you have to catch your breath.

Next is a completely unexpected track. It is the title track, “U4IA”, which is an instrumental. It is chance for Marcel to show off his immense talent as he handles all the strings with Jamie giving the support. It is a very melodic track as the guitar seems to be singing the verses. The bass is heavy, but truly meant as an accompaniment as the guitar is the star here. This Marcel can play a mean as guitar…who knew.

“Pretender” is a bass driven track, which gives it a little funky edge to it. Jeff is back on vocals (well who else would be) and does his usual best. However, for the first time we get a song that is only so-so. Not as memorable or varied as the other tracks. Felt like more filler than killer and that is okay as they all can’t be great.

With “Stand 4 the Fall” we are now continuing down a path we’ve already been down. Yes, the playing is great and Jeff’s vocals are top notch as usual, but the continual bass thumping doesn’t add anything to this one and it feels like we’ve heard this all before.

The final track for the standard album is “Survive” and that it does do. With a menacing opening guitar riff straight in to a mini solo before Jeff aggressively attacks the lyrics. This is a heavier song and not a paint by numbers track. Towards there is a break and then it comes back extremely dark and disturbing before going in to another brilliant guitar solo by Marcel. I like these two when they go big or go home and they went big with this one. It sees the band go out in a bang which is what the last half of the album needed.

The Japanese bonus track is called “Boy on a Golden Hill” and is another guitar driven track and I like it better than a couple of tracks on here so this one would’ve been a better album track for me. Some great backing vocals on the chorus, a great guitar sound and some more great playing by Jamie on drums. Another solid rocker and a great bonus track.

Track Listing:

  1. Lessons of Love – Keeper
  2. King of the Nation – Keeper
  3. Salvation – Keeper
  4. Pain & Deception – Keeper
  5. The Thin Line – Keeper
  6. Speed Demon (Dedicated 2 ‘The Worm’) – Keeper
  7. U4IA – Keeper
  8. Pretender – Delete
  9. Stand 4 the Fall – Delete
  10. Survive – Keeper
  11. Boy on a Golden Hill (Bonus Track) – Keeper

The Track Listing is 9 out of 11 Tracks or 82%.  This was a huge step up from the Human Clay debut which had poor production and the songs weren’t as good. This one saw them rock out a little more going a little heavier at times, but it was the guitar work that really stood out this time around. It was more in your face.  The fact they used actual drums this time around helped even more thanks to Jamie Borger.  Marcel Jacobs and Jeff Scott Soto are a dynamic duo and they showed why I am a huge fan of theirs.  I still think most of their Talisman work is better, but out of the Human Clay work, this one is the best.  My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars as this one got it right!

UP NEXT: BOOGIE KNIGHTS – ‘WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE BOOGIE’ (1997)

THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:

  1. Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
  2. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
  3. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
  4. Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
  5. Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
  6. Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
  7. Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  8. Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
  9. Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  10. Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
  11. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
  12. Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
  13. Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
  14. Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
  15. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
  16. Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
  17. Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
  18. Talisman – ‘5 Out Of 5 (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
  19. Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
  20. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
  21. Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
  22. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
  23. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
  24. Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
  25. Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
  26. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
  27. Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
  28. Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
  29. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
  30. Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
  31. Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
  32. Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
  33. Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
  34. Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2001)
  35. ‘Rock Star (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
  36. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
  37. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002) – Bonus Edition
  38. Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
  39. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
  40. Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
  41. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
  42. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
  43. Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
  44. Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
  45. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
  46. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
  47. Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
  48. Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
  49. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
  50. Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
  51. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
  52. Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
  53. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
  54. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
  55. W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
  56. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
  57. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
  58. W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
  59. W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
  60. SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
  61. SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
  62. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
  63. Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
  64. W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
  65. SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
  66. Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
  67. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
  68. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
  69. Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
  70. SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
  71. W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
  72. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
  73. Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition

14 thoughts on “Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

  1. Oh wow, that is SO much better than the first one. The production is a true night and day difference. And yeah the songs do seem more well-constructed, at least from the bits I’m sampling right now, but the production difference is stark.

    Liked by 1 person

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