Back in 2001, Talisman guitarist, Pontus Norgren, was working on a side project with Z-Records label boss, Mark Alger. Mark envisioned a Talisman type project that would be very different from the normal Talisman material. It was thought to be a concept album with multiple lead singers including Jeff Scott Soto doing a few tunes as that was all he agreed to do. Pontus recruited Talisman bassist, Marcel Jacob, but the drummer was Thomas Broman who was not from Talisman.
Jeff signed on to do a few songs and said he was not a member of this band and was doing is at as a favor for his friends. Man, that sounds familiar (Takara and most of his early projects). And like normal, the multiple singer aspect didn’t work out and then Jeff agreed to do the whole album. This was basically a Talisman album with three of the four members, but it wasn’t that either. The biggest difference is the sound. This was a guitar driven album and much heavier than normal Talisman. In Talisman, you have Marcel’s bass front and center and the main focus, here, this is Pontus’ project so the guitar is the main focus. There are moments that feel and sound like Talisman, so any Talisman fan will love this album. But it is different.
The Humanimal name was chosen to mark the connection to Talisman, but at the same time to say that this is different, new and exciting. The album saw a release on January 2002, but it would end up being their last album together as this name. There were some shady dealings going on with the label and Marcel and Pontus ended up in a bitter dispute on royalties with Z-Records which led to bitter arguments between the two friends and as a result, the two parted ways. It was so bad, Pontus was now out of Talisman as well. Soto was planning on signing with Z-Records, but the royalty issue is rumored to have stopped him from signing with them as well. He would soon sign with Frontiers Records (which we will discuss on the next review). What started out as promising turned in to a total disaster…such is life in the Music Business!
The album kicks off with “R U 4 Real” (and Soto continues those Prince-inspired naming conventions). The song opens with some heavy, pounding drums and then Pontus’ lays down a brutal quick solo. Soto’s vocals attack the verses with soaring harmonies, but a more aggressive style. Marcel’s bass is thumping hard in the background as the song races fast and furious. Heavy, fast guitars, driving rhythms, what more could you want!
“Again 2 B Found” starts off a little more laid back, but when the guitar and bass jam together you know it is still going to rock. Jeff sounds amazing and that chorus gets stuck in your head. More strong bass playing by Marcel and then Pontus’ solo at the wraps it all up in a nice bow.
The assault continues with “License 2 Kill” with the speed demon of a bass player as he rips off your face. The guitar licks are a left and right to the face and gut. The drums pummel until you are barely left standing. The vocals then slice through the destruction and lay waste until you collapse from the power of it all.
“Find My Way Home” slows things down, but it ain’t a ballad as there are none on this album. Slowed down means it is less than a million beats a second. This is one of the best songs on the album as it is more melodic and Soto brings it on home vocally as it sits right in his wheelhouse. The instruments take a little backseat to Soto’s vocals as they aren’t as in your face. But it doesn’t take away from that great rhythm section. A standout track for sure.
The heavy is brought back with “Feel the Burn” as it is another scorcher of a track. Thomas really pounds away on the drums and Pontus does more of what he is great and that is flying over his fret as the licks in the chorus are stellar and that solo is killer. It is a groovetastic track.
“Road 2 4giveness” reminds me the most of Talisman with the exception of that crazy guitar sound at the beginning. But once you get in to the verses and chorus, Soto’s vocals just go back to that Talisman sound and vibe. A slower track with great harmonies and extremely catchy and melodic. If you thought Soto could sing, just listen to Norgren’s solo…that guitar sings. Talisman fans will be drawn to this track for sure.
And if that track wasn’t good enough for you (for some strange reason), “I” will win you over instantly. That opening guitar sort of reminds of the opening of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, but it ain’t. Then the song just bursts open and Soto’s vocals come rushing in. More melodic greatness and soaring vocals and harmonies. Marcel’s familiar bass is washing over the background while Pontus floods the song with his riffs and that solo.
Then things get a little funky with “Turn Away”. Another groovy song thanks to Marcel and the magic he can do with that bass. The chorus is really catchy and has more great harmonies. The a cappella break with just Soto and his many layers of vocals is awesome. Another Soto standout track.
“Who Do U Think U R” is up next and brings a little sexuality and sensuality to the album. Soto struts those verses and he has an added cockiness. The song seems to be calling out a past romance and he gets the upper hand on the relationship. Another sensational solo and more of the same greatness on the album.
The final track is “Way 2 Deep” and it goes out a little funked up as Marcel works his magic on the bass. It is another rocker as has been every song if there is a fault to the album. Another great solo, more great vocals and drumming. As I said, it is more of the same and the first time I’ve cared that it is. Still, not a bad song.
- R U 4 Real – Keeper
- Again 2 B Found – Keeper
- License 2 Kill – Keeper
- Find My Way Home – Keeper
- Feel the Burn – Keeper
- Road 2 4giveness – Keeper
- I – Keeper
- Turn Away – Keeper
- Who Do U Think U R – Keeper
- Way 2 Deep – Keeper (1/2 Point)
The Track Score is 9.5 out of 10 Tracks or 95%. I have to say there are really no fillers on this one. The only negative is that it is a lot of sameness in that they were all rockers (some a little heavier than others). There are very few chances to catch your breath and more variety would’ve been good. But that is my only negatives to this album. Pontus Norgren shows he is a force to reckoned with on that guitar as his solos and riffs are all top notch. Marcel is a master on the bass and not too many like him. Thomas kept the songs moving with his pounding on those skins. And well, Soto does what he does best with those soaring, melodic vocals. The man is a beast! Humanimal was a one time thing, but it did wet the whistle for more Talisman. My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. It is jam packed with good songs, but still not one of my all time favorites.
UP NEXT: HUMANIMAL – FIND MY WAY HOME: LIMITED EDITION E.P. (2002)
THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:
- Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
- Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
- Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
- Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
- Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
- Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
- Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
- Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
- Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
- Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘5 Out Of 5 (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
- Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
- Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
- Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
- Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
- Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
- Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
- The Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
- Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
- Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
- ‘Rock Star: Music from the Motion Picture (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
- Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
- Humanimal – Find My Way Home: Limited Edition E.P. (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
- Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
- Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
- Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
- Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
- Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
- Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
- Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
- W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
- W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
- W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
- SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
- SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
- W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
- SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
- SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
- W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition