Talisman – The Albums Ranked Worst to First (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Going through the Jeff Scott Soto Series, we have now been through every Talisman Studio album so I figured, let’s go ahead and rank them rather than wait until the end of the series. Talisman is a band started by the late Marcel Jacob. He recruited Jeff Scott Soto as they became friends while working with Yngwie Malmsteen. The original band also had Christopher Stahl on guitar, Mats Lindfors on guitar, Mats Olassaon on keyboard, and Peter Hermansson on drums. But for me, that isn’t the classic line-up. Nope. That would Marcel, Jeff and then Fredrik Akesson on guitar and Jamie Borger on drums. Heck, I even loved when Pontus Norgren replaced Fredrik on guitar. I mean, let’s be honest, all versions of the line-up were great. Who are we kidding.

The band started in 1989 and released their first album in 1990. They had moderate success in Europe but did best in Sweden. Not much noise at all here in the States as the music had changed too much for them to succeed. For a band that was together for around 20 years, we only got 7 albums which isn’t near enough in my opinion. They were really busy with side projects that seem to consume their time. Or maybe, Talisman was the side project. Whatever it was, I was always glad to hear new Talisman music. In 2009, Marcel Jacob passed away before they could start on an 8th album and that was the end of Talisman. I don’t suspect Jeff will resurrect it without Marcel and I don’t think he should.

With that, let is get to the ranking of their studio albums from the Worst (which really isn’t) to their Best (which really is)…

THE WORST – ‘LIFE’ (1995):

I do have some issues with this one as I thought the mix on my version was bad and that mostly comes with the uneven transitions between songs. It is very inconsistent.  There are only a handful of standout tracks such as “Tears in the Sky”, “Crazy”, “Body”, “Soul 2 Soul” and “A Life”, but otherwise the rest of the album could be forgettable. It does have its moments though and is above average which is why My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars.  I don’t know if it was for the fact they felt rushed or production, but the quality of the songs on this weren’t there.  It could also be they didn’t perform this one live in the studio together which I find can hurt the vibes of the album. So, out of the 7 albums. This I would categorize as The Worst, but still an above average score.

#6 – ‘TRUTH’ (1998):

After a 3 year gap between albums, Talisman came back with a ton of songs, but even with 3 cover songs, it is still a solid album. It might be a little long at 15 tracks (14 since one is a bonus track) and would’ve scored way better with a 10 song set, however, they gave us 15 which is too many.  But this is the late 90’s and it was the thing to do to jam as many songs as the CD could hold.  I think they had too many softer songs and would’ve been better on the heavy, but the songs that were good, were really good on this one like “Here 2Day, Gone 2Day” and “Angel/Devil” to name a couple. I also really liked the covers of “Let Me Entertain You”, “Darling Nikki” and “Frozen”. So all wasn’t too bad. My Overall Score is still respectable at 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars which is still above average.

#5 – ‘7’ (2006):

Since this turned out to be their last studio album, what a way to go out.  There was no dialing it in here as the boys really put out a well-focused album that gives Talisman fans a taste of everything we love about the band. I had only discovered them a few years earlier, so for me it was awful that it seemed to end so fast, but I did have all their albums to look back on and I have done that fondly.  Appreciating them more with each listen. The only negatives were too many ballads and they tried to be a little too experimental one song, but otherwise, it is a stellar release and won’t disappoint.  My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  A nice end to an amazing ride.

#4 – ‘CATS & DOGS’ (2003):

The band was back after a 5 year hiatus between albums and they hadn’t slowed down.  They might even be stronger than before. It was awesome to have Fredrik Akesson back in the fold (not that I didn’t like Pontus Norgren).  Marcel’s bass is still is stellar as ever, Jamie’s drumming is still impressive and Jeff…well…Jeff is always flawless.  This was a great introduction for me in to the band and made me a fan ever since.  It’s not their best as I soon found out, but it still holds a special place in my heart.  My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars as the rockers on here are stellar with “Outta My Way”, “Skin on Skin” and “Break It Down”.  The production work was some of their best as well as the album sounded fantastic.  Going on Frontiers was a great thing for the band!

3 – ‘TALISMAN’ (1990):

Now, it is easy to see why all 23,000 copies of the original pressing that were released sold out in months in Sweden. It is classic AOR sounding rock and any fan of the 80’s Rock scene would eat this shit up. I know I did.  Any fans of Europe or Bon Jovi would enjoy this as there is so much goodness to be tasted.  The guitar solos, the ballads, the soaring vocals, the melodies, the harmonies, I mean what else would you want.  As a fan of this style, this was right up my alley and a favorite of mine. The classic songs that were in their live sets up to the end were “I’ll Be Waiting” and “Break Your Chains”, but don’t go without hearing “Dangerous” and “Just Between Us” either. My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars 

#2 – ‘GENESIS’ (1993):

Let’s be honest, this album is flawless.  It is the perfect vehicle to highlight Jeff Scott’s vocals as this is his wheelhouse in style I like him the best.  Fredrik Akesson is only 19 and he nails every note and solo perfectly.  For a band that does this style of music, you need a gunslinger and they found it. Marcel’s bass playing might be one of my favorite things of Talisman.  I love how prominent he is in the sound and he is the main songwriter along with Jeff.  This is as close to perfect as you can get.  My Overall Score is easily 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars and might be the best thing they ever did…I said might be. Such Talisman classics such as “Mysterious”, “Comin’ Home”, “Time After Time”, “All or Nothing” and “If You Could Only Be My Friend”. One smash after another.

#1 – ‘HUMANIMAL (PART 1 & 2)’ (1994):

I am probably biased with this one as it is my favorite Talisman album and has been since the first time I’d heard it.  It has such a variety of songs and styles and we see the band stretch themselves to their breaking point and succeed. Whether it is metal, funk, 80’s rock, ballads or even Spanish songs the band really gave us an album that is both interesting and exciting which keeps you on your toes as to what will come next.  I have the combo 2CD set of Part 1 & Part 2 and you can’t listen to one without the other. They belong together. Now, Jeff’s vocals on here are the reason I became such a Soto fan.  Throw in the unbelievable bass playing of the late, great Marcel Jacob, the exciting drumming of Jamie Borger and the shredding skills of the amazing Fredrik Akesson and you have a band that was gelling together and giving us their best.  My Overall Score is obviously a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars as it don’t get much better than this for Soto albums. As far as songs, where do you being…too many to mention.

And there you have it, the Talisman studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best.  Let me know what you think.  Where did we differ and where did we agree.  What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!

Now back to the reviews…



  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. Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
  33. Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
  34. ‘Rock Star: Music from the Motion Picture (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
  35. Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
  36. Humanimal – Find My Way Home: Limited Edition E.P. (2002)
  37. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002)
  38. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
  39. Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002)
  40. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
  41. Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
  42. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2004
  43. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
  44. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
  45. Soul SirkUS – ‘World Play’ (2004/2005)
  46. Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
  47. Talisman – ‘World’s Best Kept Secret DVD (2005)
  48. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
  49. Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
  50. Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
  51. Talisman – The Albums Ranked Worst to First
  52. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
  53. Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
  54. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
  55. Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
  56. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
  57. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
  58. W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
  59. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
  60. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
  61. W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
  62. W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
  63. Jeff Scott Soto – The Authorized Biography (2014)
  64. SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
  65. Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Dying to Live (2015)
  66. SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
  67. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
  68. Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
  69. W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
  70. SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
  71. Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
  72. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
  73. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
  74. Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
  75. SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
  76. W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
  77. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
  78. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Complicated’ (2022)
  79. Ellefson/Soto – ‘Vacation in the Underground’ (2022)
  80. Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition

12 thoughts on “Talisman – The Albums Ranked Worst to First (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

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