Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

It had been 3 years since Jeff’s last solo album, 2009’s ‘Beautiful Mess’. That album was good, but a lot of people didn’t like it’s direction as it wasn’t the hard, melodic rock that fans of Jeff love. And I get it, but let’s be honest, Jeff should be able to make whatever music he wants to make. I wasn’t a massive fan of that album, but it had some great moments for sure. ‘Damage Control’ sees Jeff listening to his fans and giving them what he they want. He is always good about that. And I wonder if the title is in reference to that fan reaction from the prior album. It seems pretty tongue-in-cheek if you ask me.

I want to say the album dropped around January 6th, 2012, but I could be mistaken. But before that release date, Jeff put in a lot of work on this album and he worked with a ton of writers and a ton of musicians (and sometimes both). Some of the writers were old friends such as Jamie Borger (Talisman) and Gary Schutt (solo band) and then there were names we hadn’t heard yet in his career like Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake/TSO). Jeff has known Joel for awhile and Jeff would return the favor a couple years down the road (which we will review as well.

Jeff had a total of 21 songs ready for the album, but they needed to dwindle it down to 11 which somehow he did. The songs were recorded all over the world on three different continents including Europe as well as North & South America. The album wound up on Frontiers due to the long standing relationship he has had with Serafino Perungino. They agreed to do a Deluxe Edition where Jeff could actually include 14 of the 21 songs as long as there was a DVD with an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) and some music videos and that is the copy I have and will review.

The album kicks off with “Give a Little More” and it is nasty piece of a rock with that gritty guitar riff, the heaviness of the bass the drums. Jeff attacks the vocals with in equal intensity. An almost anthemic, melodic rock song that is proof that Jeff can still deliver the heavy rock like fans complained about. This song is a statement and the guitar solo by Leo Mancini is the exclamation point on that statement.

The title track, “Damage Control”, is up next and the rock fest continues with one hell of an opening riff. That chorus is pure melodic bliss as it as hook-filled goodness. Jeff’s vocals are right in that sweet spot that the fans love. The slower verses and ramped up choruses is such tasty goodness.

“Look Inside Your Heart” is Jeff’s first tune with Joel Hoekstra and it is more of that infectious rock that we love with Talisman or heck, even W.E.T. and turns it up a notch. That chorus, damn, is pretty freaking brilliant as far as hooks goes. Full of great harmonies and Jeff’s vocals are on point and dang another wickedly great solo by Hoekstra. I can’t believe the 1-2-3 punch we get out of the gate here.

Then with “Die a Little” we get a song that Jeff didn’t co-write. It is more melodic rock gold and more W.E.T. juiciness as it could’ve easily fit on the debut album. Jeff’s vocals really soar on the chorus and overall the song has a little cheesiness to it as it leans more pop rock than hard rock, but with the great solo included you can’t fault it at all as the song overall is so good.

Now the metal comes back with “Take You Down” as the guitar tone is dark and dirty and handled by Jorge Salan (who would wind up playing with Jeff especially in his heavy metal band SOTO). Jeff’s vocals are a little more aggressive and a lot grittier and that chorus is just as nasty. Jorge’s solo is like nothing else on this album and is as nasty as they come. A much heavier side of Soto and I really love it. This is one of the bonus tracks that they through on strictly for the deluxe edition.

Then in a complete 180o turn, we get the first quasi-ballad. “If I Never Let Her Go” isn’t as slow as some, but too slow for a rocker. It shows the softer side of Soto, but honestly, not a classic ballad for him as he has so many. Still not a bad song, but when comparing to others he’s done, doesn’t hold up well.

“Tears That I Cry” brings back the rock with some bombastic drumming and more great guitar work. The chorus is pretty catchy, but the verses seem more paint-by-numbers and the song, though upbeat and a rocker, doesn’t stand out like any of the early tracks on here. Feels more filler and less killer.

We get another ballad and this one is a piano and guitar driven piece. “Bonafide” is really a bonafide ballad this time. The chorus will sweep you up and carry you away as Jeff finds his groove with this one. Any of the AOR fans that complained about the last album will eat this one up as it has great harmonies and lyrics that will pull at those heartstrings.

The 2nd bonus track for the deluxe edition is “Elena”. It is another rocker with former Talisman Jamie Borger getting a co-write. This sounds like an 80’s rock track as it drips with cliched cheesiness, keyboards and Jeff’s vocals are in that higher register like most singers did back then. However, that doesn’t make it a bad song at all. I kinda dig it and when you get to that 80’s guitar solo, I’m all in thank you very much. Hey, I like cheese I guess.

Next up “Krazy World” comes exploding out of the gate with the heavy drums, the crunching guitars. It’s just total badassness all around. Jorge Salan is on the co-write and as you’d expect it is heavy and Jeff does heavy well. The chorus is pretty dang melodic as well and pretty contagious. If this is a sign to come with the band SOTO…sign me the f#@k up.

The melodic rock is here again with “How To Love Again” as this song could fit on any Talisman album easily. More keyboards on here as well and the melodies are everywhere with this one. It is a solid track as Jeff’s vocals are in his wheelhouse so you know they sound perfect, however, the song leaves me a little empty as it is so-so all around. Well, the guitar solo is pretty great and one of the better ones on the album (which has a lot of good ones), but doesn’t completely sell it for me.

Every album needs a party song and “AfterWorld” is that for this album. Damn, it’s so much fun. More sensational edgy guitar work (and Emo Markov’s kick ass solo), Jeff’s aggressive vocal delivery and some banging drums really take this one up a notch. A total heavy ass blast that will get you rocking your ass off. That chorus is anthemic and epically grand. Hell yeah!!!

“NeverEnding War” starts off with an Aldo Nova helicopter and then goes in to a little girl praying and then Jeff’s vocals come in a sing-song delivery that sounds great with all the guitar picking around it and harmonies. And when the song settles in, it sounds pretty amazing. This song is so different than anything else and you know what, I welcome a little variety. It doesn’t really fit on this album, but you can’t help but get lost in it as it is such quality. The album would be lesser without it.

The final track and last bonus song, we get “Afraid to Die” which is helped by Jeff’s old friend Gary Schutt. And this song is freaking heavy. The dark and foreboding guitar riffs are matched by the wickedly great drumming by Casey Grillo of Kamelot. The song is another pure metal track and I like this side of Mr. Soto. An album of mostly hard melodic songs to please the longtime fans also gives us a taste of where Jeff’s mind is really at and a glimpse at things to come. What a way to go out!!

Track Listing:

  1. Give A Little More – Keeper
  2. Damage Control – Keeper
  3. Look Inside Your Heart – Keeper
  4. Die A Little – Keeper
  5. Take U Down – Keeper
  6. If I Never Let Her Go – Keeper (1/2 Point) 
  7. Tears That I Cry – Delete
  8. Bonafide – Keeper
  9. Elena – Keeper
  10. Krazy World – Keeper
  11. How To Love Again – Keeper (1/2 Point) 
  12. AfterWorld – Keeper
  13. NeverEnding War – Keeper
  14. Afraid to Die – Keeper

The Track Score is 12 of 14 or 86%.  After the disappointment of “Beautiful Mess” for a lot of people (including me, if I’m being honest), this was return to form for Jeff. I don’t have issues with him trying new things, not at all, but the last album was missing the songs in my book. This one has it in spades. With only a few misfires, Jeff seems to have found his groove and with the help of a lot of friends, has delivered a stellar release and another example of why I really dig this guy and have followed him for so long.  ‘Damage Control” sees the melodic, but it is the heaviest stuff that really left an impression for me. The guitar work on here is some of the best of any Soto album and I might love his voice, but it is nice to have the rest of the stuff sound great too and this certainly does.  My Overall Score is 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars as you can’t go wrong with this one folks. It has a little of everything.


The Bonus disc is something Frontiers wanted from Jeff to do a Deluxe Edition. You get a full Electronic Press Kit and three great videos for the songs “Look Inside Your Heart”, “NeverEnding War” and “Damage Control”. When you take this one with 3 bonus tracks, this is definitely the way to go to get the best of what Jeff has done with this album. I think the three bonus tracks were better than some of the songs on the album so the Deluxe really is the only way to go. Crank it!!

UP NEXT: W.E.T. – ‘RISE’ (2013)


  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 Awake (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. Talisman – “Never Say Die (A Song For Marcel)” – 7″ Single (2020)
  77. W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
  78. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
  79. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Complicated’ (2022)
  80. Ellefson/Soto – ‘Vacation in the Underground’ (2022)
  81. Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition

14 thoughts on “Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

  1. You defiantly get more value bang for the buck with Soto’s output. Good on him and better for you as a fanboy. Isn’t that drummer guy Grillio drumming in Queensryche now? I had to watch the video you posted especially when you wrote Aldo Nova’s helicopter lol
    Great stuff Snowman!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like he did a good job with the sequencing, as the misfires (and as 1/2 keepers, I guess relative misfires) are buried in the middle.
    Kind of like a parabola with the minimum point/vertex in the middle, and then going up on either side!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s