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.
By 1998, Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacob thought it was time to bring Talisman back together and record a new album. Jamie Borger was brought back, of course, on drums and a new guitarist was found in Pontus Norgren (The Poodles, Hammerfall). The only problem is that Jeff was so busy with The Boogie Knights, they had to record in the States. Jeff had a home studio so he and Marcel spent about 10 days writing new material which then band then recorded in Jeff’s home studio. The drums, however, were not as they needed a better set-up so they were recorded elsewhere.
They found a couple record labels to release the album, Point Music in Europe and Pony Canyon in Japan. However, neither label wanted to promote the material so no touring was actually done which is nuts. The album was released on December 27, 1998 and that date alone should tell you how much the labels gave a crap about that album because who in their right mind releases an album 2 days after Christmas.
The band’s sound on this album was a nod to earlier Talisman where they tried to capture a little of the sound from the first two albums. They also ended up recording 3 cover songs on the album and actually opened the album with a cover song. I’ve heard Jeff describe this album as their ‘Diver Down’ album (which also had a lot of covers).
Michael Sweet is the lead singer of Stryper so you think I would do a Stryper ranking first, but nope. I decided to do Michael Sweet’s solo releases before I go through all the Stryper albums. Michael has been rather prolific with his music lately between the Stryper albums, his solo work and his Sweet & Lynch albums there has been a ton of new music. I think he has also been getting better with age both vocally and lyrically.
He has a new album solo coming out soon called ‘Ten’ and before that was released I started listening to his older Solo albums and then one thing lead to another and I went through all of them. So why not rank them from the ones I liked the least to the ones I liked the best and here we are. Eventually I will get to the Stryper albums, but that could be awhile as there are so many to get through, but I will make it eventually. For now, let us get through these. Enjoy…
THE WORST – TOUCHED (2007):
Okay, the album is beautiful. He sounds amazing and I know the album was dedicated to his wife Kyle who was suffering from cancer. It is a love song for her and that is incredibly touching. The album is a collection of his songs and covers that were for his wife and all are ballads and not rocking at all. I am not saying this album is bad, I am just saying I couldn’t enjoy it without that rocking side to go along with it.
Back in 2013, Richie Sambora met Orianthi and sparks flew, apparently. The two are an item and now they are putting out music for the masses and it is about time. I had heard back last year, I believe, that they were working together and going to put out an album. Well, we finally got one; however, it is only an E.P. with only 5 songs. Now, I am not greedy, but I would have preferred a whole album.
Now when I heard we were getting music from the two, I was excited. I love Richie’s vocals and his bluesy, rock style plus he can play the guitar (have you heard of Bon Jovi). Orianthi is also one helluva a guitar player herself and she can sing with the best of them. She has played for Michael Jackson and for Alice Cooper as well as her own solo work. The two together, I was expecting a bluesy rock album with some amazing guitar work.
What I was expecting and what we actually have are not quite the same thing. Apparently, the two of them wanted to deliver an album that was not what people expected. They wanted to give something that shows that they can do something more than play guitar. Message received loud and clear.