Monday, February 26, 2024

SOTO unfold musically on ‘Origami’

Puerto Rican musician Jeff Scott Soto is perhaps best known as Yngwie Malmsteen’s vocalist and also the singer for Journey, Talisman, Sons of Apollo and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Although he’s a classic soul singer — the same singing style as Steve Perry, maybe — he’s equally at home, working on the ear-assaultive hard rock or pushing his lung power to the limit on grandiose power-metal excursions. When he’s not working as a solo artist, he’s recording with his own band SOTO: the band includes Spanish guitarist Jorge Salán, TSO bassist Tony Dickinson, Brazilian Tempest lead singer BJ [keys, guitars], and Brazilian drummer Edu Cominato. All band members contribute to the song creation process, so there is a real sense of cooperation.

On May 24, 2019 SOTO will deliver their third studio album [their first via InsideOutMusic] titled: Origami.

The album begins with the relaxed freedom of ‘HyperMania’ that has a pleasing melody contour and is also fairly light-weight. But ‘BeLie’ [it’s already released as a lyric video] is far darker. Here, you will find an amazing bass solo, perfect guitar-work and brilliant coordination to go with some magnificently lustred harmonizing. This piece is meticulous in craftsmanship and painstakingly disposed of with prowess and compositional skills that are certainly prog-metal-ish in aspiration and communication.

The title-track “Origami” has also been released as a video and has racing, scattershot rhythms. Embarking on this journey is like taking a railway train into your own sub-conscious… but expect derailments in your thought processes along the way. The boiling guitars tend to thunder and fume, the drums buffer-thump against the riff and, of course, the voice becomes a beacon as it goes deeper into the flank-folds of sound. The guitar solo is almost too electric-hot to handle at about the 3:00 min mark and the resultant conflagration burns like unholy immolation.

“Dance With the Devil” bounces back like a black-cat strapped to a bungee. And although “Afterglow” has a similar feel to it, the follow-on track has clouting beats and magisterial synths that add a sense of regality to the operatic vocals.

The final track is the balladic “Give In To Me” and, as a rock number, it’s squash-folded and pleated in between folk-metal and nu-metal. On this song Jeff’s voice reminds us of Chad Kroeger — but don’t let that worry you — it’s 100% blackhearted torture — and filled with unique suffering.


Neil Mach
Neil Mach
RAMzine Senior Writer - With a career spanning 30 years author / journalist Neil Mach is an expert on the music business and is a reliable guide. He especially loves heavy metal, prog & blues.

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