Tuesday, January 8, 2013

TALISMAN: "Talisman" (Reissue)

Rating: Re-issue
Label: Sun Hill 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

'Wake up, wake up. It's time 2 find out... you're on your own'. Indeed, it's time to revist the smashing debut album by Sweden's Talisman, and once again... break your chains. The late and great bassist/songwriter/bandleader Marcel Jacob first came to public fame as a member of Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force and the Marching Out album/tour in the mid eighties. Thus where he first met U.S. singer JSS aka Jeff Scott Soto (Eyes, Takara, Journey, etc) and the two would eventually record a bunch of records together now re-released by Sun Hill Productions.

Jacob had previously been a member of the unleash-the-fury guitarists' band in the very early 80's as well as Power and Force. The latter pre-Europe and Marcel co-wrote the songs "The King Will Return" (ended up on Europe's debut album in 1983) and "Scream Of Anger" (Wings Of Tomorrow 1984). He returned to Sweden in 1986 to work and co-write the Total Control album by John Norum (Europe) and the Talisman S/T songs were originally intended as the follow up to Norum's debut. However, John rejected them all, and the listener may notice that a track such as "Dangerous". etc. basically 'Total Control Part 2' with a different vocalist.

Not to mention that lead guitarist Chris Steel aka Christopher Ståhl, Jacob's old band member from Power, did mimic a lot of the typical 'Norum' solos and licks throughout this very album. By the way, Jacob wrote, "Let Me Love You", during his time with Power (ca: 1983) and they recorded a demo of the song that would eventually end up on Norum's debut in 87'. Phew, that's enough of nerdy info and name-drop for a while. 'If you need somebody call out my name. I'll Be Waiting right by your side. Everything changes but love will remain. I'm awaiting right by your side'. The song became a massive radio and chart hit in Sweden in the year of 1990 and Talisman went out on tour with guitarist Jason Becker (Saigon Kick) and then drummer Jake Samuel (The Poodles' vocalist).

The first Talisman, in my humble opinion, one of the 'must have' records in the history of Swedish hard rock and metal. I'm not too fond of the drum-sound with the exception of the songs recorded with 220 Volt drummer Peter Hermansson (System Of Power, Lightning Strikes). The bonus tracks are (still) the crappy sounding live ones from Karlskoga 1990 with a short studio solo by Jacob. Booklet liner notes by JSS are way too short. The original album, however, great melodic hardrock from Sweden with classy U.S. vocals by Soto. Always recommended!

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