Friday, March 4, 2016

SOTO: "Divak"

Rating: RRRR
Label: earMUSIC 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Not too keen on the SOTO debut the other year, I hoped and expected better from Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Journey, Eyes, etc.) and the band. Cominato on drums, lead guitarist Jorge Salan, bassist David Z and keyboardist/guitarist BJ. Low and behold, dreams are coming true as "Divak" is in my opinion a huge step forward since last. It's overall a much stronger effort as it feature solid and more consistent song material throughout the record.

Just as groovy, slightly funky and aggressive (simply check out the track of "Time"), not to mention progressive as previous attempt. They've managed to take their metal game to the next level by adding the touch of Midas. Gold you say? Yeah. Tracks that glitter are plenty and it starts with the hard-hitting metal trio of "Weight of The World", "Freakshow" and "Paranoia" to the softer ones of "In My Darkest Hour" (no, it's not the Megadeth cover) to the Talisman' sounding ones of "Misfired", "The Fall From Grace", etc.

Bigger, bolder, harder, but catchier, there's plenty of clever arrangements and grooves on tracks such as "Unblame" and "Suckerpunch". The only track I tend to skip every time, 'Cyber Masquerade', since it's sort of stuck in first gear and feels more like something they threw together in the last minute. Kudos to the wicked bass solo though (RIP Marcel), but JSS is way over the top here with all those screams. He's otherwise right on track and hit all those metal notes with ease. Definitely one of those singers that you could listen to each and every day and never get tired of.

Final verdict: Their debut displayed many ups and downs and I'm happy to report that this is a way smoother ride with merely the odd downer and many highlights. Divak is a bold statement from a true METAL band that apparently grows with each new task and release. [Release date 01.04.16]

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