With Jeff Scott Soto switching labels from earMUSIC to his Sons of Apollo home, Inside Out, for his eponymously named rock/metal outfit SOTO, here they are back for a third outing, in the form of 'Origami'. So, what's changed since 2016's 'Divak'? Obviously, a new bassist is in the ranks, following the utterly tragic death of bassist David Zablidowsky while on tour with Adrenaline Mob in 2017. Touchingly, the band still list "*David Z* - Honorary Member - In Memorian" under 'Band Members' on their Facebook page. So, Tony Dickinson is the band's new bassist, who also replaced David Z in Trans-Siberian Orchestra. And he's delivered the goods here, alongside the otherwise stable lineup of guitarist Jorge Salan; keys/guitar guy BJ; sticksman Edu Cominato; and, of course, Jeff himself.
Although SOTO are billed as a rock/metal venture, it often veers more towards the heavier side of the hard rock spectrum, and steps over into metal territory for large amounts of the playing time. And, although they've appropriated all manner of rock and metal idioms in their songs, these have been transformed and conveyed through an exhilarating and energising contemporary impetus, that seems to be harder hitting here than on their previous two albums. Coupled with the fact that melodies have been forged through vocal lines and instrumentations in the most relentlessly captivating of ways, 'Origami' makes for addictive listening from start to finish.
And there are some first-class performances to deliver all these rather fantastic compositions. Salan excels in both his lead and rhythm work throughout the album with all manner of virtuosic widdling and masterfully dominant riffage. Likewise for Cominato's performance behind the kit; he adds all kinds of engaging grooves and hard-hitting metal vitality to the overall compositions. And Jeff delivers some of the finest vocals I've heard from the guy, proving himself, once again, to be one of the finest rock/metal vocalists in the scene. This quintet's combined talents are a potent meeting of musical minds, that's resulted in something pretty damn special.
For me, 'Origami' is SOTO's finest work to date on what is a near-perfect album. I'm sure David Z would've been proud. This is pure entertainment. Love it.
Review by Mark Holmes
24th May 2019
4) World Hone Colder
7) Dance with the Devil
9) Vanity Lane
10) Give in to Me
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...melodies have been forged through vocal lines and instrumentations in the most relentlessly captivating of ways..."