OK – the first bit is my review of the album Life…
Talisman just like an endless procession of mainly European bands during the 90’s and 00’s are akin to an old sailors home. The sort of place where occasionally employed types wash up in. But one saving grace for sailors homes is the fact that you’ll find plenty of experienced hands there. As Marcel Jacob quips in the liner notes on some releases of this disc he pretty much tops the list of mentions in the Encyclopedia of Swedish Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.
The album itself is full of tasteful generic hard rock. There are some studio tricks tried such as the way tracks five and six seque into one another. A few styles are given a workout from the vocally driven Soul 2 Soul which has a touch of funk and a pleasant open structure to the more muscular Tears In The Sky and Body. Good riffs are to be found here as well such as those of All That Really Matters which also has a catchy chorus to boot. And Hands Of Time rides a bass heavy attack to a soulful perfection.
With competent production values, solid and honest songcraft and of course the vox of Jeff Scott Soto Talisman – at least on this album – should appeal to fans of non hysterical hard rock and given the nice chorus and riff work here this disc makes for a fine highway driving soundtrack.
And here is a review for the live album….
In this release of this album there are liner notes by Marcel Jacob wherein he publicly disses this release stating that the title actually is an irony – that he chose the title as he felt nobody else would give this 5 out of 5. So it’s sort of hard to put such things out of your mind when first you listen to this live offering by the collection of hard rock journeymen known as Talisman.
Despite the live setting production here is fine as most of the crowd noise filtered out. The musicianship seems fine. I’ve no idea if there were lots of overdubs or what – and the songs themselves are very indicative of the sort of generalist hard rock the band produce. That being PG rated hard rock with nice riffs and Jeff Scott Soto crooning away over the top in his full bodied way.
Personal favourites here would proably include the tunes Comin’ Home which has an insistent delivery and the encore All Or Nothing which scoots along nicely.
Fans of Talisman should probably pick this up if they can find it reasonably well priced but if you’ve no real affinity for them then this release won’t change your mind. But it’s twelve tracks of generalist hard rock that like other Talisman product is good for highway cruising.
All up I’d give Life a 3.5 star rating and the live album scrapes into three star territory. Together they make a healthy four star package if you can get it cheap.