Soto, Jeff Scott - Prism

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Frontiers
Catalog Number: FRCD129
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:22:00

This album and I have got off to an extremely inauspicious start. In fact, as I'm writing this opening paragraph, I haven't even listened to it yet. My first look at the back of Prism reveals a suspiciously schmaltzy track listing, which would normally make me put an album back on the shelf - "Eyes Of Love," "Don't Wanna Say Goodbye," "By Your Side" ... huh? Is this the same Jeff Scott Soto who played and wrote with "The Fury" Yngwie? These track names sound (you have to imagine me looking down my progsnob nose as I say this) almost commercial. A closer look in the insert doesn't inspire my confidence any - the lyrics sound awfully adolescent ... observe (lyrics from "How Long"):

How long - do I sit & wait 4 u 2 fin'lly come around
How long - b4 I say it's time 2 go
How long - do I stop & stare while u take it 4 granted
How long - I gotta feel, I gotta know

Never mind, think I; don't judge a book by its cover, or in this case, an album by its lyrics. Then both my CD player and my computer mysteriously refused to play it at first (the CD-ROM somehow disappeared from my home directory when I tried), adding to my frustration, though this is of course no fault of the music's. Being the faithful reviewer that I am, I shall persevere for the sake of you, dear reader.

After finally persuading it to play, I found that the music's not half as bad as it could be, but it's still definitely not my bag, baby. Prism is his second full-length solo effort (the first being Love Parade, 1995, which I haven't heard). Looking through his resume, he has some impressive credits to his name - as mentioned, he was lead vocalist in the mid-eighties with Yngwie Malmsteen, as well as appearing with such names as Alex Masi and Axel Rudi Pell, and doing backing vocals with numerous progressive bands. As a solo artist, though, he is just not to my tastes. Although it's a release by a well-established name in progmetal circles, this is in no way a prog album; it's very mainstream, unsurprising, love-themed material.

There are some good moments. Guest guitar shredders Howie Simon, Brian Young and Mikos Scarbacci can be heard hamming it up on various tracks, which I appreciated. The rockier "I Want to Take You Higher," a duet with Glen Hughes, is also pretty good. Unfortunately, there are too many lovesick ballads, which get boring after a while, such as "Heaven Knows," "Love Don't Come Easy," "2 Late 4 Goodbyes" and "Don't Walk Away." In the insert, he states: "I didn't want 2 experiment 2 much, copy or recreate anything I've already done..." Well, he's right about the not experimenting.

Soto's voice itself is exceptional, being of course the feature which initially made him an item. If I were to compare it favourably to anyone elses', it would probably be Doug Pinnick, frontman for rock'n'roll-progsters King's X. As for the rest of the album ... nothing's done badly, but as an album, I find Prism boring and sometimes downright sickly. Not something I can get into.

[This review originally appeared July 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Eyes Of Love / Heaven Knows / Don't Come Easy / Don't Wanna Say Goodbye / I Want To Take You Higher / Holding On / 2 Late 4 Goodbyes / Till The End Of Time / How Long / By Your Side / Don't Walk Away / Good Love / Send Her My Love

Jeff Scott Soto - vocals
Howie Simon - guitar
Gary Schutt - bass and guitar
Alex Papa - drums


Brian Young - guitars
Mikos Scarbacci - guitars

Love Parade (1994)
Holding On (2002)
Prism (2002)
Live At The Gods (2003)
Believe In Me (2004)
Lost In The Translation (2004)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: January 31st 2005
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website:
Hits: 966
Language: english


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