Published on January 3rd, 2018 | by Justin G.
Jeff Scott Soto: Retribution (Frontiers)
After releasing a pair of albums under the SOTO banner (and which were way better than people give them credit for), vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (W.E.T + 1,564 other projects) is back in a melodic rocking mood with a new solo album, titled Retribution. It’s his sixth solo album, and finds him working with guitarist/bassist/songwriter (and longtime JSS contributor) Howie Simon as well as SOTO drummer Edu Cominato. Soto and Simon share production credits for this one.
Spending the last five years playing heavy metal seems to have stuck with Soto, because the songs on Retribution, by and large, rock a lot harder than most JSS tracks tend to do. “Retribution,” “Inside Outside,” “Rage of the Year” and the shred-happy “Reign Again” are all aggressive rockers, though they give way to the more melodic (and more memorable) “Feels Like Forever” and “Last Time” just in time to break up the testosterone. For a pure ballad, “Song For Joey” hits all the right emotional notes, and “Breakout” may be the album’s best song, striking the perfect balance between melody and heaviness. It loses a point for having “liar, pants on fire” as a lyric though.
There’s no such thing as a bad Jeff Scott Soto album, but Retribution doesn’t have the same impact and staying power that his past solo albums have. It takes multiple spins to appreciate, and even then it’s only the odd song or three that stand out, not the album as a whole. Still, if you’re a Soto fan, it’s not like you can pass this one by. Chances are you’ll find a half of an album’s worth of material you really like.
Summary: It's not often that a Jeff Scott Soto album is this...ordinary.