By The Gil-Man

With numerous albums and lead-vocal guest appearances under his belt, dating back to the mid 80's and his work on Yngwie Malmsteen's first two records, Jeff Scott Soto has recently released his 6th studio album, "Retribution", commemorating his 15 years with Frontiers Records.

Of course, Jeff is no stranger to music fans, as he has fronted numerous bands including Journey, Talisman, TSO and his own band, SOTO, among others, besides his work with Malmsteen in 1984 and 1985.

 Co-written and produced together with bandmate, Howie Simon, this is a record that long-time fans will surely enjoy.  In full disclosure, I wasn't intimately familiar with all of Jeff's prior work, but was pleasantly surprised at the high-energy vocals and catchy guitar riffs throughout the record.  As a matter of fact, the first four songs, "Retribution", "Inside/Outside", "Rage of the Year" and "Reign Again", are hard-rockin' songs that kept my interest and had me wanting to hear more of this record as well as seek out his prior work."Feels Like Forever" slows things down a bit, but is still a song that sticks to the hard-rockin', melodic style that defines this record, and "Last Time" and "Bullet For My Baby" are both very catchy tunes.

Things slow way down with "Song For Joey", a song that Jeff wrote for and about his brother, who has had some serious health issues over the past couple of years and is living out the rest of his life with the "assistance of of machines and medical science".  A touching song, Jeff never intended it to be released to the general public, but changed his mind as a tribute to his brother on his birthday.

The songs, "Breakout" and "Dedicate To You", both get our toes tapping again with that same high-energy delivery that we heard at the beginning of the record and "Autumn" closes things out with another ballad.

Stepping back for a minute, it dawned on me that Jeff Scott Soto sounds a bit like Kelly Hansen of Foreigner, or is it vise-versa?  So if you really don't know much about Jeff Scott Soto or his music, but are fans of bands like Foreigner and Journey, this is a record you will really enjoy listening to over and over again.