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SOTO: Divak

AOR workhorse delivers the groove-rock goods.

With a CV that includes stints with Journey and Yngwie among many others, Jeff Scott Soto has impeccable hard-rock credentials but remains largely uncelebrated beyond AOR circles.

It seems unlikely that his second album with his titular melodic metal crew will trouble the rock mainstream, but it probably should, because Divak is frequently glorious.

With shades of Europe’s post-reunion wander into heavier realms, songs like FreakShow and Cyber Masquerade noisily embrace modernity via staccato groove metal riffing and electronic trimmings, Soto’s soulful bellow bringing an almost Alice In Chains-like edge of menace to the party.

Meanwhile, everything bar the kitchen sink is hurled into the mix amid the brooding, symphonic splurge of In My Darkest Hour, a startling high point on an album that’s full of great songs.