Soto: Inside The Vertigo

AOR journeyman goes power metal, civilisation falls, etc.

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‘I’m just not in a ‘touch your golden hair’ mood right now,’ says Jeff Scott Soto. Thus the veteran voice of AOR introduces Soto, a power-metal project that will probably appal as many of his hardened followers as it will appeal to.

While his mood may have something to do with the switch, in truth he maintains a portfolio career, his adaptability meaning he can sing with Yngwie or Journey, Brian May or parody act Skrapp Mettle as needs must. It has kept him afloat and working, which is meaningful enough in a fractured industry.

The Hetfield-isms during the intro to The Fall may be tongue in cheek, but there’s a pleasing heft to the guitars of his regular contributors Jorge Salan and BJ, and there’s plenty of ambition too: the doom-laden End Of Days clocks in at just under ten minutes, and there’s enough craftsmanship behind its construction to carry interest all the way through.

AOR fans, myself included, may find it a little like Steve Perry singing It’s A Motherfucker with the Eels last year: kinda fun but likely to induce a yearning for the mothership./o:p

Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.