In the late 80’s former Yngwie Malmsteen bassist Marcel Jacob of Sweden teamed up with former Malmsteen singer, American Jeff Scott Soto to form TALISMAN. Their debut came out in 1990 toward the end of the 80’s/Glam Metal scene. Despite being a very consistent and solid release, it didn’t have that one big hit to put them over the top.
Jacob had also worked with Europe’s John Norum and musically TALISMAN sounded like a combination of the two bands. Very melodic, powerful and guitar driven. Their use of keyboards was similar to Europe’s, but unfortunately it might have turned off some of the Metal fans who thought keyboards were lame.
The album starts out powerfully with “Break Your Chains”, perhaps the heaviest song on the album. From there it weaves in and out of Melodic Rock and AOR. Jeff Scott Soto puts in an amazing performance and the overall production really saves this album from being just another 80’s album.
There’s NO denying there’s talent here, even if you hate this style you’d be foolish to say these guys are anything but great musicians. They rely heavily on melody and the first single “I’ll Be Waiting” is a strong song, but not quite at the level it needed to be to break into the mainstream. It actually might have been a tad too heavy for Top 40 in 1990, but too “Pop” sounding for Rock radio.
The other single “Just Between Us” had a better chance, but it sounded too much like Foreigner, and they had already faded away by 1990. The song “Day By Day” had a chorus that could have landed strong, it was really close, but the keyboards and timing probably hurt it’s chances.
Overall this is high quality piece of work from the band who would continue to put out music until 2009 when Marcel Jacob took his own life due to health and personal issues. A sad end to a band that gave us a lot of joy over the years with their powerful Melodic Rock.
If you missed this album the first time around, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you hear it for the first time, or in my case, I hadn’t heard it in ages and it still sounds great despite some of the dated keyboards and subject matter.