Z Records
Produced by: Pontus Norgren

Released: January 28 / Website
Closest Relative: Talisman
GENRE: Hard Rock

  1. R U 4 Real
  2. Again 2 B Found
  3. License 2 Kill
  4. Find My Way Home
  5. Feel The Burn
  6. Road 2 4giveness
  7. I
  8. Turn Away
  9. Who Do You Think U R
  10. Way 2 Deep
  11. Love's The Dominion

Humanimal is the brain child of Sweden's hard rock God Pontus Norgren, who is joined by his buddies Marcel Jacob and Thomas Broman. For the vocalist position there was no other choice than Jeff Scott Soto, who agreed to once again join Pontus and Marcel, who as a trio made up three quarters of the much appreciated Talisman.
Humanimal the band name is of course, also taken from one of Talisman's albums...
So is this release really Talisman? Well, on paper yes, but in reality - as good as Talisman were, this is even better!
The band's self titled debut is due end of January and will immediately rate in people's minds as contender for one of the best releases of 2002. It will be added to my list straight off.
What makes this release so good? Well a good album relies on a number of factors and with Humanimal, all those factors come together. With the previous couple of Pontus Norgren projects there has been a number of factors going for them, but also something missing. This album has fabulous production, sensational harmony vocals, an even mix, great heavy sound and most important of all, memorable high-class songwriting.
I have to emphasize that bit again - this album features some of the best pure European hard rock songs I have heard in a long time. This will rate up there with Dogface as one of my personal favourites.
Jeff Scott Soto also puts in one of the best performances of his career, really adding spark and energy to these already electric songs.
This album is a heavy and hard rocking, but hook filled release, with harmony vocals from the backing band and Soto himself on almost every track.
It's a little heavier than Talisman and more in your face than most of the other projects these guys have been involved in recently.
One key highlight, besides the excellent vocals, is Pontus guitar shredding. The album is very riff-heavy, but also features solo's and extra background shred work on almost every track.
Additionally, the rhythm section packs a powerful punch, thanks to some great playing and a superb mix, which is a new mark of quality for Z Records.
Track By Track:
Opening the album, with a short intro leading into a typically fast tempo guitar driven track is R U 4 Real. Immediately it is evident that Soto is really singing to a heavier beat and that this will be a guitar dominated record. This track is just a straight up hard rocker, no fancy stuff here.
Again 2 B Found starts highlighting some of the moodier side of the record, with some emotion filled vocals and a modern sounding guitar fill. The chorus is in your face and memorable from the first listen. It gets even more intense towards the climax of the track - ending in a long guitar solo.
What I love about this album is the method the tracks run into each other, there is barely a gap between the end of one and the start of another. The first 3 tracks do that, which maintains the intense tempo of the album to this point.
On License 2 Kill, it's straight down to business with a power lead vocal, some huge harmony vocals and a frantic tempo, featuring some fabulous bass and guitar riffing. And yes, another long guitar solo sits right in the middle of the song, which features another memorable bridge and chorus.
The intro to Find My Way Home is the first sign of any break in the pace of the album. It's well placed to give us a moment to catch our breathe, but doesn't last long! The track soon breaks into a verse-come-anthem that will cause Soto fans to have convulsions. I love it! The verse is short, as is the chorus, but they come around and around again, in fine hard rock stadium anthem style. An album highlight!
No let up with Feel The Burn. This track rocks hard again and features a groovy rhythm and tough vocal and somewhat unusual chorus. But it's cool and it's certainly another track featuring a lot of in your face guitar.
A pace breaking intro again features a great effects-altered guitar sound and a very moody Jeff Scott Soto vocal. In fact, Road 2 4giveness is the closest sounding track to the last Talisman album. A huge song vocally, this one features a bridge a chrous and a wonderfully moody verse. Another awesome track and prime example of European hard rock at it's best.
I features a really slow, but heavy guitar lead intro, which soon breaks into an up tempo, but softer sounding track. This track is more your straight up hard rocker, without the heavy intensity of previous songs. A good pace breaker.
The intensity doesn't let up for long - Turn Away returns to the dark, moody sound of the album in general and features another powerful hook filled chorus/lead vocal. There's some great supporting harmony vocals, which adds depth to the song's chorus.
Who Do You Think U R features a long verse, which just goes to show the excellent variation in the songwriting on this album. The verse talks tough, then there's a heavy harmony filled bridge and memorable chrous.
Way 2 Deep is a another less intense, but still rocking track, with more solid guitar work and hard hitting rhythm section.
One might have expected this last track to be a ballad, but nope, there is not one single ballad on this album. Love's The Dominion is just as up tempo and as intense as the rest of the album, but the vocal feels a little lighter. Either way, it's another memorable song and rounds out a bloody great album.
BOTTOM LINE: Humanimal is one wild ride. From the intro to the final cords of the last track, this is a heavy, hard rocking album. This is pure European hard rock at it's absolute best. The awesome harmonies and great production quality of this release will put all these guys into a new level of stardom in this genre.
It's a hard ask to fit so much music like this into a mix evenly, but Pontus has pulled it off with ease. Put together the sum of great songs, great playing and wonderful harmony and lead vocals and you get a score like this.
One of the best releases Z Records has ever released and one of the best these guys have been involved in.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of Jeff Scot Soto, fans of hard hitting European hard rock, all Pontus fans and all Swedish rock fans.

12/01/05: bas - -
Rating: 93
Okay, so I'm a bit of a latecomer to this fabulous CD (it's early 2005 and got it yesterday!). Just got into JSS (LITT & SoulSirkUS) and this CD ROCKS with the best of them; great melodies, riffs and hooks!!! Okay; so no sing-a-longs, but don't we have enough of that allready? Now I've got to find those Talisman & Human Clay remasters even sooner!

22/10/04: Nigel James -
Rating: 75
Whats all the fuss about. I brought this cd with a number of others, played it twice and can`t remember a single song, whereas songs from The Sign, Harem Scarem, Rhapsody, Powerquest and Harlem Cage are memorable and you find yourself humming them without knowing it. Hunanimal, not boring just forgetable! I will let you know if my rating changes on subsequent listens.

09/10/02: Gary Bailey - KNGB38A
Rating: 100
What great, incredible cd of music! I never purchased anything from Jeff before and I'm glad I took the chance and bought this cd. I read Andrew's review and that's what convinced me to buy Humanimal...Jeff should get the Van Halen gig!!! Eddie should listen to his voice, he's the one to fill the VH void....classic!

09/08/02: Col -
Rating: 100
The 3 most important thing for a CD are SONGS,SONGS and SONGS!!!
When you have songs of this quality and class, then add Musicianship of the highest Caliber and Production that lets the album breathe you have a **SPECIAL** cd.

I'm into Rhapsody, SymphonyX, etc.. but this is my fave of 2002 by a long, long way.

When you play a CD and it gives you goose bumps, thats my seal of approval!!!

It seems Humanimal is a one off, so its all eyes on Talsiman/Jeff Soto for more of the same...

No home should be without one - Hard, Heavy, Serious, MElodic, Pure...

31/05/02: fosso -
Rating: 90
great album ,i like the meltdown of the classic style and modern sound,congratulations¡

19/04/02: Rafael Winck Espinoza -
Rating: 98
The name is different, but it´s Talisman, and one of the bests Talisman. They are back and inspired. One of the bests of 2002.

17/04/02: Drew -
Rating: 95
Great album period. DOn't know how anyone can criticize the track Way 2 Deep which is a monster gem, reminds you of a heavier Dio era Rainbow track. Pretty much a continuation of Talisman and Human Clay.

14/03/02: freddy de keyzer -
Rating: 70
A good album, but not more than that. It has not the same class as, let's say, the first Talisman ! It's a bit too hard and especially to straight ahead, not subtle enough. There's only power and the magnificent voice of Jeff (but his work on Talisman and certainly Eyes on Windows of the soul suited him better, because the quality of the material was better).
Listen before buying, certainly if you're into pure AOR (with lots of keys), this is pure hardrock, even a bit metal !

05/03/02: shibu narendran -
Rating: 90
"Find My Way Home" says it all !! Cool song!

04/03/02: Todd -
Rating: 75
Jeff Scott Soto would have to be one of the best meoldic rock singers at the moment if his performance on this cd is anything to go by.Tight musicianship, catchy songs and a killer production make this album a definate in anyone's collection.Best songs would be Again 2 B Found (killer chorus) and Find My Way Home.I would have rated this album higher but with no ballad in sight and the end of the album falling off a bit I think 75 is a fair rating.

27/02/02: Richard Hall -
Rating: 95
Great Work from the former Talisman members,Jeff Scott Soto has come a long way since his days with Malmsteen.I think this c.d. is his best work yet.Killer interplay between bass and guitar(hats of to Marcel And Pontus).Buy this rocks up there with Jorn's "WorldChanger" c.d.

22/02/02: ScotB -
Rating: 99
I am new to this group, I do have some knowledge of Jeff Scott Soto singing with Yngwie malmsteen. This is an incredible album,and what an introduction to these guys. This album rocks great and is one of the best albums of this genre or any other as a matter of fact I have heard in a long time. Every song is superb and very strong. It ranks up with any album I have and I have a bunch. Jeff Scott Soto is amazing, what a great singer. I have since went back to check out some of his amazing work with Axel Rudi Pell also. You can not go wrong with purchasing this CD!!!

21/02/02: Splash Marshall -
Rating: 75
Soto is a solid vocalist but this album is all about sonic textures. I love the power of the songs. "Licence 2 Kill" is a solid piece of Euro-Metal. I love the track "Find My Way Home". This is prolly the closest thing to a hit on the album. Guitar solos are a plenty all through this album which makes up for a couple of weak Tacks. "Turn Away" is a bland weak song. It should have been replaced. The other bottom feeder is "Way 2 Deep". What a painful mistep. The keys are horrible and there is no hook to sink your teeth into. I only wish that the boys would have chewed some bubble gum and sweetend up the hooks a little. This record could have been a masterpiece but doesn't quite make it to that status due to its lack of sing-a-long chorus's. Good production serious musicianship but sounds very much like "Harem Scarem" and they do this better.

15/02/02: Nico Berg -
Rating: 85
Wonderful hard rock album. Kicking, melodic, good production, playing and what a voice. This is what a modern hardrock albul should sound like. My 85 rating may seem a little bit low, but 100 for me is the real classics like Operation Mindcrime or Black Rose with Lizzy. But still, this is mt favorit of the year so far.

05/02/02: ALBERTO - none
Rating: 99
What a great cd, I love Talisman (and I think is a band that is underrated, and that's a pity), so all I can say is that if you love them too, there's no doubt, buy this cd, it's more hard-heavy, but is excelent. It's a cd that grows within you everytime you listen to it, great songs, great production, Jeff Scott Soto is at his best, and the rest of the band...awesome!! We have begun the year, but this is going to be one of the best cd's of 2002.

05/02/02: Figge -
Rating: 90
Talisman was great....this is even better! I have all Talisman records, and I simply love them (especially Humanimal) so I had some idea about how good this could be. And it sounds very much like their earlier projects. The main difference is in the production, it is a little bit heavier than Talisman, but still very catchy and melodic. Jeff Scott Soto sounds superb as usual and the trademark bass-playing by Marcel "Marre" Jacob is better than ever. I strongly recommend this album for lovers of melodic hard rock. This band deserves a great success....and with songs like Turn Away, Again 2 B Found, Who Do U Think U Are, it can't fail.
There are no fillers on this album!!!!

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