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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.

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