Talisman Cats And Dogs Frontiers Records
· Produced By: Mercel Jacob & Jeff Scott Soto

· Running Time: 45.17

· Release Date: May 12

· Released: EU

· Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock

· Links: Frontiers Talisman
Songs: 95%
Sound: 90%
I've gone back through Talisman's previous albums and to my ears this is their best release to date. There's bound to be some debate over that, as the band holds a special place in the hearts of a great deal of melodic hard rock fans.
But the band's earlier albums now sound just a little old and their last couple weren't as strong musically.
What's better then, than a fresh collection of new songs from the band's best loved line-up? Nothing! Hence why the combination of good production and the overall sound combined with another collection of very memorable songs makes this my favourite album from the band.
Over the past 12 months we have had the one-off Humanimal album and a Jeff Scott Soto solo album. All three releases have scored 95 ratings, but all three releases have been musically different and excellent in their own rights.
Humanimal was hard rock heaven, Prism was more moody ballad and AOR driven material and you will find that Cats & Dogs is classic Talisman - meaning something falling between these other two releases.
The unmistakable swagger of Marcel Jacob's bass and the harder edge vocals of Soto, plus the return of guitarist Fredrik Akesson and drummer Jamie Borger make this album as strong musically as it could be - it was only ever going to be the strength of the songs that dictated it's success.
Thankfully the guys have hit a home run there also, as this set of songs impresses me more as a whole than the tracks of Prism and Humanimal - mainly for the seamless way the album seems to flow. None of the songs sound the same, each has it's own strong melodies, yet blink and you are at track 12 already. It's all very well put together.
Track By Track:
The distinct scream of Jeff Scott Soto opens the album, Skin On Skin is typical Talisman - a little funky, guitar driven number with a definite swagger and a chorus that features the required smooth background harmonies to emphasize the song's hooks.
The band have always had a unique approach/style and this album is no different.
Break It Down is a little heavier and a little more urgent. The chorus is very recognizable, but it's the song as a whole that really works. It also features some tasty guitar soloing and bass riffing in an extended instrumental break mid-song - the kind of musical arrangements that make the band so interesting.
In Make Believe starts off slow, with a very nice Soto vocal and heads right into a classic Talisman groove. The chorus features more layers of vocal harmonies and is mid-tempo in pace.
Love Will Come Again is a moody mid-tempo track reminiscent of more recent albums, with a heavier chorus and a style that could have been featured of Jeff's Prism album.
Outta My Way cranks things way up. This track is a big uptempo hard rocker with a definite overdose of guitar and bass shredding. Very cool.
Friends To Stranger continues the harder edge, a little more restrained this time, playing out in a very dark and moody way.
It's time for a sentimental tune and Sorry is just that. This is a first rate rock ballad actually. It's still guitar driven and shows no sign of wimpiness, but has a killer chorus and a big sing-along feel.
Trapped signals time to rock again. This is a heavy groover of a track, with a dark moody verse and a more uptempo, rather catchy chorus. More classic Talisman.
M.O.M. continues straight on from the last track. More of the same with another chorus of it's own character.
Wherever, Whenever, Whatever starts dark and slow, and gently builds into another strong mid-tempo rock track with a strong chorus.
Lost In Wasteland's guitar intro sounds like classic Van Halen mixed with a lighter version of Metallica. The song is a little different in texture than the other tracks, but the variation is cool and the chorus is again short, but strong.
Hell In Paradise closes out the album with another dark and moody rocker, featuring another particularly strong guitar riff and a great lead vocal from Soto.
The Bottom Line
Essentially this is a very commercial melodic hard rock album. The songs flow seamless into each other, creating a really easy listening album, while maintaining all the hard rocking elements required of a talisman album. Sharp bass playing, lots of solos, Jeff Scott Soto at his raspy best and some very catchy rock songs. Recommended for fans and newcomers alike.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Talisman
· Genesis
· Life
· Humanimal
· Humanimal II
· Truth
· Sweden Rock Festival

Line Up
· Jeff Scott Soto: Vocals
· Fredrik Akesson: Guitar
· Jamie Borger: Drums
· Marcel Jacob: Bass

Essential for fans of:
· Jeff Scott Soto
· Talisman
· Humanimal
Track Listing
· Skin On Skin
· Break It Down *
· In Make Believe
· Love Will Come Again
· Outta My Way *
· Friends To Stranger
· Sorry *
· Trapped
· M.O.M.
· Wherever, Whenever, Whatever
· Lost In Wasteland
· Hell In Paradise
--*Best Tracks

11/02/04: Jonny B -
Rating: 84
It is not my favorite Talisman album, but it has satisfied my needs for a comeback album. After a few spins, "Cats and Dogs" reminds me of the music they wrote for "Genesis." It is close enough for government work, and I hope that the next album will be better than this one.

Best track: "Outta My Way."

28/08/03: Dan Colwell -
Rating: 90
Great cd, Jeff really can sing. I use to think he only screamed but,after listing to the song sorry I was proven wrong. This song could be one of the best of the year. There are prently of other good sonds on cd, One of the best cd's of the year so far.

22/08/03: freddy de keyzer -
Rating: 70
Decent record, nothing more, nothing less ! Their debut is still by far their best and a real classic ! This one is not.

02/08/03: John -
Rating: 80
I'm wondering if maybe they should have chosen a different track 1. I just don't like that song. A little too funk heavy for my tastes. That being said, the rest of the album grew on me like fungus on a pro ballplayers shower sandals. Mostly due to the fact that Marcel is one hella-bassist and Soto sings better than ever. Get the record. You will not be disappointed.

16/06/03: dok -
Rating: 90
With the return of Fredrik Åkesson on guitars, Talisman is Back!!
Sometimes a little on the funky side but is there anyone better then
Jeff Scott Soto to pull it off? With Marcel Jacob holding down the bass duties, these guys are ready to take the world by storm!
With the promise of a DVD release later this year & the majority
of the Talisman catalog remastered with bonus tracks, this promises to be a breakout year for the band. JSS pulls off his usual classic
"blow you away" performance with the band Shredding behind him.
This may not be classic Talisman, but there is enough here to
please almost every fan of JSS & Talisman. This one is a must have for your collection.

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