Review ELLEFSON/SOTO ‘Vacation in the Underworld’

David Ellefson and Jeff Scott Soto are well-known names in the rock and metal business. The connection between the two musicians came about in a broader sense through the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Soto is one of the voices of the formidable show, and Ellefson took advantage of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s stop in Phoenix to meet his former bandmate Al Pirelli.

When Ellefson wrote a song called ‘Writing on the Wall’ in 2019, the insight matured that Soto’s voice would be a perfect fit for the tune. This was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration and the result of the effort can now be heard on ‘Vacation in the Underworld’.

Eleven regular songs and three bonus songs is what the record contains. ‘Vacation in the Underworld’ combines the best of rock and metal. The two experts in their field go right into full swing with the title track. The song is equipped with a thunderous start and it immediately becomes apparent that this is a kick-ass metal record. It’s not just that Soto once again shows why he’s one of the best singers around. It is Ellefson’s driving bass and the hard hitting drummer Ken Mary which make the opener a real treat.

It continues with the dark ‘Like a Bullet’ which skillfully combines metal and rock elements. The grooving beat does its part; a song that is simply fun. What is fascinating about this record is the versatility. With ‘The Reason’ the album has a dark rocker with hooks that are very hard to resist.

What follows is the wild and straightforward ‘S.T.N.’ where the two really put the pedal to the metal.Tempo, that’s also what ‘Live to Die Another Day’ is all about. With a high basic pace, the song also has cleverly positioned breaks, which gives the song the necessary variety. The metallic roots come into play whilst the melodic rocking ‘The Day Before Tomorrow’ shows that Soto and Ellefson have different musical roots, but unite them perfectly on ‘Vacation in the Underworld’. What also comes positively to the fore in the latter song are the female vocals of Jade Etro.

‘Vacation in the Underworld’ is a real treat. You can hear with every song that all participants are passionate about what they do. Here nobody is looking at the quick commercial success. Rather, it is your passion for music that is the driving force behind this record. The two main men have done everything right and who misses this disc, has only himself to blame.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Vacation In The Underworld
  2. Like A Bullet  
  3. Sharpen The Sword
  4. The Reason
  5. S.T.N. 
  6. The Revolution
  7. Celebrity Trash
  8. Live To Die Another Day 
  9. The Day Before Tomorrow
  10. Hercules 
  11. Rise To Win
  12. Out Of The Blue (Bonus Track)
  13. Lone Star (Bonus Track)
  14. Writing On The Wall (Bonus Track)

Label: Rat Pak Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date: October 7th, 2022

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