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Five Men Live
August 2005
Released: 2005, Frontiers Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

The American singer Jeff Scott Soto and the Swedish bass player Marcel Jacob are the core of Talisman and after a few member changes over the years, they have now got a steady line up. This new album is a live double disc recorded in Stockholm in 2003 and at Sweden Rock Festival 2003 on shows they did to support their latest album, CATS AND DOGS (‘03) which were their first albums on their current label. The album was released in order to celebrate the 15 years the band has been together and all fans of melodic hardrock ought to know about this band.

Talisman started out as early as in 1990 with a debut album simply called TALISMAN and yes, it’s amazing that it was 15 years ago but still I think this double live is a bit unnecessary ‘cause they have already released two live albums before this and also a best of album. Let’s face it; they haven’t done too many studio albums during these 15 years.

The first CD contains a whole 16 song show and the songs are both the old classic ones as well as some newer material. They have also added the Europe song “Scream of anger” which Marcel co-wrote. They have also featured a cover of Seal’s hit song “Crazy”. Fredrik and Marcel show off their skills on their instruments and I think that this CD has captured the essence of what Talisman are all about. Personally I can’t find any song that I miss; all of the guys seem to be very energetic and eager to play. Jeff is in a brilliant mood and jokes with the audience and the members in the band, he only talks English between the songs, the only thing he says in Swedish is “Tack” (Thanks).

The sound is really clear and you can hear everyone extremely well, but one can wonder if they have added or taken something away in the post-production to gain such a clear sound. However with or without anything added or taken away, this sounds really great and is a given purchase for every Talisman fan.

CD 2 was recorded before CD1 and it’s a festival show caught on tape, there are 10 songs featured and because the band isn’t so big now in Sweden I think that they played pretty early during the day. The sound isn’t so good and it rather sounds like this is a pretty lousy bootleg album I’ve got in my hand, this album drags down the rating of the whole album. They play pretty much the same songs and classic tunes like “Break your chains”, “Mysterious” and the sing along anthem taken from their first album “I’ll be waiting”.

In order to play as many songs as possible, Jeff narrowed down the talking, he talks much less compared to the first CD; CD 2 doesn’t include as many solo parts either. The producer, Marcel, hasn’t done any cuts in the mix so you can hear everything Jeff says as well as the audience.

These albums gives a shattered impression, on one hand we have the brilliant club show with the perfect sound, on the other hand we have the lousy sound that destroys the second CD but the rotten sound doesn’t take away the fact that Talisman have delivered hell of a lot of good melodic hardrock through the years.

I can advise all fans to buy this album and also for those who are interested in what Jeff has done before Soul SirkUS ‘cause after the Soul SirkUS show here in Malmö a few weeks ago there was a lot of people that came up to me and asked me who Jeff was and what he’s done before.

This double disc album is also available separately and if you want more of Talisman I recommend you to check out their new double DVD called “Worlds best kept secret” if you already have the older live albums with band will say.
Track Listing

Break your chains
Color my XTC
Fabricated war
Skin on skin
Tears in the sky
In make believe
Scream of anger
If only you would be my friend
Break it down again
I’ll be waiting
Outta my way
Fredrik Åkesson
Standing on fire
I don’t know

Break your chains
Color my XTC
Fabricated war
Tears in the sky
Break it down again
Standing on fire
In make believe
I’ll be waiting


Fredrik Åkesson – guitar, lead vocals
Jeff Scott Soto – lead vocals
Howie Simon – guitar
Marcel Jacob – bass, vocals
Jamie Borger – drums

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