Sons Of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony
Album Review by Adam McCann
Label : InsideOut Music
Year : 2017
It’s nothing new, another year and Mike Portnoy announces a new band/project in some seemingly vain attempt to capture the former glory of Dream Theater. So here we are, 2017 and enter Sons of Apollo; refraining from using the word ‘supergroup’, Sons of Apollo are a stellar cast of musicians whose pedigree radiates from them like staring at Helios himself. Alongside Portnoy is former Dream Theater and current Black Country Communion keyboardist Derek Sherinian, ex-Guns N’ Roses and solo artist in his own right, guitarist Bumblefoot, also known as Ron Thal. Portnoy has also brought in Billy Sheehan, the bassist who can keep up with Paul Gilbert in Mr. Big, conquered the world with David Lee Roth in the 80’s and bandmate of Portnoy in The Winery Dogs and Jeff Scott Soto, hard rock/heavy metal’s versatile go to vocalist if you need someone to jump in and take centre stage.
After much pomp and ceremony, Sons of Apollo have finally dropped their debut album ‘Psychotic Symphony’ and what a surprise it is. If you were expecting another lacklustre project, then you will be mistaken. Now, it’s easy to turn your nose up at Jeff Scott Soto, he’s the melodic man you hire if you can’t get the person you want, the last-minute addition, the guy you call if your vocalist leaves at the start or midway through a tour, but on ‘Psychotic Symphony’, JSS bellows out every note showing that even out of his comfort zone in the progressive metal world, he can keep up with the likes of Russell Allen especially during the album opening tour de force that is ‘God of the Sun’.
Each musician on ‘Psychotic Symphony’ is more than capable of holding their own, yet Sons of Apollo shows no signs of one person being bigger than the other, each section gels perfectly through the diminuendos and crescendos from the Sepultura drone riff of ‘Signs of the Time’ and the 80’s Rush synth drive of ‘Labyrinth’, but there are several lashings of classic hard rock here too, Sherinian adds plenty of Hammond organ to ‘Labyrinth’, ‘Figaro’s Whore’ and ‘Divine Addiction’ giving the songs a Deep Purple and Uriah Heep vibe in a fantastic homage to Jon Lord and Ken Hensley.
Let’s face it, the last Dream Theater album was, for want of a better word, shite and ‘Psychotic Symphony’ manages to stick a finger up to ‘The Astonishit’ and gives you the full on progressive metal experience that one deserves when choosing to listen to this genre. ‘Psychotic Symphony’ is superb, the musicianship, the crafting of the songs and the production is everything and more that you would expect from a group of musicians of this calibre. The only issue now is that with busy musicians how long will it be before Sons of Apollo follow this up, if they indeed ever do.
Rating : 87/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann