Probably Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian were always meant to create music together and the new band Sons Of Apollo finally sees the reunion of such talented duo joined by worldwide acclaimed fellow musicians Ron”Bumblefoot” Thal on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. When five artists of such caliber join forces to compose music it’s hard to fathom what the result could be but a blend of prog metal prowess and a true rock n’ roll essence seems to be quite logical and the debut album “Psychotic Symphony” is not about putting together virtuoso showcases as it is filled with highly entertaining rock grooves besides plenty of exquisite instrumental talent.
Listening to the enticing album opener “God Of The Sun” you will notice immediately the great chemistry and enthusiasm of the band as the whole instrumentation works in perfect harmony to create refined intricate sonic patterns. Starting with middle-eastern atmospheric arrangements this track soon evolves into epic cerebral progressions as the expected intense musicianship just cannot be tamed. On vocals Jeff is always ready to deliver a vigorous classic rock edge that effortlessly flows through the luminous yet crunchy guitar passages and the multifaceted synths arrangements. The kaleidoscopic nature of this song is rather noticeable as, despite the multiple fascinating eclectic tempo signatures, the melodic fluidity feels rightfully cohesive and often carries melancholic nuances.
On “Coming Home” incredibly vibrant grooves take the lead with Jeff’s true rocker vocal delivery and big catchy choruses that are basically surrounded by all kinds of precise keyboards arrangements engaged in the creation of innovative atmospheric layers, unrestrained energetic bass & drums patterns and absolutely memorable wild guitar antics.
“Signs Of The Time” features a seamless blend of classic rock tonalities and fashionable prog complexity with a fair dosage of creative tempo variations. Throughout the song Derek provides loads of precise technical arrangements and soloing followed by Ron’s utterly majestic lead guitar work yet none of these virtuoso moments sacrifices the catchy rock essence.
“Alive” definitely focuses on more straightforward classic rock melodies including mellower guitar & synths passages as tempo significantly slows down favoring Jeff’s passionate vocal delivery yet there is still space for some dazzling keyboards arrangements and understated refined guitar leads.
“Figaro’s Whore” is a way to give space to Derek’s simply phenomenal performance as he delivers a trippy and a bit avant-garde keyboard solo ‘lead guitar’ style.
“Opus Maximus” aptly feels like its own opus and will inevitably hypnotize the listeners within a sonic maze meticulously crafted to impress and intrigue any audience. The beginning comes with somber atmospheric quality and graceful melodies but, following unpredictable movements in proper prog fashion, the whole band showcases explosive talent deliberately entering a more experimental phase skillfully delivering plenty of technical complexity and incredible variety that might even make you feel dizzy at times. Billy and Mike constantly provide a series of grandiose versatile rhythmic patterns, often powerfully groovy, that offer a solid support for Ron’s guitar extravaganza and Derek’s mind-bending arrangements.
As the band has stated, Sons Of Apollo is not just a side project or a one-off supergroup but rather a priority and a full time band so do not hesitate to join the incredible music journey that “Psychotic Symphony” proudly offers.