Thursday, February 6, 2020

Sons Of Apollo- MMXX (Inside Out Music)

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   Mike Portnoy is one busy dude. He was definitely one of the first guys to feature on multiple albums from different projects especially after his high profile split from Dream Theater, for many he was the poster child of the movement. Now everyone is at it. You have to put food on the table. He can be a very polarizing guy because he's intensely driven when it comes to his music and highly opinionated, he tried to tackle the comments made on Blabbermouth years ago and wisely backed off, a battle you never win even if you are right and actually know stuff. I like the guy, I've interviewed him once and he came across as down to earth and a huge music fan. He really lives and breathes the stuff and needs multiple bands to let it all out. Many of his projects are very different: The Winery Dogs, Flying Colors, Sons Of Apollo, Transatlantic, Adrenaline Mob. None of them to me are projects, he actually plays or has played live shows with all of them unlike say a George Lynch or Rudy Sarzo.

   Sons Of Apollo released their debut a few years ago and it was a great album. Nice to see Mike team up with Derek Sherinian again. The selection of rest of the band members did surprise me not because they didn't have the chops its just that they weren't known for this type of epic music. Billy Sheehan is known for Talas, David Lee Roth and his long association with Mr. Big. Jeff Scott Soto with Yngwie and probably his stint with Journey and Ron Bumblefoot Thal with Guns 'N' Roses. Five minute tracks, huge hits,big choruses. I caught the band live promoting the debut and they blew me away especially the enthusiasm of Jeff Scott Soto and who knew Bumblefoot was such a great singer? Not me for one.

   Hot on the heels of their live album from late last year comes this, the highly anticipated follow up. No real curveballs this time as we kind of know what to expect sound wise. Opener Goodbye Divinity with the athmospheric intro before the heavy riffs. The closing New World Today clocking in at almost 16 minutes. The fantastic musicianship on display. There's no instrumental this time and the album is more cohesive because of it and it's great to hear Jeff Scott Soto on every song. There's a bonus disc of all tracks without the vocals if you are that way inclined, I have it and will never listen to it. How can taking something away make it better? Most of the other tracks are in the five to six minute range, King Of Delusion being the highlight at close to 9 minutes featuring some beautiful piano passages from Derek giving the music a greater impact when the rest of the band kick in. All in all another winner.


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