The term “Supergroup” has been, in my opinion, tossed around a little too freely at times. Anyone with a working knowledge of heavy prog and Rock/Metal knows that this is not the case with Sons of Apollo.
Consisting of Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Jeff Scott Soto, Derek Sherinian, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal this is the lineup of virtuosos that other virtuosos would pick for a Dream Team! I’m not listing the other bands these guys have been associated with over the years because if you don’t know, well you’re fired anyway.
Releasing their debut Psychotic Symphony in 2017, the band is set to start off the new decade with a January release of the follow up: M M X X. That’s “2020” in Roman Numerals for those of you who didn’t pay attention in Sister Bempke’s Latin class.
I received an advance copy (thanks again to the always wonderful Amanda Cagan) and dove right in. What can I say? It seems they have one-upped the previous album! It’s hard to put my finger on why I like it better, I chalk it up to intangibles like better synergy due to having established history and a tour under their belts.
Beginning with Goodbye to Divinity the album establishes a nice atmosphere. The choruses and momentum were catchy enough that I was caught off-guard when I realized this track was seven minutes long!
Wither to Black is a shorter more focused number that has a great riff by Bumblefoot, punctuated by short stabs of analog goodness by Sherinian.
Keeping the middle of this record moving along with concise (by prog standards) songs , Asphyxiation, and Desolate July still have enough complex interwoven parts to keep musicians of every ilk discouraged. Desolate July is a song of loss and yearning. Soto as usual is able to tackle these types of pieces without resorting to the “Prog Rock Hallmark Channel” approach that (ahem) some progressive bands make use of…
The album wraps up with the 15 minute epic New World Today. Opening with beautifully eerie fretless guitar work by Thal. Portnoy and Sherinian come in to establish a tempo, before Soto and Sheehan slam in.
Every member delivers exactly the type of performance you’d expect of them, and by that I mean stellar. If you haven’t heard any of the upcoming album yet, check out Fall to Ascend here:
Prog, Metal, and Rock fans need to head over to Sons of Apollo.com and pre-order your copy!