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Album Review no.5: Psychotic Symphony - Sons of Apollokempokid Oh boy, after months of waiting it's finally here, the debut album of Sons of Apollo. I've already written about the various amazing members of the band, so let's start this review.
God of the Sun:
The album definitely starts off on a high note with this song. The opening riff is absolutely amazing as it brings in this extremely Egyptian/Middle Eastern sound, which also happens to be the general feel of both my favourite Dio song (Egypt the Chains Are On) and Dream Theater song (Home). The standout on this track is definitely Soto, he sings so powerfully as he hits each note with crystal clarity. He puts a lot of emotion into his performance. When the song reaches halfway, the song kicks it into high gear with the gigantic, sweeping solo that shows off the incredible talent of Portnoy and Thal (drums and guitars). The keyboard isn't too bad either.
This song is much more in the vein of Motley Crue or Guns and Roses, especially with the scream at the start. I don't like this song quite as much, as I find the vocals to be a bit too rough for the song. The song has a decent riff and provides a more fast paced experience compared to the 11 minute progressive epic that the last song was. Sherinian really shows his technical prowess on the keyboard in this song as well. I don't like the solos quite as much as in God of the Sun, but they are still very good.
Signs of the Time:
I find the mastering of this song to be unbelievably odd, the drums are heavily accentuated while the guitar is only heard well occasionally. I think it's a unique song because of this, and I think the song is made better by making Portnoy's superb drumming take centre stage. My favourite part of the song is the section right before the chorus where there is barely any instrumental part and you can just hear the amazing vocals right before a haunting 5 notes are played. I also really like the vocal harmony used in this song.
After a couple of more traditional tracks, the band jumps right back into progressive metal. I like the violin sounds used in the start a lot. Along with showing off amazing instrumental skill from everyone, it is a display of the bands writing, as this is a very well composed song with many different parts to it. I love the Dream Theater inspiration that the solos has, it reminds me greatly of Fatal Tragedy and Dance of Eternity, both in terms of the guitar work and the use of Keyboards. The entire song in general feels a lot like Metropolis Part 1 with it's slow start, with the vocals that hang around for a couple of minutes before the second half of the song is taken up by balls to the wall insanity in the form of strange solos. As I mentioned in my list, I feel like this will become a fan favourite song.
This is probably one of the most unexpected songs on the album, because it sounds so much like a Poets of the Fall song, with the quieter instruments with a singing voice that sounds very familiar as well. The structure of the chorus, with the layering and the increased volume of the instruments also remind me of them. This is another song that highlights the vocals, which I enjoy a lot, as the vocals are the primary thing I look for when it comes to judging a band. The short solos are decent once again, but all in al, I feel that this isn't a very memorable song compared to some of the others.
Lost in Oblivion:
This song is extremely chaotic and heavy, with a wonderful, complex drum beat to back it up. I feel like the vocals in this song are what Coming Home tried to do, but better, as the vocals have some real grit to them without sounding overly rough. The entire song feels like the band members went insane on all of the instruments, especially the drums. I love this song for the simple reason that it sounds so different to everything else on the album
I'm personally not a big fan of interludes in general, especially ones like this that don't really add much to the album and are just a couple of minutes of pointless noodling without anything of substance to back it up. Nothing much to say here
I think that this song has one of the better riffs in the album, I like the fact that it's a mid tempo song that doesn't go on for 10 minutes, because this one works very well as a shorter song, with its relatively simplistic structure and instrumental line. The last minute is truly where this song shines however, as a amazing guitar riff is played in the background as Sherinian plays the keyboard with great skill.
The album started off on a high note, and ended on an almost as high note. The biggest positive about this song is that Sheehan finally stands out on his bass. When it comes to bass, I rarely notice it, but when I do, it is my favourite part of the song. When the second section of the song appears, the guitar steals the show again with a gigantic solo while the drums are played in a way that has no clearly defined beat or tempo, the other instruments follow along and create an experience quite similar to the confusion of listening to Dance of Eternity for the first time. The third section of the song allows the bass the opportunity to create a memorable, haunting, groovy riff, this is my favourite part of the song by a fair margin. This is definitely one of the better instrumental tracks that I have listed to and it is a great way to close off such an amazing album.
Pleasantly surprised doesn't even begin to cover my feelings towards this album. It is absolutely amazing, with a wide variety of musical styles, an amazing lineup of highly talented musicians and incredibly consistent songs. I listened to this album a total of 7 times in order to cut down on insanely positive scores simply because its a new album, but I still didn't get bored of anything in this.
6*10 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 9.1 = 90/100
The next album I will be looking at is the second or third most overrated album of all time, the Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden.