Psychotic Symphony

Sons Of Apollo

You know how the moniker “supergroup” gets thrown around anytime a few well-known players gather. In the case of Sons Of Apollo, the label might be worthwhile. This band features ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and keyboardist Derek Sherinian, ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, bassist Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big and Winery Dogs, another ‘supergroup’ with Portnoy, and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, who has sung for Journey and Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. Their debut album, Psychotic Symphony, is a ballsy, plodding and progressive display of nine tunes.

Portnoy and Bumblefoot lead the attack on the 11-minute plus “God Of The Sun,” with big dramatic slow sections that shift into overdrive to prove how fast they can play. For the most part, during the thick verses, as it often does, it sounds as if we are into Dio territory. There's an overall heaviness with songs like “Signs of The Time,” and “Lost In Oblivion” that traipse into thrash. There's also an obvious nod to the soundscapes of bands like GNR on “Coming Home.” Portnoy and Sherinian (known as the Del Fuvio Brothers, a nickname given to them back in the Dream Theater days) might have produced the record, but Mr. Bumblefoot certainly has a large presence on Psychotic Symphony.

“Alive” starts off slow with an echo jangly guitar and gives Jeff Scott Soto a chance to mine his most expressive vocal. Of course, things eventually explode as Sons Of Apollo can’t seem to help themselves from gaining traction, even on a ballad. “Figaro’s Whore,” which segues right into the more accessible “Divine Addiction,” is a Deep Purple tribute, even if it wasn’t meant as such, right down to Derek Sherinian’s dirty sounding, in-your-face Hammond assault. There is no denying these guys can play — they are all "super" musicians for sure. Though Soto has the pipes, there’s not a lot of depth in the lyrics on these songs for him to get his voice around. Nevertheless, they fit intricately around each other on these equally intricate tracks. But it's hard to tell if anything on Psychotic Symphony is going to stick with a listener for the long run.

~ Ralph Greco. Jr.

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