Apollo, the Greek God of many aspects including music, truth, and light, being a beardless and athletic youth may not have approved of his hirsute sons (well, at least Billy Sheehan and Derek Sherinian have had a haircut), but his musical prowess has definitely been a chip off the marbled statue. Along with Mike Portnoy, Ron Thal, and Jeff Scott Soto, Sons of Apollo might be excused within this hallowed Super-Group as being minor deities themselves, having all learned their craft through many well known examples of rock royalty.
Debut album, (for mortals who don’t like their prog mixed up in this shiny stuff please look away now), and a first for this line up, Psychotic Symphony is a cacophony of everything that works in the prog metal genre as all members are equally suited to providing the elite synergy required to pull this off.
God Of The Sun shines through with its eastern intro being knocked to the ground by that familiar Portnoy drum fill and whilst the dust settles, effect and doom laden orchestral keys with synthy guitar flourishes chugg forward in a style that sets the scene for the rest of the album. There’s a hint of Dio in Soto’s delivery that combined with the feel that a certain Theater of Dreams might have influenced this band brings a welcome familiarity, not a lack of originality, to this Homeric offering.
Single Coming Home shows a more straight forward rock approach and pleasing backing vocal in the mix, Labyrinth – time signature heaven – is enough to dodge any stone arrows from marauders, and an album highlight with guitar and Hammond shining like Helious’s name badge. A great foot tapper evoking shades of the colour purple and a real showcase for Bumblefoot’s double handled axe.
Jazz phrasings are found in Alive then siren infected Lost In Oblivion is an exhausting wind-in-the-hair Harley speed trip along a desolate highway with those relentless drums banging away in time with the engine throb, a real showcase for this talented troupe.
Jon Lord’s spirit is revered in short instrumental Figaro’s Whore (she barely makes you last a minute) which is effectively an intro to Divine Addiction, Sherinian’s organ is well up for its second coming and this track is a stormer, hinting at the snake of white, touched by the God of Blues creeping majestically into this penultimate track.
Billy Sheehan is eventually allowed to weald his famous double neck in final vocal free show off Opus Maximus with his liquid bass simmering under a cauldron of guitars and drums all, held together with epic widescreen keyboard chords. The soundtrack to a cosmic journey fraught with danger, Holdsworth-esque guitar weaves around the madness of hyper-drive, breaks through and enters the kingdom of immortals – Liquid Tension abounds and is worth the price of the boarding pass alone.
Psychotic by name, this Symphony is certainly not unhinged, but the frenzied culmination of a quintet of musicians at the very top of their game and worthy grandchildren of the mighty Zeus, the God of Thunder. We are not worthy.
01 God Of The Sun (11:11)
02 Coming Home (4:23)
03 Signs Of The Time (7:17)
04 Labyrinth (9:11)
05 Alive (5:10)
06 Lost In Oblivion (4:38)
07 Figaro’s Whore (1:00)
08 Divine Addiction (4:48)
09 Opus Maximus (10:37)
Total Time – 58:25
Mike Portnoy – Drums & Vocals
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
Billy Sheehan – Bass
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Guitar & Vocals
Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Date of Release: 20th October 2017