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SONS OF APOLLO

Progressive Metal • United States


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Sons of Apollo biography
After working together the last time in 2012, Derek SHERINIAN and Mike PORTNOY decided to do something together again with this new band. Then came Billy SHEEHAN (bass) who has already played with the two. Mike ask Jeff SCOTT SOTO to join on vocals (ex-JOURNEY) and Ron "Bumblefoot" THAL (ex-guitar player of GUNS OF ROSES). The influences of each member are what defines the style of the music who is a combination of Progressive Metal, hard rock, and classic rock. Most of the songs were created in the studio by the ideas that came up with each musician just by playing together and letting the song take his own shape. The band will hit the road to promote the album "Psychotic Symphony", and there is a good chance that the whole album will be played.

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3.62 | 59 ratings
Psychotic Symphony
2017

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SONS OF APOLLO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Psychotic Symphony by SONS OF APOLLO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 59 ratings

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Psychotic Symphony
Sons of Apollo Progressive Metal

Review by horza
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sons of Apollo are playing my home town soon. I don't live in a city with an Enormo-Dome so I was gobsmacked to learn that they will be performing 10 minutes walk from my front door. I was thus inspired to submit my first review for a couple of years now. It goes without saying that their album 'Psychotic Symphony' has been getting major rotation, so that I could pretend I know what the hell I'm talking about. Everyone knows about the Dream Theater connection within the band, but I have to go on record by saying that EVERYONE in this band pulls their weight. Mike Portnoy is a drumming god, Derek Sherinian is an awesome keyboard player, Billy Sheehan likewise a fabulous musician and Jeff Scott Soto has an amazing voice. I'm not going to disrespect the current DT singer, but I think Jeff has more of a vocal presence and authority. Not that I want James LaBrie replaced or anything, but I think if you merged SOA and DT then James might be one of the casualties. The real surprise for me was Bumblefoot. He blew me away and can fire out salvos of blistering solos, and then have moments of melodic genius.

The album opens with 'God of the Sun' and builds slowly with a Far Eastern vibe. It soon goes into Prog Metal overdrive and reminds me of Symphony X. I actually got into Symphony X before Dream Theater, and only became aware of DT when Symphony X supported them back in the day, around 10 years ago. I came away from that gig, wondering how I had missed out on DT for so long. This opening track is an epic, featuring a battle between Apollo and the encroaching darkness. No prizes for guessing who wins. Sort of wins. It's a cycle of sunlight and darkness out there, unless I've missed a memo.

'Coming Home' is a catchy Nickelback-esque track which opens with a recurring keyboard riff which burrows into your skull. Guilty pleasure confession - I like Nickelback, so I don't mind seeing similarities, particularly in the vocals. I obviously mean Nickelback in Prog-mode to the max. We then have a few bars near the end that reminds me of The Who, the guitar especially. This is a rock album isn't it?

'Signs of the Time' opens with Billy Sheehan's bass thudding away at the back of your cranium. It is another catchy number but less commercial than 'Coming Home'. Is commercial a dirty word? Should the music always be challenging and difficult to get into? This was apparently the first song written by the band when they got together and it features some jaw-droppingly phenomenal guitar from Bumblefoot.

'Labyrinth' opens with a string ensemble. Soto's voice sounds a little hoarse to me. I'm sure that was what he was aiming. The throat lozenges kick in and he quickly resumes normal service. I love his vocals, I really do. I hope that band stick around for a while as he deserves more recognition. I can hear some ELP keyboard influences around the 3 minutes mark (and later on) which then goes via Patrick Moraz into DT territory. Another excellent track, and later on Jon Lord makes an appearance (sort of). I love keyboards and synthesisers in bands, always have. Derek Sherinian is up there with the best of them.

'Alive' is the catchiest track on the album. For some reason it reminds me of the DT song 'Forsaken'. Both songs are now back to back on my latest Spotify playlist. The song features my favourite Bumblefoot moment - a breathtakingly beautiful solo around the 3 and a half minute mark. Just so damn gorgeous it is.

'Lost in Oblivion' opens with a synth-siren and is another memorable song. Rocks along and reminds me of Rainbow meets Symphony X. Jeff Scott Soto is a revelation on this song and throughout the album. He really anchors the band with his commanding vocals.

'Figaro's Whore' is an instrumental which conjures up Jon Lord just in time for his influence to be plastered all over the next track, 'Divine Addiction'. Ladies and gentlemen, on Hammond Organ I give you the ghost of Mr Jon Lord. I loved Jon in Deep Purple and Whitesnake. He was in my top 5 players and Derek Sherinian pays homage to him in sections of this track. It's perfectly fine to have influences - we all know what we like. I like Sons of Apollo.

'Opus Maximus' is an Opus Maximus. It is where the band remind you that they can play extremely well. Jeff Scott Soto gets to go for a pint at the bar. When this band play in my home town I can meet him at the bar and buy him a pint and say "You guys raaaawk man!" and other rockismic cliches.

 Psychotic Symphony by SONS OF APOLLO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 59 ratings

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Psychotic Symphony
Sons of Apollo Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars The family tree of Dream Theater projects is overwhelming as over the years each member has contributed a dizzying amount of collaborations to other projects. Very much is that the case with Mike Portnoy who left one the pioneers of progressive metal in 2010 and has since barely stood still for a second with his many bands such as The Winery Dogs, Flying Colors, Metal Allegiance and his countless Neal Morse projects as well as touring with countless other groups ranging from Twisted Sister to Avenged Sevenfold. In short, the man has remained quite busy but somehow has eschewed the progressive metal scene. That is until the newly founded SONS OF APOLLO entered the scene. Considered a supergroup for great reason, the newly formed band unleash their debut album PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY and shows Portnoy retracing his footsteps back to the Dream Theater heyday with healthy doses of the multitude of other prog metal bands that followed in their wake.

Once again Portnoy joins up with the equally prolific and ex-Dream Theater superstar Derek Sherinian, who together are the primary architects of the band as songwriters-in-chief and progenitors of an entirely new band that they claim to be the real thing and not a mere one off studio project. Also invited to the mix is the outstanding bassist Billy Sheehan who has worked with such greats as David Lee Roth, Steve Vai, Mr. BIg, Talas and also The Winery Dogs. The group is filled out with vocalist Jeff Scott Solo who got his start on the first two Yngwie Malmsteen albums but also sung for Journey, W.E.T. and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. And finally, the reason i even bothered to check out this SONS OF APOLLO album at all is one of my favorite guitarists on the scene Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal who in addition to having crafted some of the most diverse and creative solo albums has played with Guns N Roses as well as Art of Anarchy. He has also been a fairly prolific producer on the indy underground scene with such artists as Evoken.

Progressive metal has become a bit predictable over the years and although a few bands like Ayreon, Between The Buried And Me, Opeth and Mastodon have found new ways to express themselves within the genre, more often than not the genre is littered with technically gifted musicians retreading already heavily trodden musical pastures and in that regard SONS OF APOLLO marches on in an almost identical trajectory. Yes, the near hour long listening experience is chock full of complex compositions gussied up with heavy guitar riffs, outstanding solos, rich keyboard atmospheric constructs and percussive technical wizardry of stunning virtuosity but guess what. This is the best album Symphony X never made and that's exactly the problem with PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY in a nutshell and made all the more sad by the fact that this a veritable who's who in the top ranks of musical creative and technical musical expression. Only the expression part is missing.

Back to Bumblefoot. This is a guy who put his heart and soul into his first five albums where every track had more ideas stuffed into them than most bands muster up in a career and while the other members in this musical cast have had more 'normal' careers, they still have had their fingers in many pies and have exemplified a number of styles in the process. PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY on the other hand is a woefully uninspired by-the-numbers prog metal more in the vein of Symphony X at their most progressive (think 'V') although there are some bursts into symphonic based prog rock moments when Sheridan lets loose on the keyboards. Likewise Bumblefoot dishes out some of his classic squealing guitar solos between the cracks but the problem arises from the compositions themselves as the different suites that make up the tracks sound as if they were lifted verbatim from albums such as 'The Odyssey' or classic Symphony X around the turn of millennium.

Don't get me wrong, this is quite the listenable album and one that is well delivered, divinely produced and dripping with technically challenging workouts with some nods to classic hard rock, however the whole thing comes across as woefully achronistic as if it's a long lost album from the early 2000s that has only now emerged. Add to that, the insipid lyrics and been-there-done-that overall stylistic approach. Yep. Another clone band has emerged made all the more painful by the excellent talent on board. Perhaps these guys have been so busy in their respective projects that somebody forgot to tell them that this stuff is rather overdone at this point in progressive metal history. In short, if you simply can't get enough of the Symphony X style and need to hear a modern day Starcastle does Yes version of progressive metal, by all means check this out, however for yours truly, there are too many other innovative musical gems out there to check out and when i hear this i simply want to push STOP and immediately throw in Symphony X's 'The Divine Wings Of Tragedy' instead. Not a good sign.

 Psychotic Symphony by SONS OF APOLLO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 59 ratings

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Psychotic Symphony
Sons of Apollo Progressive Metal

Review by nandprogger

3 stars For all Portnoy fans a new progmetal band this musician come to mind : is this the new Dream Theater. For many fans, DT died with no Portnoy; for me, DT was not the same still MP in the album "Black Clouds and Silver Linings. The line up of this group is heavy, all great musicians. Is possible consider the background of this project. The evolution is that Jeff is better singer if compare to Labrie, but is important remember that is not a comparison of Dream Theater group. But I confess, I expected much more. In general, the group has proper style although much of the lines sounds no longer that you hear in many progmetal bands around of the world, sometimes looks a mere DT copy. The sin of this work is that the lines is no more that a billion of others progmetal bands exists, sometimes I feel that miss more of arragements in the so many spaces of songs. The high points of this debut is the contribution of Jeff that give a face of group, vocals sounds much good. "Coming home" is the hit of this album with simples prometal lines, "Labyrinth" shows the proper character of the band and "God of the Sun" demonstrates the technical capacity of bumblefoot. More of to say is on the work of Derek. The perception for me of Sons of Apollo much more of Portnoy fans making that criticism to be bigger for the expect the new DT band, this makes the rating of this album fall. In general, is not a bad album but there are so many thing that harms th progmetal for me: many groups need much work to differentiate one of others; for, in this aspect Son of Apollo sound as one billion of bands around of the world and thre are so many many prometal bands better: Seventh Wonder, Darkwater, Symphony and others. And DT, for me died, but no with departure of MIKE. 3,5 stars
 Psychotic Symphony by SONS OF APOLLO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 59 ratings

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Psychotic Symphony
Sons of Apollo Progressive Metal

Review by Cylli Kat (0fficial)

4 stars If we were still in the '70's... THIS would be the most important album of all time in Progressive Metal... BUT... It is 2017... I LOVE this album, but for most of my collaboraters at progarchives, this is a 3.5 (at best) album... However... For me, I walked away from my computer remembering the vocal melodies and guitar bits (go figure), of this album, and knew I had to return. Again and again.

The guitar work of Ron Thal, the drumming of my old friend (really long story), of Mike Portnoy, and the vocals of Jeff Scott Soto, have truly captivated me and have brought me back to the old Rainbow and more recently, Symphony X days...

This might not be to everyone's taste... Cylli gives it 4.72 Stars...

Grace and peace, Cylli

 Psychotic Symphony by SONS OF APOLLO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 59 ratings

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Psychotic Symphony
Sons of Apollo Progressive Metal

Review by Biff Tannen

2 stars Bland is the best word I can use to describe this record. There are quite a few moments where you think, "Okay, they've got something here," but then they lose it. The fact that they recorded this album at warp speed is glaringly apparent, considering the majority of the songs suffer from the cut and paste effect and often bounce from idea to idea, often times with jarring transitions that make no sense from an arrangement sense. Too bad, cause the players in this band are all good, but it is more or less sounds like a generic hard rock with some long solos shoehorned in so the prog label can get attached to it. Also, I am not a fan of the singer; I do not connect with his voice one iota, leaving me wondering where the melodies are. If this band persists long enough for a second album, let's hope they spend a little more time on it instead of throwing something together in a haphazard manner, like what clearly happened here.
 Psychotic Symphony by SONS OF APOLLO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 59 ratings

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Psychotic Symphony
Sons of Apollo Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars This album oozes quality. I was very happy to hear that Mike Portnoy was heading back to Progressive Metal, because that is a favorite genre of mine and everything he touches is gold. You can absolutely hear how talented these guys are with the first track, and they sound like they are having fun. A supergroup of top notch musicians is always welcome, and this first album is so close to the best Portnoy era Dream Theater albums. I love those Portnoy era Dream Theater albums, and welcome more from the man with incredible progressive rock instincts. The biggest surprise for me was the vocals. Jeff Scott Soto really impressed me with how well the tone of his voice fits the music. Psychotic Symphony is a great start for this band, and I expect big things in the future. Mike Portnoy is arguably the best drummer that adds a unique, lively sound to this genre. I think the greatest compliment to an album is how much I actually listen to it, and this has been in my heavy rotation for a while. It is an excellent addition to any Progressive Metal collection. 4.5/5
 Psychotic Symphony by SONS OF APOLLO album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 59 ratings

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Psychotic Symphony
Sons of Apollo Progressive Metal

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

4 stars Here's another supergroup of talented musicians who got together from the desire of Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian who are almost like old brothers in need to make another album under this "modest" new band name "Sons of Apollo". The album starts with the opening track "God of the Sun" who will not please those who are against every band that does a copy of Dream Theater. The time signatures are almost the same as the "god" of Prog Metal and the guitar sound almost like Mr. Petrucci. The typical sound of Derek Sherinian keyboards can be heard throughout this album and in the song "Divine Addiction" there is a reference to John Lord with the Hammond organ. The drum playing of Mike Portnoy is not at rest as the guitar playing of "Bumblefoot" with some guitar solos. As for the vocals of Jeff Scott Soto, he doesn't have the greatest voice, but it seems to work here. The music is not always progressive, there is some classic hard rock music but it's always pretty intense. The most enjoyable songs are the more complex ones with a long instrumental break like "Labyrinth" who got a nice atmosphere with that ELP and UK keyboards sound and impressive playing of Derek, and as for the last epic song "Opus Maximus", this is an instrumental "tour de force" that sound like Liquid Tension Experiment. Here each musician shows their technique in a very fast tempo before slowing things down with a guitar solo.

You can either love this album and see as a masterpiece or hate it. I don't think it's a classic, but it's a very good album of Progressive Metal. 3.6 stars.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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