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Sons Of Apollo - MMXX CD (album) cover


Sons Of Apollo


Progressive Metal

3.50 | 40 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Sons of Apollo are back and start the new decade with a crushing new album! The 'super' in their supergroup label is once again justified brilliantly, not only because of the all-star line-up of Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan, Ron Thal, and Jeff Scott Soto but also with the incredible sound of this album that solidifies SoA as an excellent and important addition to the progressive metal universe.

The opening track 'Goodbye Divinity' was released as the first single and gave a glimpse of what the fans should expect about this new record. Sherinian's opening notes and the build-up with the other instruments remind a lot about 'New Millenium'. However, this is a not a DT remake but an excellent opening track that kind of continues the band's style from the previous album. We are presented with the sonic gigantism that these players are capable of delivering - Portnoy's inspired and destructive drumming, Derek's lush and menacing keyboard tone, Sheehan's crunchy bass lines, and Bumblefoot's guitar extravaganza. And above all, Jeff Scott Soto, whose flawless performance tops the one on 'Psychotic Symphony'.

'Wither To Black' is a groovier track but also upbeat, in a way. Definitely a track to headbang to, the catchy riff and the brilliant vocals are the highlights of this one, just to be followed by another incredible song - 'Asphyxiation'. Probably the heaviest track that features another memorable riff, great lyrics, and insane solos (What a surprise!). It showcases the proggier side of SoA mixed with their ability to create melodic metal pieces.

The fourth track 'Desolate July' could serve as the ballad of the album, opening up with Derek's piano and Soto's elegant vocals that lead up to the beautiful and powerful chorus. It captures the more emotional and lyrical side of the band that we are not exposed to too often. This leads to 'King of Delusion' that once again opens up with the piano continuing the 'slower' ending of 'Desolate July' but also reminding me of the band Far Corner and their first album. This leads to the thrashy breakdown that is like a sonic explosion. It is quite an enjoyable proggier track that consolidates the band's songwriting as a powerful yet intelligent one. Intelligent and interesting lyrics also roam the album adding more delicious cringe to the already astonishing album. The sixth track is also the second single off the album, 'Fall to Ascend'. And I must admit this might be my favorite track from the band. The mini drum solo opening, the vocal delivery and the catchy chorus all make up for a crushing prog metal track. But that's not all as the band decides to fill the second part of the song with majestic solos (five, if I'm counting right) that leave one speechless. The follow-up to this song, however, feels like the most disappointing track on 'MMXX'. This is, of course, 'Resurrection Day' and it fails to impress compared to all the rest that was on up until now. Not a bad track but a weaker one having in mind that the album has been flawless for six tracks straight.

So far, we get 7 tracks that are all of normal length for a progressive metal band (between five and seven minutes). So, of course, the final and closing track has to be a an epic - the 16-minute 'New World Today'. The cinematic and more ambient beginning lead to a spacy build-up that feels a bit Ayreon, a bit old-school Dream Theater. We get the main riff around the third minute with a groove that kind of disrupts the rest of the album. So far, the song does not seem like a memorable or impressive piece. However, the heavier transition around the sixth minute somehow 'saves' the song. BIlly Sheehan shines with a great solo that preceeds the instrumental part of the song that is, well, fantastic. I feel like they could have made this opus all-instrumental and it would've sounded much better and complete.

Overall, 'MMXX' is a great start to a new decade and a great continuation of what Sons of Apollo set as their sound. Brilliant instrumental work, as expected, numerous mind-blowing solos from all players, an even better vocal performance by Soto compared to the 2017 release, and thrilling songwriting. Yet, the last two tracks disrupt the beautiful sequence that comes before them.

The albums is quite solid and I can say without a doubt that it is a great addition to any prog rock/metal collection!

NickCrimsonII | 4/5 |


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