With a line up that truly could be sent from the gods, Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian rekindle their Dream Theater fire on drums and keys. Longtime extraordinaire bassist Billy Sheehan, accompanied by the double neck guitar wielding Bumblefoot and rounded off with the supernova of Jeff Scott Soto. From the moment the Sons of Apollo debut erupts into its ostentatious beginning, fans know that they are in for one hell of a treat with Psychotic Symphony.
Playing to each members strengths, with a combined experience that outweighs even some of the biggest heavyweights to date, the musicianship on Sons of Apollo is incomparable. From the bodacious “Signs of The Time” whose angular riffing lays a fantastic rhythmic formula for the band follow. Most importantly though the band achieve the progressive heights of the likes of a ten minute opus in a five minute window. That being said, the album is in no shortage of the Prog epics. Owing to their careful placement throughout the record, no song sounds the same and most important nothing sounds boring. Opening with the sonic audacity that could be only one Sherinian’s keys lead the attack on “Lost In Oblivion” before working in tandem with Bumblefoot’s fantastic guitar licks.
Nevertheless, Sons of Apollo have ensured that one of Prog’s most forgotten members is not only included but has his own voice entirely, if you’ll excuse the pun. Driving the band’s herculean choruses Jeff Scott Soto not only brings a pair of lungs that seem to be permanently kept in the eighties but adds yet another dynamic to the band’s already impressive arsenal. The segue of keyboard instrumental “Figaro’s Whore” acts as a fantastic precursor to the ZZ Top-esque “Divine Addiction” not to mention a perfect showcase of Sherinian’s wizardly ability. However of course it wouldn’t be a Prog album without the expansive layers of the likes of symphonic opus “Labyrinth” anchored with Portnoy’s signature weighty drum beats its a perfect compendium of all that the band bring to the table.
Owing to intricate songwriting, there’s no moment wasted, no needless repetitions allowing for the track to marinate nicely without being extensively long. Though special mention has to go to “God of The Sun“, from the moment the song begins, instantly fans are both in familiar territory with Sherinian and Bumblefoot at the vanguard before the introduction of Portnoy and Sheehan before lastly Scott Soto brings up the rear to form this most impressive beast that is Sons of Apollo. Following this impressive introduction is a cinematic masterpiece in instrumentation and songwriting, a real highlight being once again Sheridan’s keys solo. Despite their celebrity status in the Rock and Metal community, this is by no means a “project” or a “super group” but a band that are ready to take over the world and what better soundtrack to do it with than Psychotic Symphony. Put it this way, if you’re a Prog fan, this masterclass is essential.