As eyes roll at the thought of yet another project album by virtuosos on a break from touring, one can’t help but be curious about Sons Of Apollo. Keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Planet X, Black Country Communion) joins forces with Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, The Winery Dogs), guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), and former Yngwie and Journey singer Jeff Scott Soto. This super-duper ensemble is like an old back issue of Marvel Team-Up that simply cannot be ignored.
The genre is grandiose progressive metal, and this album is saturated with epic keyboard effects, beautifully rumbling bass, spastic drumming, and mutant guitar prowess. The glue that holds these titans together is the raw intensity of the underrated and talented Soto.
Odd time signatures gel with ’80s hard rock, pastoral interludes, and arena-rock choruses, as on “Alive.” With all this talent come blazing solos and majestic song craft. “Lost In Oblivion” makes use of air-raid sounds and bone-crushing rhythms.
Prog and sci-fi fans will embrace the evocative themes culled from Bach, Deep Purple, Symphony X, and post-apocalyptic cinema soundscapes.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.