By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
There have been so many supergroups that have emerged in my lifetime. Not only are they all-star rock bands, but they are groups that are able to combine the signature styles, in order to create music that fans end up loving. From hard rock royals like Velvet Revolver, to blues rockers Black Country Communion, alternative rock powerhouse A Perfect Circle, and the legendary Cream, supergroups have hardly let me down. Some of them lasted, and some of them eventually ended. However, there is always one more popping up to amuse the masses. This newest formation, has members that come from Mr. Big, Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, and Yngwie Malmsteen, thus becoming Sons of Apollo. Originally created by Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater), and Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), they have brought together Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses) and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen) to orchestrate their debut, Psychotic Symphony.
Right from the start, with “God of the Sun,” Sons of Apollo give the listener an album of epic proportion. The musicianship that each of these talented players bring to the table, is off the scales. If anything, I feel that Psychotic Symphony challenges them to go bold or go home. Soto soars high, with his melodic singing. His vocal work is a perfect fit for this band. Bumblefoot is a guitar virtuoso, who cooks up some supreme riffs and solos. He is arguably one of the best in his field. Portnoy strikes a mean beat on the drums, while Sheehan plays some monster bass rhythms, to go along with Sherinian’s operatic/progressive style on the keyboards. Together, they bring their collective creative outlets to new heights.
Their songs have a symphony quality to them, from “Signs of Time” to “Labyrinth.” They would range between 10 minute songs of a grander scale, to simple progressive melodies. Soto handled most of the lyrics, with some of the titles suggested by Sherinian. My favorite song overall is “Lost in Oblivion” because it ups the “wow” factor, in terms of musicianship and lyrics. Another favorite is “Divine Addiction,” which explores the theme of sexual addiction from a woman’s perspective. Sherinian’s sound is almost similar to old Deep Purple records, as if the spirit of DP keyboard master, John Lord entered his body and took control of his playing. That is a nice take on a very sensitive topic. The album also features two instrumental tracks, “Figaro’s Whore” and “Opus Maximus.” With “Opus Maximus,” it is an epic jam session, where all the collective talents belt out a righteous melody that is their magnum opus. This is a track that would make Sebastian Bach and Beethoven envious.
Sons of Apollo are one of those rare supergroups that come along and look to stay for the long run. Psychotic Symphony screams virtuous heavy metal excellence. When I first heard this album, I was like, “Holy shit! Where were these guys?” The lyrics, the music, and the harmonies make this album a must have. They have mentioned that this band will be a full time act, and not just a side project. This makes me very anxious to hear what they can come up with in the next LP, they will put out…hopefully soon. Soto, Bumblefoot, Sherinian, Sheehan, and Portnoy are lords of the metal manor. To Sons of Apollo, I salute you. Horns up!!! 10/10
1 God of the Sun
2 Coming Home
3 Signs of the Time
6 Lost in Oblivion
7 Figaro’s Whore
8 Divine Addiction
9 Opus Maximus
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