Inside Out [Release date 17.01.20]
Second studio outing from the prog metal supergroup Sons Of Apollo who consist of vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, bassist Billy Sheenan, guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, drummer Mike Portnoy and on keyboards Derek Sherinian.
Sons Of Apollo have been playing live since the release of their debut album 2017’s ‘Psychotic Symphony’ and this has further strengthened their ability to spark musical ideas off each other.
One thing that strikes the listener is the increased intensity of riffing and overall metal sound, be it on the colossal stomping opener ‘Goodbye Divinity’ (hints of Rush in the keys at times) or ‘Asphyxiation’. That one will pummel your senses, albeit in a melodic way as with Sons Of Apollo, despite the numerous solos from each band member, they never lose sight of a song’s melodic heart.
‘Desolate July’ is dedicated to bass player David Z who died in a tour bus crash in 2017. He was a former band mate of Mike Portnoy and toured in Soto’s band and as part of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A deeply moving and personal lyric, with Soto giving possibly his best vocal performance on the album.
Those who love an extended prog metal workout that allows each band member to strut their stuff will delight in the fifteen minutes plus of ‘New World Today’. The sounds that Bumblefoot gets out of his guitar sounding otherworldly at times, whilst Sheenan’s fluid bass lines are always an aural treat.
It takes a little longer to get into some of the songs, but it is worth it and Sons Of Apollo have an album likely to feature in year-end ‘best of’ lists. No second album stumbles for this band, where they have matched their excellent debut and upped the metal that’s for sure. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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