Psy­chotic Sym­phony in­siD­eout Ye gods! The lastest Port­noy jug­ger­naut rolls into town!

Prog - - Limelight - FRaSER LEwRY

Thun­der roars. Light­ning crashes. Sitars ring. A harp cas­cades. There’s wild solo­ing, strings bor­rowed from Led Zep­pelin’s Kash­mir, and a riff that sounds like the kind of mu­sic that might ac­com­pany Zeus on a late-night trip to the all-night garage. We’re just two min­utes in, and the de­but al­bum from Sons Of Apollo is prov­ing to be un­flinch­ingly epic.

Put to­gether by drum­mer Mike Port­noy, bassist Billy Shee­han, gui­tarist Ron ‘Bum­ble­foot’ Thal, for­mer Jour­ney front­man Jeff Scott Soto and Port­noy’s old Dream The­ater co­hort Derek Sherinian, Sons Of Apollo are men whose rock fam­ily tree has steadily grown into a fully fledged for­est.

And as they leap nim­bly from su­per­group to su­per­group, it’s tempt­ing to won­der if this is a blue­print for rock’s fu­ture: find mu­si­cians of re­pute who work quickly, rat­tle out an al­bum, then em­bark on a one-off, cof­fer-swelling tour

(we’re promised that SOP will spend 2018 “tour­ing all over the world”) be­fore mov­ing on to the next project. And, a few quib­bles aside, why not?

Psy­chotic Sym­phony is very much the sum of its parts. The mu­si­cians are as good as you’d ex­pect, es­pe­cially Port­noy, who al­most seems to drag the rest of the band along with him, and Thal, whose play­ing veers from ugly me­tal­lic crunch to stun­ningly fluid solo.

Labyrinth starts with ur­gent, stac­cato strings, is joined by a sub­tle, stut­ter­ing riff that sounds like a sped-up ver­sion of AC/DC’s For Those About To Rock, pro­ceeds with a fran­tic sec­tion sim­i­lar to the Hyper­space move­ment of Rush’s Nat­u­ral Sci­ence, and cli­maxes with the kind of key­board swells that Tony Banks had per­fected by the time mid-pe­riod Ge­n­e­sis rolled around. Signs Of The Time be­gins with a riff plucked straight from the Go­jira play­book be­fore noodling its way to­wards jazz rock nir­vana. Divine Ad­dic­tion could be Per­fect Strangers-era Deep Pur­ple, while the mid­dle sec­tion of Com­ing Home is like the mid-point of The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again rewrit­ten for any­one un­fa­mil­iar with the orig­i­nal.

Every­thing sounds like a cel­e­bra­tion of rock mu­sic, a trib­ute to rock mu­sic and, of­ten, an af­fec­tion­ate, me­tal­lic ap­prox­i­ma­tion of rock mu­sic orig­i­nally made by other peo­ple. These hat-tips are usu­ally quite sly, and by the time you’ve no­ticed, the band have moved on to some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent, and it re­ally doesn’t mat­ter.

Psy­chotic Sym­phony is fierce, loud, be­wil­der­ing, bril­liantly per­formed and mon­strously en­ter­tain­ing.



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