Sons of Apollo is a new supergroup combining the talents of drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob), vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen Band), keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater), guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N Roses), and bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, David Lee Roth Band).
Psychotic Symphony marks the first release from this quintet of rock and roll superstars. With five artists who have played in wildly diverse bands, this is the unexpected supergroup that no one quite knew what to expect from. After finally getting to hear the album and give it a listen, what does it sound like? Will fans of these artists and/or their respective classic bands of the past like what they hear here, or is it a disaster where the sum of the parts is worth less than the individual players?
Despite being a huge fan of these respective artists and nearly all of their previous bands, I had no idea what to anticipate from the Sons of Apollo debut. But Psychotic Symphony, as a strange mix of modern rock sounds and more progressive elements, somehow comes together and works nicely.
For being an album/band that came out of nowhere, Psychotic Symphony from Sons of Apollo surprised the hell out of this rock and roll fan. Much of the album is straightforward modern rock; many songs or parts of songs sound like they would not be out of place on modern rock radio (and could be major hits if they were given a chance). But it is the incorporation of the wild and unpredictable progressive rock elements that sets this album apart from the rest. We have keyboard work from Sherinian that helps to give the album a unique, progressive identity, and riffs from one of the best axemen in the business, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (there is way more to this guy than his stint in GNR!) Perhaps the most interesting thing about Psychotic Symphony is it that it does not really resemble any of the bands these artists have played for. With extended instrumental sections on many tracks and instrumentation you might not be expecting, it stands as an album that is unpredictable in the best of ways. It is certainly progressive, but with the more modern-driven sound and the vocals from Jeff Scott Soto, this release will not be mistaken for Dream Theater, despite the presence of two of that band’s classic members.
Every now and then an album comes along that surprises the hell out of me. This time around, it was Sons of Apollo’s Psychotic Symphony. This is an album that is not afraid to be bold, and the chemistry of its multi-talented members speaks for itself; the fact that many of these artists have played together in bands in the past speaks for itself. I admit, this likely won’t be a release for everyone, but for anyone seeking modern-driven hard rock with a progressive twist, this album is going to satisfy and then some. Definitely one of the best of 2017 so far. Highly recommended!