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| 17 January 2020 | Reply

Label: Inside Out Music

Release Date: January 17, 2020

Rating: 100%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

The new year and decade have just started and already, I have heard an album that will set the bar for both the year and decade.  The latest studio effort from rock powerhouse Sons Of Apollo, MMXX, is an amazing collection of prog rock tracks that swirl prog influences with hard rock and some cool melodic flare tossed in for great measure.  This disc gets better with every listen.  “Goodbye Divinity” kicks off with some guitar riffs from Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal that is soon swirled in the mix with keyboard, drums, and bass.  The mix of the track is perfect and the music itself builds, drawing you in from the first note and maintaining its grip on your for the entire track (who am I kidding – the entire disc).  Once the vocals kick in, all bets are off.  “Wither To Black” is a prog powerhouse track that features some amazing keyboard work from Derek Sherinian.  The song is a solid rocker from beginning to end and allows Jeff Scott Soto to flex his vocal muscles.  The bridge is full of heavy handed drums and some cool time signature changes.  “Desolate July” is a beautiful track that drew me in from first listen.  The amazing piano interlude from Sherinian that opens the song duets perfectly with Soto’s vocals before the band kicks everything into high gear – anchored flawlessly by drummer Mike Portnoy.  This is my favorite track on the disc and I find myself tapping my foot just as hard on this tune as I do on any song here.  “Fall To Ascend” is highlighted by a cool elongated instrumental pieces that allows Portnoy, Sheehan, Sherinian, and Thal to take their turns in the spotlight while giving each other room to run through the their integral pieces without taking away from the band sound and vibe.  Jeff Scott Soto’s vocals are some of the best on the disc.

“Asphyxiation” unfolds with a heavy vibe that is accented perfectly by Billy Sheehan’s thunderous bass lines and the layered vocals that dot the verse and chorus.  The chugging riff in the mix adds depth to the song while the drums punctuate the songs power.  This song should go over well in a live situation, as the cadence is built to get hands in the air and heads banging.  “King Of Delusion” opens with more piano and features a mini concerto to open the track that builds slowly and folds in the rest of the band in time.  The bridge is an interesting piece that shifts gears without losing focus.  Thal’s guitar work helps structure the song at times while the rest of the band come together around the arrangement that consistently showcases the talented Sherinian.  This track delivers an amazing prog vibe.  “Resurrection Day” comes screaming at you thanks to Thal’s ripping leads.  The songs cadence is amazing and shows off another facet of the band and their ability to swirl modern heavy rock with prog stylings culminating in an over the top song that checks off every box on a musical checklist.  The vocal arrangement offers some deviation from the rest of the disc, but you can’t go wrong when Soto lets loose… or when Sheenhan and Sherinian duet on the bridge.  Disc closer “New World Today” starts off with a guitar sound that shows how talented Bumblefoot is when he plays – it isn’t about the the number of notes or the crunch behind them.  Sometimes it is about the feel and emotion poured into a song.  The keyboards add an ethereal touch and help shift the songs direction as the intro melds into a full blown rocker.  The bass lines that run through the verse carry the load underneath the vocals and are kept in time thanks to the drums.  This disc is not to be missed – the playing is perfect from song to song and the different textures and times signatures keep the disc flowing without sounding regurgitated or repetitive.

Tracklisting: Goodbye Divinity – Wither To Black – Asphyxiation – Desolate July – King Of Delusion – Fall To Ascend – Resurrection Day – New World Today

Band Lineup: Jeff Scott Soto (lead vocals) – Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar) – Billy Sheehan (bass) – Derek Sherinian (keyboards) – Mike Portnoy (drums)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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