Sons Of Apollo Debuts ‘Asphyxiation’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Sons of Apollo debuted the video for its latest video this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its song ‘Asphyxiation‘ Monday.  It flashes the lyrics for the song against a backdrop of the band performing the single and a woman wearing a cover on her eyes.  It also presents a warning before it opens, for those prone to seizures brought on by flashing images as an added measure.

The song’s musical arrangement is full-on prog metal for which the band members — Mike Portnoy (drums), Derek Sherinian (keyboards) Jeff Scott Soto (vocals) Billy Sheehan (bass) and Ron Thal (guitar) — have come to be known throughout their collective careers.

This song’s lyrical content comes across as perhaps two people in a very toxic relationship.  That is inferred right from the song’s outset as Soto sings, “I’m lovin’ the way/That you’re squeezin’ my soul/My insanity/And I’m needin’ a taste/I can’t breath/This suffocating desire/Now dig/You’re the devil I know/My consequence, your dichotomy/No remorse, now I see/You are now my diseased fortifier/Your deceit is your desire/You’re my salvation/My new temptation/’Cause you’re my asphyxiation.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Under my own skin/Let the games now begin/In your private hell/I am your lust/Scream eternally under your spell/My deceit is your desire.”  He adds in the song’s third verse, “I’m your creation/Your new sensation/I’m your temptation/’Cause I’m your asphyxiation.”  It seems those strong thoughts and feelings go in both directions, leading back to that inference that this is a song about people in a less than perfect relationship.  That being the case, the almost manic feel of the song’s arrangement makes more sense.  To that end, it shows again just how much thought and time went into making sure every song in this album translated clearly to the band’s fans and general listeners.  Keeping that in mind along with the other two songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the entirety of MMXX becomes a record that is a large step up for Sons of Apollo. It makes the record a sign of how much this group has to offer audiences.  That in turn gives hope that this record will not be the band’s last album.

‘Asphyxiation’ is featured in Sons of Apollo’s sophomore album MMXX.  It is the fourth single to be lifted from the record.  Most recently, the band debuted the video for the song ‘Desolate July‘ last month.

The song boasts an arrangement that at points, incorporates elements of Pink Floyd and even Type O Negative with its guitars, vocals and keyboards.  It sounds like an odd combination of elements, but is there nonetheless.  The video opens by noting the song is a tribute to the band members’ friend David Z.

Front man Jeff Scott Soto discussed the tribute in a recent interview.

“From the few seconds of hearing this song, it guided me to write the lyrics about our dear friend and colleague, David Z,” he said.  “David was one of the greatest, funniest and kindest humans I have ever known.  he had friendships with most all of us in SOA, but Mike [Portnoy] — SOA drummer — and I were certainly the closest.  I thought it fitting to include this tribute to him from us in this haunting, incredible body of music.”

Portnoy expanded on Soto’s comments with his own statements.

“This video is a great tribute to our dear friend David Z,” he said.  “Jeff and I were particularly close with him and I was honored that Jeff invited me to sing the harmonies with him on the choruses for us to both share our love for our friend that was tragically taken from us way too soon.”

Prior to its video, Sons of Apollo debuted the videos for the songs ‘Fall to Ascend‘ and MMXX‘s lead single ‘Goodbye Divinity.’

Sons of Apollo is in the midst of a world tour in support of MMXX.  The band is making its way through Europe on the current leg of that tour.  The band is scheduled to perform live in Drammen, Norway Monday and Gotthenburg, Sweden Tuesday.  The remainder of the band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

 

 

Europe 2020
Mon 3/2            Drammen, Norway                     Union Scene
Tue 3/3             Gothenburg, Sweden                 Traedgarn
Thu 3/5             Kyiv, Ukraine                             N.A.U Theatre
Sat 3/7              Moscow, Russia                        RED
Sun 3/8             St Petersburg, Russia                Aurora
Tue 3/10            Pratteln, Switzerland                  Z7
Wed 3/11          Milan, Italy                                Live Club
Fri 3/13             Bilbao, Spain                            Santana 27
Sat 3/14            Barcelona, Spain                       Razzmatazz 2
Sun 3/15           Madrid, Spain                           La Riviera
Tue 3/17            France                                      TBA
Wed 3/18          France                                      TBA
Thu 3/19            London, U.K.                            Islington Assembly Hall
Fri 3/20             Eindhoven, Netherlands             Prognosis Festival
Sun 3/22           Show Brno, Czech Republic       Sono
Tue 3/24            Kosice, Slovakia                       Colosseum
Wed 3/25          Budapest, Hungary                    Barba Negra

 

 

More information on MMXX and the band’s tour in support of the album is available online now along with all of Sons of Apollo’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.sonsofapollo.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SonsOfApollo1

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sons of Apollo Debuts ‘Desolate July’ Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Sons of Apollo debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its single ‘Desolate July‘ Friday.  The song is taken from the band’s new album MMXX, which is scheduled for release Jan 17 through InsideOut Music.

The song boasts an arrangement that at points, incorporates elements of Pink Floyd and even Type O Negative with its guitars, vocals and keyboards.  It sounds like an odd combination of elements, but is there nonetheless.  The video opens by noting the song is a tribute to the band members’ friend David Z.

Front man Jeff Scott Soto discussed the tribute in a recent interview.

“From the few seconds of hearing this song, it guided me to write the lyrics about our dear friend and colleague, David Z,” he said.  “David was one of the greatest, funniest and kindest humans I have ever known.  he had friendships with most all of us in SOA, but Mike [Portnoy] — SOA drummer — and I were certainly the closest.  I thought it fitting to include this tribute to him from us in this haunting, incredible body of music.”

Portnoy expanded on Soto’s comments with his own statements.

“This video is a great tribute to our dear friend David Z,” he said.  “Jeff and I were particularly close with him and I was honored that Jeff invited me to sing the harmonies with him on the choruses for us to both share our love for our friend that was tragically taken from us way too soon.”

‘Desolate July’ is the third single from SOA’s forthcoming album.  The album has also spawned the singles ‘Fall To Ascend‘ and ‘Goodbye Divinity.’

MMXX will be available as a standard CD, limited edition 2CD set, which features instrumental tracks and a capella excerpts, and as LP/2CD combo pack.  It will also be available on all digital platforms.

Sons of Apollo will launch a tour in support of MMXX later this month in Sacramento, CA.  The tour is scheduled to launch Jan. 23 and to run through Feb. 8 in Englewood, NJ.  After taking some time off, the band will launch the first European leg of its tour on Feb. 29 in Germany.  The European leg of the band’s tour is scheduled to run through March 25 in Budapest, Hungary.  the band’s tour schedule is noted below.

 

North America 2020
Thu 1/23            Sacramento, CA            Crest Theater
Fri 1/24             Pomona, CA                 The Glass House (https://bit.ly/2H8kNxY)
Sat 1/25            Los Angeles, CA           The Roxy (https://bit.ly/2H8aLNb)
Sun 1/26           San Francisco, CA        The Fillmore (https://bit.ly/31FYAPj)
Tue 1/28            Salt Lake City, UT          The State Room (https://bit.ly/31D8P7e)
Wed 1/29          Denver, CO                   The Oriental Theater (https://bit.ly/2Z5QC4s)
Fri 1/31             St. Charles, IL               Arcada Theater (https://bit.ly/30igOGu)
Sat 2/1              Battle Creek, MI             The Music Factory (https://bit.ly/31IwXVQ)
Sun 2/2             Toronto, ONT.               Mod Club (https://bit.ly/2Z8OuJ8)
Mon 2/3            Montreal QUE.              Corona Theater (https://bit.ly/2KF9eyU)
Wed 2/5            Boston, MA                  Paradise Rock Club (https://bit.ly/2N2rMMx)
Thu 2/6             New York, NY               Gramercy Theater (https://livemu.sc/2KHNN1r)
Fri 2/7               Jim Thorpe, PA             Penn’s Peak (https://bit.ly/2TLMy4w)
Sat 2/8              Englewood, NJ             Bergen PAC (https://bit.ly/31MKyM7)
Europe 2020
Sat 2/29            Germany                                   TBA
Mon 3/2            Drammen, Norway                     Union Scene
Tue 3/3             Gothenburg, Sweden                 Traedgarn
Thu 3/5             Kyiv, Ukraine                             N.A.U Theatre
Sat 3/7              Moscow, Russia                        RED
Sun 3/8             St Petersburg, Russia                Aurora
Tue 3/10            Pratteln, Switzerland                  Z7
Wed 3/11          Milan, Italy                                Live Club
Fri 3/13             Bilbao, Spain                            Santana 27
Sat 3/14            Barcelona, Spain                       Razzmatazz 2
Sun 3/15           Madrid, Spain                           La Riviera
Tue 3/17            France                                      TBA
Wed 3/18          France                                      TBA
Thu 3/19            London, U.K.                            Islington Assembly Hall
Fri 3/20             Eindhoven, Netherlands             Prognosis Festival
Sun 3/22           Show Brno, Czech Republic       Sono
Tue 3/24            Kosice, Slovakia                       Colosseum
Wed 3/25          Budapest, Hungary                    Barba Negra

More information on MMXX and the band’s tour in support of the album is available online now along with all of Sons of Apollo’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.sonsofapollo.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SonsOfApollo1

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sons Of Apollo Debuts ‘Fall To Ascend’ Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Sons of Apollo debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Fall To Ascend‘ Friday.  The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album MMXX, which is scheduled for release Jan. 17, 2020 through Inside Out Music.

The video features the band performing its new single, with each member presented collectively through a distinctly psychedelic video effect.  The song’s musical arrangement once again features a very familiar sound thanks to the collective work of keyboardist Derek Sherinian and drummer Mike Portnoy, both of whom previously recorded and toured with Dream Theater.  Vocalist Jeff Scott Soto’s deep vocal delivery, guitarist Ron Thal and bassist Billy Sheehan add their own special touch to the song to make the composition in whole familiar stylistically speaking, but still original in its own right.  The song’s lyrical theme adds to its interest with its thought-provoking content.

The debut of the band’s video for ‘Fall To Ascend’ comes less than a month after the band debuted the video for MMXX‘s lead single, ‘Goodbye Divinity.’  The song’s musical arrangement will appeal just as much as that of ‘Fall To Ascend’ to Dream Theater fans.  The song’s lyrical content comes across as a commentary of sorts.

Pre-orders are open now for MMXX.  Audiences who pre-order the album now through iTunes and Amazon will receive an instant grat download of ‘Goodbye, Divinity.’

Audiences who pre-save the album online will have the chance to win digital subscriptions to Modern Drummer magazine and Bass Player magazine.  They will also have the chance to win a signed Remo drumhead from the band, as well as two tickets to one of the band’s upcoming shows.

Speaking of the band’s shows, the band will launch a tour in support of MMXX on Jan. 23 in Sacramento, CA.  The tour is scheduled to run through Feb. 8 in Englewood, NJ.

After taking time off to rest and recharge, the band will launch the second leg of its tour Feb. 28 in Germany.  The exact city is still too be announced.  The European leg of the tour is scheduled to run through March 25 in Budapest, Hungary.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

North America 2020
Thu 1/23            Sacramento, CA            Crest Theater
Fri 1/24             Pomona, CA                 The Glass House (https://bit.ly/2H8kNxY)
Sat 1/25            Los Angeles, CA           The Roxy (https://bit.ly/2H8aLNb)
Sun 1/26           San Francisco, CA        The Fillmore (https://bit.ly/31FYAPj)
Tue 1/28            Salt Lake City, UT          The State Room (https://bit.ly/31D8P7e)
Wed 1/29          Denver, CO                   The Oriental Theater (https://bit.ly/2Z5QC4s)
Fri 1/31             St. Charles, IL               Arcada Theater (https://bit.ly/30igOGu)
Sat 2/1              Battle Creek, MI             The Music Factory (https://bit.ly/31IwXVQ)
Sun 2/2             Toronto, ONT.               Mod Club (https://bit.ly/2Z8OuJ8)
Mon 2/3            Montreal QUE.              Corona Theater (https://bit.ly/2KF9eyU)
Wed 2/5            Boston, MA                  Paradise Rock Club (https://bit.ly/2N2rMMx)
Thu 2/6             New York, NY               Gramercy Theater (https://livemu.sc/2KHNN1r)
Fri 2/7               Jim Thorpe, PA             Penn’s Peak (https://bit.ly/2TLMy4w)
Sat 2/8              Englewood, NJ             Bergen PAC (https://bit.ly/31MKyM7)
Europe 2020
Sat 2/29            Germany                                   TBA
Mon 3/2            Drammen, Norway                     Union Scene
Tue 3/3             Gothenburg, Sweden                 Traedgarn
Thu 3/5             Kyiv, Ukraine                             N.A.U Theatre
Sat 3/7              Moscow, Russia                        RED
Sun 3/8             St Petersburg, Russia                Aurora
Tue 3/10            Pratteln, Switzerland                  Z7
Wed 3/11          Milan, Italy                                Live Club
Fri 3/13             Bilbao, Spain                            Santana 27
Sat 3/14            Barcelona, Spain                       Razzmatazz 2
Sun 3/15           Madrid, Spain                           La Riviera
Tue 3/17            France                                      TBA
Wed 3/18          France                                      TBA
Thu 3/19            London, U.K.                            Islington Assembly Hall
Fri 3/20             Eindhoven, Netherlands             Prognosis Festival
Sun 3/22           Show Brno, Czech Republic       Sono
Tue 3/24            Kosice, Slovakia                       Colosseum
Wed 3/25          Budapest, Hungary                    Barba Negra

More information on Sons of Apollo’s upcoming live dates, new single, video, album and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.sonsofapollo.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SonsOfApollo1

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sons Of Apollo Debuts ‘Goodbye, Divinity’ Video; Announces Tour Schedule

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Sons of Apollo debuted the lead single from its new album this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Goodbye, Divinity‘ Friday.  the song is featured in the band’s upcoming sophomore album MMXX, which is due out Jan. 17, 2020 through InsideOut Music.

Directed by Vicente Cordero, the video features the band — Jeff Scott Soto (vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums), Derek Sherinian (keyboards) Billy Sheehan (bass) and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar) — performing their new single in a dimly lit studio setting.  The song’s musical arrangement will appeal greatly to fans of Dream Theater’s late 90s sound, which featured Sherinian and Portnoy as members of the band at the time.  The song’s lyrical content comes across as being a commentary of sorts.

Pre-orders are open now for MMXX.  Audiences who pre-order the album now through iTunes and Amazon will receive an instant grat download of ‘Goodbye, Divinity.’

Audiences who pre-save the album online will have the chance to win digital subscriptions to Modern Drummer magazine and Bass Player magazine.  They will also have the chance to win a signed Remo drumhead from the band, as well as two tickets to one of the band’s upcoming shows.

Speaking of the band’s shows, the band will launch a tour in support of MMXX on Jan. 23 in Sacramento, CA.  The tour is scheduled to run through Feb. 8 in Englewood, NJ.

After taking time off to rest and recharge, the band will launch the second leg of its tour Feb. 28 in Germany.  The exact city is still too be announced.  The European leg of the tour is scheduled to run through March 25 in Budapest, Hungary.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

North America 2020
Thu 1/23            Sacramento, CA            Crest Theater
Fri 1/24             Pomona, CA                 The Glass House (https://bit.ly/2H8kNxY)
Sat 1/25            Los Angeles, CA           The Roxy (https://bit.ly/2H8aLNb)
Sun 1/26           San Francisco, CA        The Fillmore (https://bit.ly/31FYAPj)
Tue 1/28            Salt Lake City, UT          The State Room (https://bit.ly/31D8P7e)
Wed 1/29          Denver, CO                   The Oriental Theater (https://bit.ly/2Z5QC4s)
Fri 1/31             St. Charles, IL               Arcada Theater (https://bit.ly/30igOGu)
Sat 2/1              Battle Creek, MI             The Music Factory (https://bit.ly/31IwXVQ)
Sun 2/2             Toronto, ONT.               Mod Club (https://bit.ly/2Z8OuJ8)
Mon 2/3            Montreal QUE.              Corona Theater (https://bit.ly/2KF9eyU)
Wed 2/5            Boston, MA                  Paradise Rock Club (https://bit.ly/2N2rMMx)
Thu 2/6             New York, NY               Gramercy Theater (https://livemu.sc/2KHNN1r)
Fri 2/7               Jim Thorpe, PA             Penn’s Peak (https://bit.ly/2TLMy4w)
Sat 2/8              Englewood, NJ             Bergen PAC (https://bit.ly/31MKyM7)
Europe 2020
Sat 2/29            Germany                                   TBA
Mon 3/2            Drammen, Norway                     Union Scene
Tue 3/3             Gothenburg, Sweden                 Traedgarn
Thu 3/5             Kyiv, Ukraine                             N.A.U Theatre
Sat 3/7              Moscow, Russia                        RED
Sun 3/8             St Petersburg, Russia                Aurora
Tue 3/10            Pratteln, Switzerland                  Z7
Wed 3/11          Milan, Italy                                Live Club
Fri 3/13             Bilbao, Spain                            Santana 27
Sat 3/14            Barcelona, Spain                       Razzmatazz 2
Sun 3/15           Madrid, Spain                           La Riviera
Tue 3/17            France                                      TBA
Wed 3/18          France                                      TBA
Thu 3/19            London, U.K.                            Islington Assembly Hall
Fri 3/20             Eindhoven, Netherlands             Prognosis Festival
Sun 3/22           Show Brno, Czech Republic       Sono
Tue 3/24            Kosice, Slovakia                       Colosseum
Wed 3/25          Budapest, Hungary                    Barba Negra

More information on Sons of Apollo’s upcoming live dates, new single, video, album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.sonsofapollo.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SonsOfApollo1

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Leprous Debuts More New Music From ‘Pitfalls’; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous debuted another new song from its new album Pitfalls this week.

The band debuted the album’s closing track ‘The Sky is Red‘ Thursday.  The song is the fourth single that the album has spawned.  Also released from the album, which was released Friday, are the songs ‘Below,’ ‘Alleviate‘ and ‘Distant Bells

Pitfall is Leprous’ sixth full-length studio recording.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

LEPROUS – “Pitfalls” (55:09)
Track-listing:
1. Below (05:53)
2. I Lose Hope (04:44)
3. Observe The Train (05:08)
4. By My Throne (05:45)
5. Alleviate (03:42)
6. At The Bottom (07:21)
7. Distant Bells (07:23)
8. Foreigner (03:52)
9. The Sky Is Red (11:22)

Pitfall is available as a mediabook with two bonus tracks — ‘Golden Prayers’ and ‘Angel’ (Massive Attack cover).  The album is also available on standard CD platform and Gatefold 2LP, Vinyl/CD (exclusively in Europe).  The vinyl pressing details are noted below.

Clear 2LP: 200x copies (IOM Webshop Europe) – Sold out!
White 2LP: 400x copies (IOM Webshop & CM Distro Europe)
Transparent Red 2LP: 200x copies (O-Merch Bandshop)
Dark Green 2LP: 200x (Band on tour)
Smoke 2LP: 200x copies (Laser’s Edge)
Golden 2LP: 200x copies (CM US Onlineshop)

 

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous will launch a tour in support of Pitfalls Nov. 1 in Luxembourg, France.  The tour’s first leg is scheduled to run through Dec. 7 in Helsinki, Finland.

LEPROUS + The Ocean & Port Noir:
01 November Esch (Luxembourg) – Rockhal
02 November Zwolle (The Netherlands) – Hedon
03 November Leiden (The Netherlands) – Gebr. De Nobel
04 November Berlin (Germany) – Kesselhaus
05 November Köln (Germany) – Kantine
06 November Frankfurt (Germany) – Batschkapp
07 November Antwerp (Belgium) – Zappa
08 November London (UK) – ULU
09 November Manchester (UK) – Academy 2
11 November Zurich (Switzerland) – Plaza
12 November Paris (France) – Cabaret Sauvage
13 November Lyon (France) – CCO
14 November Biarritz (France) – Atabal
15 November Madrid (Spain) – Shoko
16 November Barcelona (Spain) – Apolo
18 November Parma (Italy) – Campus Music Industry
19 November Munich (Germany) – Freiheiz
20 November Vienna (Austria) – Szene
21 November Prague (Czech Republic) – Palac Akropolis
22 November Dresden (Germany) – Beatpol
23 November Wroclaw (Poland) – Pralnia
24 November Hamburg (Germany) – Uebel & Gefahrlich
25 November Copenhagen (Denmark) – Lille Vega
26 November Gothenburg (Sweden) – Pustervik
27 November Stockholm (Sweden) – Fryshuset Klubben

LEPROUS:
28 November Oslo (Norway) – Vulkan Arena
29 November Stavanger (Norway) – Folken
30 November Hamar (Norway) – Festiviteten

LEPROUS with Amorphis, Soilwork & The Ocean:
05 December Turku (Finland) – Logomo
06 December Rauha (Finland) – Saimaa Areena
07 December Helsinki (Finland) – Ice Hall

 

 

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

After taking time off from that leg, the band is scheduled to return to the road Feb. 9 in Strasbourg, France.  The tour’s second leg is scheduled to run through Feb. 22 in Gdansk, Poland.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

 

More information on Leprous’ new single, album and tour is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.leprous.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leprousband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/leprousband

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sons Of Apollo Offers Audiences A Strong Live Debut In ‘Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’

Courtesy: InsideOut Music/Century Media

The wait is finally over for Sons of Apollo’s new live recording.  The band officially released its new recording, Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony Friday.  The 24-song, two-and-a-half-hour concert was recorded at the famed Plovdiv Roman Theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  If that sounds familiar to some audiences, it should.  That is because that is the same venue where the Devin Townsend Project recorded its most recent live recording, Ocean Machine Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv.  That’s another concert, though.  This concert in question is a presentation that is certain to appeal to every Sons of Apollo fan.  That is due in part to the concert’s extensive set list, which will be addressed shortly.  The band’s performance of said set list is important to note in its own right and will be discussed a little later.  The concert’s production values round out its most important elements.  Each item noted is key in its own right to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Live With The Plvdiv Psychotic Symphony a good first live outing for this prog-rock super group.

Sons of Apollo’s debut live recording Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony is a good first live offering from the prog-rock super group.  It succeeds all the way around, beginning with its extensive set list.  The 24-song, two-and-a-half-hour set list features the band’s debut album Psychotic Symphony in whole as well as covers of some of the band members’ own favorite songs from other acts and even some work from the band members’ own catalogs.  While Psychotic Symphony is presented in whole here, it is not in the same sequence as on the record, which is not necessarily bad.  It is instead scattered throughout the record with the other noted songs, including three classic Dream Theater songs ‘Just Let Me Breath,’  ‘Lines in The Sand’ and ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’  All three songs were lifted from Dream Theater’s 1997 album Falling Into Infinity, which was really the record that set Derek Sherinian’s identity as the band’s keyboardist at the time.  The covers featured in the set list are quite varied in their own right.  Rainbow gets a nod with ‘Gates of Babylon.’  The band also takes on Ozzy Osbourne with ‘Diary of a Madman.’  The band members even cover works from Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the one and only Henry Mancini (yes, Henry Mancini) in this set list.  That’s quite a range of music.  From hard rock to prog rock to jazz and even the mainstream rock of Van Halen (the band also covers Van Halen’s ‘And The Cradle Will Rock,’ in this set), the band shows a wide range of influences and talent with the covers and the originals.  All things considered, the band’s set list ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment from the beginning to the end of the show.  That is heightened even more through the sequencing of the set list.  A close watch/listen shows a lot of thought went into the sequencing, as the show’s energy rises and falls at all of the right moments, ensuring even more, audiences’ engagement.

The engagement and entertainment ensured through this recording’s set list is but one part of what makes it so appealing for audiences.  The band’s performance of that set list ensures, even more that maintained engagement and entertainment.  Those who actively watch and/or listen to the recording will note that the band wastes little to no time moving from one song to the next over the course of the concert.  Case in point is the transition from ‘Alive to Henry Mancini’s timeless ‘Pink Panther Theme,’ and from that song into ‘Opus Maximus.’  The transition is seamless from one song to the next.  The band members hit all the right notes and cues to make each transition work.  It is just one of the prime examples of how the band makes the most of its time.  Earlier on in the set, the band transitions just as seamlessly from ‘Signs of the Time’ into ‘Divine Addiction.’  That fluidity makes for so much enjoyment for audiences.  Even in the rare moments in which the band does take a moment to interact with the audience, little time is wasted, such as when drummer Mike Portnoy introduces his longtime friend and band mate Billy Sheehan for Sheehan’s solo.  That solo, by the way, would make fans of Cliff Burton and Lemmy Kilmister proud.  Getting back on topic, Portnoy’s introduction is short and to the point, giving Sheehan more time to perform.  Even when front man Jeff Scott Soto gets his moment in the spotlight for his solo performances, he is gracious and humble in addressing the audience, and brief in the process.  Simply put, from the concert’s opening to its finale, the band’s presence and performance of the show’s set list displays the band as a fine tuned machine and as a group of true professional musicians that wants to give audiences the absolute biggest bang for its buck.  When that is considered alongside the set list itself, the whole of those two elements gives audiences more than enough to appreciate in this case.  Even with all of this in mind, the set list and the band’s performance thereof is still only a portion of what makes the concert so enjoyable for audiences.  The recording’s production values put the finishing touch to its presentation.

The production values in this recording are so important in that they add so much more to the general effect of the concert.  The camera angles, the transitions from camera to camera (including the speed of the transitions) help to expertly capture and translate the energy of the show for audiences who were not lucky enough to be in attendance at what was the band’s first-ever concert at the Roman Theatre.  At the same time, they also give home audiences the absolute best seat in the house, taking viewers right up close wit hthe band on stage and from high above at some points.  The sound editing and mixing is just as worthy of praise, as it keeps all of the music and vocals just as expertly balanced throughout.  Case in point is the balance of Soto’s vocal delivery against the instrumental elements in ‘Kashmir.’  Portnoy and company are clearly audible, but never once overpower the orchestral backing provided for the performance.  At the same time Soto’s vocals are never overpowered by his band mates and guest orchestral musicians as he takes on Robert Plant’s part from the original song.  When the expert production and mixing is considered alongside the band’s performance and the set list, the whole of the concert becomes an experience that definitely presents a very wide appeal.  Overall, the noted elements make this recording in whole one more of this year’s top new live Blu-ray/DVD recordings.

Sons of Apollo’s debut live recording Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony is a powerful first live offering from the prog-rock super group.  It is an offering whose appeal reaches easily beyond just fans of the band, but the bands with whom each of its musicians have performed and more.  That is proven in part through the recording’s extensive set list.  The set list not only presents the band’s debut album Psychotic Symphony in whole, but also lots of covers and originals that will appeal to lots of audiences.  The band’s performance of that set list does just as much to make the recording enjoyable.  The recording’s production and mixing put the last touch to its presentation, ensuring even more its positive impact.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony not just a strong live debut for Sons of Apollo, but also one more of this year’s top new live Blu-ray/DVD recordings.  More information on the recording is available online now along with all of Sons of Apollo’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://SonsofApollo.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SonsofApollo1

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SonsofApollo1

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Empath’ Is Another Solid Display Of Townsend’s Musical Genius

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend is a mad musical scientist in the best possible way. Next to Nine Inch Nails founder and front man Trent Reznor, Townsend is one of the most innovative and creative minds in the musical industry today, and his new album Empath proves that once again without a doubt. It is a record whose depth crosses musical and lyrical bounds from beginning to end. Each song is completely unlike the others, at some points sounding like something that belongs on a grand movie soundtrack, such as in ‘Requiem’ and at others like something that belongs in a stage musical, such as with ‘Why.’  At yet another point, it presents a sound that it just uniquely Devin Townsend, as with ‘Castaway/Genesis’.  These three songs are just a few examples of the genius that is on display once again from Devin Townsend on his latest album.  When they are considrered alongside the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole becomes a work that is without doubt, one of this year’s top new hard rock albums and best albums overall.

Devin Townsend’s latest solo recording Empath is one of this year’s most powerful – both musically and lyrically – albums.  It is a work that clearly displays Townsend’s musical genius from beginning to end, with works that are as diverse from one another as they are from anything that Townsend has ever crafted.  One of the most notable of this record’s works is the soaring instrumental work ‘Requiem.’  By definition, a requiem is a musical work performed for the dead.  In many cases, such works are vey somber and melancholy.  Yet here, the arrangement comes across as something filled more with wonder and awe.  The combined choral element and orchestral instrumentation makes the song sound more like it belongs on a science fiction movie, such as E.T. or Star Trek than maybe the full on drama that is Amadeus.  At the same time, knowing the overarching vibe of Empath both musically and lyrically, one can assume that maybe, what Townsend was trying to present here was a song that was more celebratory of a person’s life than something more morose.  All of the songs featured in this record present a theme of an empath, someone who experiences the emotions of others.  Listening to the choral element, there is a certain positive feeling.  That coupled with the more playful, orchestral element leaves one considering that maybe, just maybe this is what Townsend was trying to present – a remembrance, but not in negative fashion, but in positive fashion; people celebrating someone instead of mourning that individual.  This is of course all speculative and could be completely off the mark.  It is just this critic’s own take on the arrangement.  That aside, what Townsend has crafted in this two-minute, 47-second song is a work that once again puts on display a level of talent in terms of composing, that is above and beyond so many of today’s mainstream composers.  Listening to this work, it honestly makes one wonder what a partnership between Townsend and famed composer John Williams would produce. Moving on, ‘Requiem’ is just one of the songs that shows what makes Empath another powerful addition to Devin Townsend’s catalog.  ‘Why’ is another example of what makes this record so impressive.

‘Why’ stands out in part because of its arrangement.  The song’s arrangement this time, comes across as a composition that sounds and feels as if it belongs on a major Broadway stage score.  That sense is established right from the song’s outset, which features a strongly accented string arrangement alongside Townsend’s wonderfully controlled operatic style singing.  The addition of the castanets and cymbals adds even more to that sense. One can almost see the various camera angles, fog machines and lighting that would go along with this moment.  That is how much this song feels like it belongs as part of a major Broadway musical.  The song’s lyrical content adds even more to that sense.

Townsend sings in the song’s lead verse, “Darling, are you feeling alright?/And all our friends are/All our friends are watching us/I wanna go home/But why run away/Why?, Why? Why?”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Darling, are you seeing inside?/The wolves are alive/And all our faith is/All our faith is wrong.”  The second subject responds, screaming, “LET ME GO HOME!” before the lead asks again, “But why run away/Why? Why? Why?”  This call and response, with the seemingly existential discussion, makes for quite the interesting presentation.  That is, again, especially interesting considering how it adds to that feel of a scene from a stage play.  Taking such a musical and lyrical approach is original and creative to say the very least.  That creativity makes the song stand out quite strongly.  In turn, it serves to show even more why this album stands out as one of this year’s top new albums.  It is not the last of the songs that serves that purpose, either.  The combination that is ‘Castaway’/ ‘Genesis’ does just as much to make the album stand out as the other songs noted here and the rest of the record’s works.

‘Castaway’/ ‘Genesis’ stands out collectively in part because of its arrangement.  This song’s overall arrangement shows great time and thought was put into its completion.  The arrangement’s heavier moments are expertly balanced with its lighter moments, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment throughout the song.  There are heavy, death metal style moments contrasted by much lighter, more ethereal moments.  Those moments are, at times, contrasted by more progressive moments and even some far deeper moments.  The whole becomes an arrangement that shows Townsend’s ability to break the bounds and expectations set by critics and listeners alike, and succeed very well in the process.  It makes the arrangement in itself its own success and just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content creates its own interest.

Townsend reminds listeners at one point in the song, “All the world is in this together/Feel no fear/We’re fearless together…because you’re so in love with this island of the mind/know that this island is home/You’ve got to get on your feet again (Genesis)/Get on your feet again.”  He adds later, “When we’re apart, we fall/Together, we feed the world.”  This works directly with the song’s chorus in which Townsend sings, “Let us being to live again.”  Simply put he is telling listeners that we as a people need to start over and come together.  It would make sense, as he sings, “From the top to the bottom/Genesis.”  That is saying, start over completely and live together.  Such statement, together with the song’s musical arrangement makes the song in whole another powerful work in its own right and one more example of what makes Empath another equally powerful success in whole from Devin Townsend.

Devin Townsend’s latest full-length studio recording Empath is one of the most important rock records to be released so far this year.  That is because it shows that whether with his Devin Townsend Project cohorts or on his own (as in this record), he is one of the greatest minds in the music industry today.  His creativity and originality is on full display from beginning to end.  The songs noted here are just a sampling of that creativity and originality.  The remainder of the record’s body does just as much to exhibit that talent.  All things considered, Empath proves to be one of this year’s best new hard rock & metal albums and just as easily, one of the year’s best new albums overall.  Empath is available now.  More information on Empath is available online along with all of Devin Townsend’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.devintownsend.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dvntownsend

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.