August 27, 2019 Sons of Apollo – Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony (Live Album Review)
One of the more intriguing supergroups to emerge in recent memory, Progressive Rock/Metal family, Sons of Apollo will release their first ever live album entitled Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony on Friday, August 30, 2019 via InsideOutMusic/Sony.
It was nearly two years ago, on October 2o, 2017 when Sons of Apollo came from out of nowhere with their debut album, Psychotic Symphony. A shining endeavor, Psychotic Symphony received highly appreciative reviews garnering Sons of Apollo a nomination for Best International Band at the Progressive Music Awards 2018.
For those unfamiliar with Sons of Apollo, their make up consists of stellar musicians who have individually built reputable careers in the world of Rock. One of the most respected drummers in the game, Mike Portnoy is the percussive backbone in Sons of Apollo and renowned for his work with former band Dream Theater and his recent success in The Winery Dogs.
Speaking of The Winery Dogs, Billy Sheehan is the genius on bass in The Winery Dogs and 1980’s rockers Mr. Big. On lead guitar, Ron Thal aka “Bumblefoot” is best known for his stint in the second incarnation of Guns N’ Roses and gives Sons of Apollo a hell of a musical mind on the axe. Another former member of Dream Theater, Derek Sherinian works his magic on the keyboard while Vocalist Jeff Scott Soto brings years of harmony built with his former bands Journey and Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force in addition to his current projects SOTO, W.E.T., and Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
To draw attraction, many bands will choose from the world’s most notable venues/cities for their live album – Madison Square Garden, Budokan, Wembley Stadium. Mostly unknown to those outside Bulgaria, Sons of Apollo chose a gorgeous theater for recording and filming Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony – the Ancient Roman Theater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. A bit of history, the Ancient Plovdiv Roman Theater dates back to the 1st Century AD and was discovered in the 1970’s during an archaeological excavation following a landslide. After discovering a piece of history, the theater was restored and became regarded as a major attraction in Plovdiv, hosting theatrical plays and concerts.
Taking in this experience, Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony sees Sons of Apollo performing a twenty-four song production in over two and a half hours. Offering a variety of music from original songs to covering classics, Sons of Apollo open with the first song off their Psychotic Symphony debut, “God of the Sun.” Emerging, Soto commands vocally in the opening number as Sheehan’s bass is like thunder on “Signs of the Time” and the Deep Purple like hooks attack with “Divine Addiction.” Taking on Plovdiv, Soto does a lovely job engaging the crowd especially on tunes like “Just Let Me Breathe” and having the crowd sing the chorus to “Coming Home.”
Discussing the fine array of cover tunes performed, Sons of Apollo bring the Hammer of the Gods, paying tribute to Rock icons on cuts like Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” Rainbow’s “Gates of Babylon,” and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” In addition, the individual talents in Sons of Apollo are showcased when Sheehan, Bumblefoot, and Sherinian all received deserving adulation for their solo spots. Not to be forgotten, Soto put an exquisite touch on Queen’s “The Prophet’s Song” and “Save Me” for his solo which is a viable highlight of this live recording.
Overall, Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony offers fans a litany of music to enjoy with ballads that come off especially well while the cover songs, which are performed as is with no particular changes, should give fans a bit of nostalgia. Purely live, this is one of those raw live albums with minimal touch up, as it should be. Giving more, Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony will be available as a limited deluxe 3 CD/DVD/Blu-Ray art book, special edition 3CD/DVD digipak, standalone Blu-ray and digital album. All of this to play with, for Sons of Apollo followers, Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony will be a nice little snack while we wait for the next Sons of Apollo album tentatively scheduled for early 2020. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony 3 out of 5 stars.