A little over a week after announcing their existence, prog metal supergroup Sons Of Apollo have released the first full song off their upcoming (Oct 20, 2017) album Psychotic Symphony. The track, entitled “Signs Of The Times”, makes a definite aggressive statement for the band consisting of Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian (drums and keyboards respectively, both ex-Dream Theater), Jeff Scott Soto (vocals), Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (guitar), and Billy Sheehan (bass).
One thing is for sure: This is not The Winery Dogs 2.0. Having Portnoy and Sheehan would be the only thing that group has in common with Sons Of Apollo. If anything, this is the sort of music that Dream Theater’s more hypocritical fans wished that band would have made more often since 1994’s Awake album, since it has the same dark vibe and rhythmic style.
The lower-tuned guitars evoke the image of Korn, provided that Korn were ever actually good. From this song alone, we can give Sons Of Apollo the ‘It Almost Djents’ award (something we said about Nickelback earlier this year – actually Rodney said “Feed The Machine” really does djent, but I digress).
We note the bass playing on “Signs Of The Times” is unusually restrained for Billy Sheehan. Could he be shrinking away from his signature ‘lead bass’ style for the sake of the band’s overall musical vision? Maybe, but not likely; that level of conscientious humility would be out of character for him, and his fans would not appreciate it (and many people will listen to Sons Of Apollo on the basis of him being in the band alone).
This raises an obvious question. Is “Signs Of The Times” representative of what we can expect to hear from Sons Of Apollo when Psychotic Symphony drops in October? We have no way of knowing for sure, but what they teased about the rest of the album suggests “Signs Of The Times” is among the album’s heavier songs, without being a complete departure from its overall sound. We can expect a variety of sounds on it, but listeners hoping for an entire album that sounds like pre-Jordan Rudess-era Dream Theater will most likely experience disappointment. Still, “Signs Of The Times” gives us something to look forward to as October approaches.