After playing over 80 shows together to support the debut album, Derek Sherinian, Mike Portnoy and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal joined up at Mike’s studio and started working on the new album. The three gelled and wrote the album in around 3 weeks. Of course, after that, the songs need lyrics and that is were lead singer Jeff Scott Soto comes in as he wrote all the lyrics for the album (with minor exceptions of help from Mr. Sherinian on some of the melodies). And the songs were ready to record. Writing and recording happened over 8 months and each member of the band, including bassist Billy Sheehan, able to work in their own studios for their parts.
The album was called MMXX which is 2020 in Roman Numerals and the time when it was released which was on January 17, 2020. The album’s sound changed a little from the last album which had a lot of sounds from the past as it had some Dream Theater elements as well as some classic rock. This time around, they went for a more modern sound and a much more polished feel which is why the cover with the band’s crest seems more polished. The prior songs were more mythical and now they are more futuristic. Is the change in a sound a good thing or is it a bad thing? I guess we need to go through the tracks and find out.
The opening song and first single (came out on November 15, 2019), “Goodbye Divinity”, brings the prog right out of the gate as it goes on for about 2 minutes before Soto gets his pipes in the mix. After that happens it becomes a solid rock song with ample time for each musician to show what they can do. With not just hints of Dream Theater’s sound, but obvious stamps that show their roots are front and center. Honestly, it is a good song, but not as strong as the opener “God of the Sun” from the debut in my opinion. The working title on this one was called “Blood Orchid” which was inspired by a riff by Derek that he did during one of his live solos (thanks wiki for that one).Continue reading “Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020) – Album Review (the Jeff Scott Soto Series)”