• 8/10
    SONS OF APOLLO - MMXX - 8/10


Inside Out Music
Release date: January 17, 2020

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Mike Portnoy of Sons Of Apollo describes their sophomore release MMXX (pronounced: 20/20) as having a much more futuristic style than their 2017 debut.  He explains “Stylistically, we have followed the same path as the debut, but we feel that it has come out stronger, simply because we know one another better.”  Derek Sherinian adds “…this (is) a sonically special band… You can hear odd time signatures and amazingly crazy performances here. Overall, we’ve been satisfyingly more adventurous this time than we were before, and I know people are sure to love what we’ve done.”

“Goodbye Divinity” leads with a siren song of atmospherics before releasing a barrage of thunderous riffs.  The thick riffs, tribal beats, expansive vocals and keyboard flourishes land the song in Arena Rock territory.  The song is outstanding and dispels any notions that this “supergroup” is to too heavy on ego and talent to write music appealing to the Metal masses.  The next two songs are also hard hitting and cohesive. “Wither To Black” once again features aggressive drumming and bulldozer riffs plowing a trench behind which the rest of band follows willingly.  “Asphyxiation” incorporates some Mathcore riffing before settling in to a very heavy and up-tempo Modern Metal style.  Rounding out the first half, “Desolate July” is a highlight which weaves a subtle piano melody through a deep throbbing rhythm shrouding the song in a sonic fog.  Impassioned vocal pleadings and equally emotive bursts of guitar punctuate the gloom.

While the first half of the album keeps a tight rein on Progressive Metal influences, the restraints gradually come off with varying degrees of success.  “King Of Delusion” starts with an off-kilter piano melody setting a tone of discord.  The blast of riffs and bombast that follows is so overwhelmingly heavy it leaves the listener dazed.  “Fall To Ascend” and “Resurrection Day” are songs where the supergroup comes out to play.  While a decent chorus and impressive percussion rescue the former, impressive solo performances can’t make up for the lack of melodic hooks on the latter.  For the closer, “New World Day”, the band sheds all restraint.  Says Portnoy, “This one has elements similar to ‘Opus Maximus’ and ‘Labyrinth’ on the previous album. It has some insane, brilliant instrumental moments, which I am sure the fans will love.”  It’s a better listen than the previous three songs which dip a toe in the deep end of the Progressive pool rather than jumping in full cannonball.

Sherinian states “We did 83 shows on the last tour…we came out of it with a stronger bond, and that is certainly reflected in what we wrote.”  MMXX reflects an advancement of cohesiveness in songwriting and performance.  It’s a recommended listen across multiple genres and will surely increase the band’s profile.


TRACKLIST (Highlights: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8)

  1. Goodbye Divinity (7:16)
  2. Wither To Black (4:48)
  3. Asphyxiation (5:09)
  4. Desolate July (6:11)
  5. King Of Delusion (8:49)
  6. Fall To Ascend (5:07)
  7. Resurrection Day (5:51)
  8. New World Today (16:38)


Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater)
Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater)
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses)
Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth)
Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force)


  • Zac Halter

    Zac was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His interest in heavy music began in the 70s with his father’s Johnny Cash albums. After cousins introduced him to Steppenwolf, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, KISS, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Johnny Cash didn’t stand a chance. The 80s were spent in full pursuit of everything Metal: searching for new music at record stores, listening to albums, studying the covers and sleeves, and attending concerts. In the 90s, he preferred Death Metal over Grunge and hosted the Death Metal Juggernaut on WUPX in Marquette, Michigan. It was advertised as the only prime time Death Metal radio show in the country.

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