Somehow, prog metal supergroup Sons of Apollo survived to make a second album, “MMXX.” I’ll admit I was worried that I would not like “Psychotic Symphony,” but overall it was a really good album with enough hooks and prog craziness to be interesting. The lineup is the same for “MMXX” with Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian still calling the shots. They lean heavily on Ron Thal for riffs but this time out, the riffs are all basically the same.
What made the debut album interesting was that the songs were different from each other. Yes there were essentially three buckets that the songs fell into, straight metal, prog metal epics and classic rock. These songs are all basically metal songs with the occasional detour into Dream Theater-ish prog. The hooks are really weakened by what seems like Portnoy and Sherinian wanting to prove they can be really heavy. It sounds really forced.
The songs really plod at times too. The lead track “Goodbye Divinity” is a good example of that. It actually gets worse on knuckleheaded songs like “Asphyxiation” and “Desolate July” which are interchangeable in their complete silliness. The only two songs that have any sort of life are “King of Delusion,” which is half really good and half really dumb, and the epic closer “New World Today.”
The problem is that it’s a battle to stay interested long enough to get to the last track. I literally fell asleep listening to “MMXX” the first time I put it on. I woke up somewhere in the middle and had to start over. And I almost did it again. I kept waiting for the songs to do something other than have basic riffs and be predictable. It didn’t happen.
Jeff Scott Soto wrote the lyrics and they are pretty goofy. It actually makes me wonder if Portnoy shouldn’t do it (and that’s saying something). I guess “MMXX” is the album that I expected the first album to be. I think many people will still like the album but those are the Portnoy sycophants. Sherinian should revive Planet X immediately and Portnoy might wanna cling tighter to Neal Morse. “MMXX” is a band on borrowed time.
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)
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 17 January, 2020