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Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins - 'Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/17/86/47/mike-leponds-silent-assassins-mike-leponds-silent-assassins-26-1423508605.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 09, 2015    
 
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If you like your Metal pure and unsullied, this should certainly help to clear a few cobwebs.

With the new Symphony X album still some months away as I write, long-term fans of the band might want to check out the debut solo release from bassist Mike LePond.

However tread warily as 'Silent Assassins' is as likely as not to be something of a culture shock. Written and scored in its entirety by LePond himself, this debut "solo" sojourn is very far removed from the opulent Progressive Metal majesty we've come to expect, nay demand of SyX – not that that's in any way meant as a bad thing you understand.

Endowed with some rather striking cover artwork and featuring contributions from "Metal" Mike Chlasciak (Testament, Halford), Watchtower vocalist Alan Tecchio and SyX main man Michael Romeo, '...Assassins' is LePond's "tribute" to some of the major influences that have shaped his musical chops over the years, i.e. Kiss motor-mouth Gene Simmons, Geddy Lee and the inimitable Geezer Butler. And, whilst the big fat bass sound is very much front and centre throughout this release, he's made every effort to make this look and feel as much like a "real" band album as anything else.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Traditional, old-school Heavy Metal is very much the name of the game here in the main, a belligerent mix of riffs and angst fuelled attitude pitched somewhere between Watchtower, Kiss, Accept, Armored Saint, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath ... there's even a touch of pre '2112' Rush if you look hard enough! That said, the hooks and melody lines are fairly insistent for the most part – the sprawling, semi acoustic led 'Masada' (nice lyrics!) is excellent – and even in its more frantic moments ('Silent Assassins' itself for example), there's enough technical content to make it stand out from the crowd.

Both Romeo and Chlasciak give a good account of themselves (as you'd expect) with a seemingly effortless procession of chunky riffs and rapid fire solo bursts, whilst Tecchio's snarling vocal delivery (wailing banshee one minute, demented hellhound the next) suits the attitude and stance of the material perfectly.

It's dark and aggressive, even a little Thrashy at times – but have to confess I love the turbulent rollercoaster that is 'The Progeny' (Accept meets Trouble anyone?) – but if you like your Metal pure and unsullied, yet still served with a side order of class and panache, this should certainly help to clear a few cobwebs!

Dave Cockett

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