Mike LePond's silent assassins - 9/10
Just as we started to settle from the release of 'Underworld', the news of Symphony X's very own bass man - Mike LePond having released a solo record 'Mike LePond's Silent Assassins' hits e-mail inboxes across the UK. What more could we want or need?
Though this record follows quite closely behind the latest SX release (for my ears, at least) and features both LePond and Michael Romeo, don't be expecting a replica or failed clone, because you're not going to get it. What you will get is an album comprised of tried and tested technical musicianship, and a vast experiment of styles and sound that's been built from foundation to completion by Mike and supported by a collective of astonishingly talented "Silent Assassins" that are; Micheal Romeo (Symphony X), Alan Tecchio (Hades / Watchtower / Seven Witches), and "Metal" Mike Chlasciak (Halford / Testament / Sebastian Bach). High hopes for this release? You won't be disappointed by what these Jersey boys have created.
Labelled as "Epic Metal / Viking Metal" this record really packs a punch. Whether you're in search of heavy riffs or technically challenging arrangements, Silent Assassins pretty much has it all, whist capturing the true essence of classic metal familiarities including Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Manowar, which LePond says he has been influenced by since his earliest musical experiences.
Though not considered to be a concept album, inspiration is drawn from Medieval tales and mythology and is portrayed blissfully in both lyrical and instrumental content. Epic results of this inspiration dominate this release and are prominent from opening track ’Apocalypse Rider'. This strength in sound is continued throughout with 'Red Death', 'The Quest', ‘Silent Assassin' and 'Regnarok' being bold amongst other offerings, flaunting the creative writing abilities of Mike LePond as well as being expressive outpourings of musical ability and quite possibly some of Tecchio's finest vocal offerings. This happens all whilst staying distant from ego and arrogance. This holds form right to the very last breath of final track, ‘Oath Of Honour’.
An ode to classic metal passion and prowess, ‘Silent Assassins’ is a sublime release and a quality example of undiluted current music, constructed by undeniably talented individuals.
This record has potential to be a standout release of 2015 and mark a new era of LePond's musical journey, and rightfully so.
Review by: Christiane Robinson