|Review: Mike LePond's Silent Assassins - Mike LePond's Silent Assassins|
|Mike LePond's Silent Assassins|
Label: Moonlight Productions
Year released: 2014
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: July 9, 2016
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
for:Mike LePond's Silent Assassins
Rated 4/5 (80%) (11 Votes)
Mike LePond, bassist for Symphony X and many others such as Distant Thunder, Affector and Heathen's Rage, created his supergroup in 2014 hoping to gather some more followers for his already accomplished career. Every time I hear about a side-project from a member of a famous band, I can't help but to think one of two things: either the guy in charge of the project wants to gain a few more bucks for himself and just copies the content of his main band, or he really wants to be known as a guy who can make all kinds of different music and just needs to externalize his creativity. Headed by LePond, the band features well-known characters in the metal community such as legendary axeman Metal Mike Chlasciak, Watchtower's Alan Tecchio and LePond's long-time buddy and multi-instrumentalist Michael Romeo, who plays guitar and did the drum programming on the album. So, with two Symphony X members in the lineup, it's safe to say that Mike LePond's Silent Assassins take the first path, following a more progressive route, right?
I'm glad to say that this couldn't be further from the truth. What we have here is a straight to the face Heavy/Power Metal album, with minimal progressive elements and filled with heavy riffs and punchy songs. Clearly LePond's bass takes over a main role in many of the songs, but not to the point of annoying the listener. In fact, it does exactly the opposite: the bass merges itself with the melodies, giving a smooth and groovy result to the tunes. The songwriting is above average, with a good mix of stories like Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death poem in "Red Death", a cool take on the Masada Desert Fortress in Israel on "Masada" and other well-written tunes like "The Quest" and "Oath of Honor". Music-wise, although mainly bass-driven, it's hard to miss a duo like Metal Mike and Romeo, but Tecchio's vocals often steal the show, with surly lines and surgical-putted screams like on "Apocalypse Rider" and "Silent Assassins". Really, there is everything a metal fan could ask for in an album: there are heavy songs, fast songs, melodic passages, high-quality musicianship, great atmosphere and, above all else, passion (a rarity these days with all the shitty stuff coming out).
LePond's debut album makes a compelling case that he's not messing around or just trying to copy his main band. Instead, it really is a great album that will please those who love the old days of straightforward Heavy Metal without broken tempos and excessive keyboards, and I even make a case that this is better than Symphony X on occasion. With a new album in the works, it becomes clear that LePond will not see this output as a mere side-project, but as serious as his agenda lets it be. A lost gem from 2014, as this flew under the radar for a lot of people, the album deserves high praise. I have this album in my collection since it came out in late 2014 and every time I hear it the experience gets more enjoyable. Highly recommended.
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