The guitar phenomenon of SYMPHONY X is here with his long awaited first real solo album! MICHAEL ROMEO has been working on this album for one and a half year and it sure tells considering the amount of adventurous twists and majestic ingredients we get here.
The title “War of the worlds” is of course a little flirt with author H. G. WELLS. The songs and arrangements are full of dramatic and adventurous parts.
This album also sees the reuniting of Romeo and his former school buddy JOHN DESERVIO (bass; BLACK LABEL SOCIETY). Other involved musicians are JOHN MACALUSO (drums; MALMSTEEN, ARK, JAMES LABRIE) and vocalist RICK CASTELLANO. I’ve seen some not so nice comments on the internet about Castellano’s voice, from SYMPHONY X fans. It’s been about Romeo bringing in a much worse voice and similar things. However, I’d say those points of view are just mean. Castellano is a great singer, with an impressive range and power! Maybe with a very much different voice than the SYMPHONY X listeners are used to, but hey! Sometimes people need change, and using RUSSELL ALLEN (SYMPHONY X) would have meant that it could have sounded more like another SYMPHONY X album…
I see this album as built up by two quite opposite halves. On one hand there are quite traditional progressive metal tunes, and on the other we find songs with a lot of orchestration. And of course songs with a little of both… One of my fave tunes is “Differences”. And the majestic “Djinn” gives us something like a heavier ROYAL HUNT ride.
The guitar playing from mister Romeo is of course impeccable. Even in the fastest melodies you can hear each tone, which is something you can’t say about all fast players out there. His production is also really good. The only thing bringing down the grading a bit is the orchestration. Sometimes it takes too much space and it feels more like you’re in a Star Wars movie than listening to a solo album by Michael Romeo. Still, we are very close to a 4 in grading. Way above average and from my point of view this is something for any collection of progressive hardrock/metal.