WAR OF THE WORLDS, PT. 1
Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group
Release: July 27, 2018
Internationally acclaimed guitar hero Michael Romeo has released his eagerly anticipated first official solo album, War of the Worlds / Pt. 1, on July 27th thru Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group. The wildly ambitious 10-song disc sees the founder, chief songwriter and prime mover of the progressive titans Symphony X furthering his reputation as one of the world’s preeminent axe slingers and composers of adventurous, multi-faceted orchestral metal.
“It’s me putting all the things I love about music in a blender,” says Romeo. “Somebody might listen to it and say, ‘What is this guy thinking?’ But it’s all about being creative and having a good time with it.”
Romeo pays homage to film score giants Bernard Hermann and John Williams, and there’s even some surprising EDM/dubstep elements guaranteed to turn heads – all of which makes for an enthralling and immersive journey.
Fear The Unknown
Romeo recorded the bulk of War of the Worlds / Pt. 1 over a year-and-a-half period in the comfort of his home studio (nicknamed “the Dungeon” by his wife) in Hazlet, New Jersey. The project gave him the perfect opportunity to work with the rising Long Island star Castellano, a singer he’s had his eye on for some time, as well as fellow Jerseyans Macaluso and Black Label Society member DeServio. “JD and I went to high school together,” Romeo notes. “We always wanted to do something together, so this was the perfect opportunity. The planets finally aligned, and we were able to work together. It was great to have him play on it.”
Symphony X fans have been waiting two decades for an honest to goodness Michael Romeo solo album (not counting his 1994 demo recording, The Dark Chapter, which was released in several countries), and the arrival of War of the Worlds / Pt. 1 will be no doubt be cause for celebration. And the guitarist promises a sequel – “Most of Part II is already finished,” he says, “It just needs a few vocals, a couple solos, a few tweaks here and there. I want people to absorb the first one for a while, and then we’ll put out the second record. They’ll complement each other, but they’ll also be a bit different.”
‘’War Of The Worlds, Pt 1’’ is based on the book of H.G. Wells, just like ‘’War Of The Worlds’’ by Jeff Wayne. Wayne’s version will always be close to my heart, and it wouldn’t be fair to compare Romeo’s adaption with that one. Both records are very much prog, yet Wayne’s is not metal, and Romeo’s is. They tell the story in a different way, each with their own elements and perspective.
What I love about this album is that it has a clear concept, a story and the tracklisting is chronological. The album consists of a lot of instrumental pieces, probably to showcase Romeo’s own set of skills. The instrumental pieces make it a lot more cinematic and epic (especially on ‘’War Machine’’), unfortunately I can’t say that about the vocals. The lyrics would have been more powerful if it was spoken word. There is sometimes so much going on at one time, you can’t understand the story. Don’t get me wrong, the vocals itself technically are very good, but they don’t fit the cinematic aspect of the album.
Romeo’s adaption of War Of The Worlds is a tough cookie, and definitely not something for the rookie progressive listereners. But, once you get a bite of the cookie, you don’t want anything else for the rest of the day. (Great metaphor isn’t it?). Not only (progressive) metal fans will love this album, I think it will speak to the hard rock listeners as well. Still, in my opinion, what makes this album epic is the cinematic elements combined with the heavy guitars. Romeo has not only produced an attention grabbing, epic journey, he brought an old science fiction story back to life.