Review MICHAEL ROMEO ‘War of the Worlds, Pt. 2’

Michael Romeo, guitarist from New Jersey, is known as the founder of the progressive metal band Symphony X and releases some solo albums as well. With ‘The Dark Chapter’, the axe wizard released a first solo effort in 1994 and while having a focus on Symphony X, it took a few years until the sophomore record hit the shelves.

24 years after the solo debut, Romeo released with ‘War of the Worlds, Pt. 1’ his second album and the appendix ‘pt. 1’ already indicated that there is more to come.

End of March Romeo will release ‘War of the Worlds, Pt. 2’, an album with eleven new songs, penned by the neo-classic inspired axeman. The heartbeat of the album is provided by John Macaluso (d) and John DeServio (b) and it is singer Dino Jelusić contributing with excellent vocals. The trio supported Romeo in making his musical vision become reality and the result is worth a listen.

As not expected different, the album contains progressive metal with a strong power component. In this context I would like to mention ‘Destroyer’ for two reasons. On the one hand there are the thundering riffs, creating a wall of sound that is massive. On the other hand, the song shows the versatility of the album. Romeo isn’t shy away from trying to include a wider range of instruments for his songs. In this case it is oud and saz that add an oriental flavor to the song. Hereby it isn’t solely the opportunities given by computers. Instead, Romeo grabs the real instruments and experiments with their sound.

The centerpiece, that clocks in at nine minutes, is called ‘Maschinenmensch’. The dark song, enriched by neo-classic guitar power is a cornerstone of the album and represents the width of Romeo’s musical vision. Long solo parts are thrilling since they are a part of the song instead of being something that needs to be ticked-off for a good metal song. The composition is a remarkable moment on this longplayer. A cinematic expression, full-force and great soundscapes make the song to a highlight on the album, surround by almost equally good metal anthems. The song gains even in depth by the orchestral elements that are part of this special moment on the album.

‘War of the Worlds, Pt. 2’ is a next musical treat offered by Romeo. The guitar-passionist from New Jersey finds the sweet spot of filigree guitar solos and metal songs that attract also metalheads who aren’t musicians themselves. There is this constant balance between enlarged solo sections that are a part of the entirety of the song. Metalheads that appreciate a powerful riff the same way as a well-executed solo and great vocal lines should check out ‘War of the Worlds, Pt. 2’. It is worth it.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Introduction – Part II
  2. Divide & Conquer
  3. Destroyer
  4. Metamorphosis
  5. Mothership
  6. Just Before the Dawn
  7. Hybrids
  8. Hunted
  9. Maschinenmensch
  10. Parasite
  11. Brave New World (Outro)
  12. The Perfect Weapon (Bonus Track)
  13. Alien DeathRay (Bonus Track)

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Prog Metal

Release Date EU: March 25th, 2022

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