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DeadRisen - DeadRisen Award winner

by Kai Naiman at 01 April 2020, 5:38 AM

Supergroups have always been a matter of controversy and were deemed as 'hit or miss' projects: Mike Portnoy’s latest collaboration projects in the last decade, SHATTERED FORTRESSSONS OF APOLLO and THE WINERY DOGS are projects which received overall mixed reception from critics and fans alike. From the same early-day Progressive Metal background, SYMPHONY X’s acclaimed guitarist, Mike LePond, has also been busy with segregated coactional bands – his own solo project, which featured names in the likes of Mike ChlasciakMichael Romero and Alan Tecchio, and DEADRISEN – his brand new supergroup featuring Will Shaw of HEIR APPARENTRod RiveraDan Prestup of SPIDER ROCKETS and Tony Stahl. Releasing their latest album nearly half a decade ago, SYMPHONY X gave way for their members to experiment with new directions.

DEADRISEN’s self-titled debut release, which saw daylight earlier this year, is perhaps where SYMPHONY X should’ve continued; comprising a total of 10 ingenious substantially-different tracks, which all base off the eldest Progressive Metal framework, this album proves that the formula is one of the most expandable and redeemable in the musical fields. Ranging from Heavy Metal-inspired powerbases, through classic, 1990’s-ARK-esque Progressive Rock ballads and to Spanish guitar-lead anthems, this album has got it all, and Mike LePond – the man running the cranes behind the project, proves he is still as creative and inspired as he was back in the “The Damnation Game” era.

Although all the tracks on “DeadRisen” are profound and fervent, a number of tracks are essentially nonpareil and instant classics; unlatching with the epical orchestra piece “Risen Death”, in which the listener’s tension builds up and boils onto the bombastic singles “Prophecy” and sophomore “Destiny” – which are undeniably terrific choices as singles, and the band is properly and thoroughly introduced to the listeners. Given no prior track featuring this lot in this particular line-up, these two tracks are key for the following tracks. “The Maker”, with its unpredictable, though extremely pleasant, jazzy interlude that surfs from Spanish guitar grace to melodic tapping mastery in prime courtesy of Rod Rivera, only to transfer to electric guitar shredding explosion. “Reach For The Sun” is where the band is tranquilly lead by Tony Stahl’s Rhodes piano, which brings the listeners back to the 1980-1990 phase of Progressive Rock and Metal, similarly to what KING CRIMSONCAMEL and others were. The oddest from this collection though, is METALLICA’s “For Whom The Bells Toll”, which gets an unexpected rendered feature, nevertheless, it received a worthy treatment, and was deemed to justice by the DEADRISEN squad.

DEADRISEN prove as a synonym to SYMPHONY X’s reflective past. With a brilliant and inspired leader who managed to conduct the rest of the team edgelessly, it is the current epicentre of Mike LePond’s concentration, and should definitely be seen as such. With a widespread of mixed feelings after 2015’s “Underworld”, this fantastic album is definitely the reckoning pill most SYMPHONY X fans needed to reconcile their thirst.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Risen Death
2. Prophecy
3. Destiny
4. The Maker
5. Reach For The Sun
6. Visions
7. Chains Of Time
8. Fear And Fury
9. But You
10. For Whom The Bell Tolls
Will Shaw - Vocals
Rod Rivera - Guitars
Mike LePond - Bass
Dan Prestup - Drums
Tony Stahl - Keyboards
Record Label: AFM Records


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