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Michael Romeo - War Of The Worlds Pt. 2 Award winner

Michael Romeo
War Of The Worlds Pt. 2
by Andrew Harvey at 04 April 2022, 5:59 AM

MICHAEL ROMEO is a name that those who looked up to progressive metal bands like SYMPHONY X would certainly know of. In 2018 we got what was MICHAEL ROMEO’S first album which was titled WAR OF THE WORLD’S PT. 1 and it was described as having ‘a fun and different assortment of tracks and treats’. This very apt description goes on to say that ‘new flavours were explored, JOHN MACALUSO punished the living shit out of his drum kit with great results and RICK CASTELLANO brought a new approach to the vocals to really cement the fact that this is not SYMPHONY X’.

So while die hard fans of SYMPHONY X are waiting in anticipation for a new album, we can now focus on the marvelous work of MICHAEL ROMEO. His first album certainly gave a good first impression, so what can we expect from his second release of 2022 which is titled WAR OF THE WORLDS PT. 2 containing 13 tracks including two bonus tracks altogether and this album is also the second part in a trilogy of albums. To start with is “Introduction Pt. 2” with a bond of orchestral sounds, ecstatic guitar ascending on high and keyboard sounds; to really bring out the progressive elements of the craftsmanship of multi-instrumentalist MICHAEL ROMEO.

The dynamics and contrast of each instrument is brought to life so to speak. Up next is “Divide And Conquer” straight into action with a more power rock/metal feel of guitar, vocals and drumming. Drums continue to pound as vocals are almost like an anthem by itself, when guitar shares the melody or narrative of the track. Vocals continue on with the same musical direction as drums or guitar go beyond the point of mind blowing creativity. “Destroyer” with hints of orchestral swiping through and accented vocal work with leaps on heavy grunts.

Drums stand out once again with guitar showing more rhythm and more of a different twist like experimental soundscape not heard before. Perhaps dipping into neo-classical metal which I have heard before but this time with progressive elements, it digs deep into tone and textures that are sublime. “Metamorphosis” opens with tremolo effect of keys and sliding guitar movements in conjunction, backed by drums. The tone is a bit more mellow on occasion and vocals execute their role in this rather more somber track.

Drums make mid range punches as vocals become more agitated, accompanied by progressive guitar. “Mothership” as percussive rhythm plays softly in a short 2 minute segment with a crescendo joined other parts including keys, orchestral bouts and guitar projecting more this time. “Just Before The Dawn” settles down more overall with a power metal feel once again but a condensed mix of guitar, keys and drums. A similarity with guitar, keys and even bass guitar which we don’t hear as much.

This is a transition slowing down before the next track, “Hybrids” of guitar strumming, rolling drum patterns and deeper vocal notation. Bass guitar becomes more present here as the keyboard has a short solo with guitar shakedown. There is no let down on the guitar intro repeats for everything else joining til the closing notes. “Hunted” is so much like a section of a film score or a symphonic melody perhaps an overture. Full of orchestral bliss but more string and percussive elements becoming more dominant than before.

“Maschinenmensch” which is purely instrumental without vocals at first then they creep in with almighty power rock/metal. The progressive rhythm comes also at the end but in the second half of this 9 minute track. Guitar is the lead here as vocals were before, as we go into the next track. “Parasite” a 4 minute and a half construction of elements we heard previously, speedy drum fills and hardcore guitar that chops through the mix. “Brave New World (Outro)” has that film score sound in the first minute or two like before featuring vocals or perhaps choral chants.

Electric guitar leads this passage of play before the next track begins after acoustic guitar finishes its time in this track. “The Perfect Weapon (Bonus Track)” which is a bonus track, with pelting stones of guitar, vocals and drums being thrown around. There is also a low end rumble with vocals giving reinforced accompaniment, orchestral strikes and bountiful guitar is so inspiring yet well executed. “Alien DeathRay” which serves as a second bonus track to close the album. There are mostly elements of what we have heard before, but still just as good and gives the album a big positive note to end on.

Is it clear that MICHAEL ROMEO brings a lot of his experience from SYMPHONY X and with a previous solo album THE DARK CHAPTER in 1994, I do look forward to the next final chapter of this trilogy. Even the influences of MICHAEL ROMEO which include the likes of; LED ZEPPELIN, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, BACH, BEETHOVEN and STRAVINSKY. It should also be noted that the trilogy of albums is actually named after H.G WELLS story that shares the same of course the music of this album reflects the story so well with orchestral and progressive sides. Keep an eye out for more music from this talented musician and it was fantastic to listen to such a genius at work, the album is just pure perfection.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Introduction Pt. 2
2. Divide And 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)
Dino Jelusick - Vocals
Michael Romeo - Guitar, Keys, Orchestra, Cello and Saxophone
John “JD” Debervio - Bass Guitar
John Macaluso - Drums
Record Label: InsideOut Music


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