Michael Lepond's Silent Assassins - Michael Lepond's Silent Assassins
Self-released
Heavy Metal
9 songs (58:00)
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Joel
Surprise of the month
Michael Lepond is the bassist from the American band, Symphony X. Silent Assassins is his solo cd, that has a very NWOBHM and a classic Heavy Metal feel to it. The music is definitely a departure from what he has done with Symphony X. Speaking of NWOBHM, check out the first song Apocalypse Rider, with its straight ahead, go for the throat power-chord playing metal. Vocalist, Alan Tecchio has a rougher sounding singing voice though can highlight his melodic chops when needed. The eastern feel of Red Death is accented with the bass solo and tribal drumming of its intro. After the first minute and a half or so of the song, it picks up. With more raspier vocals in the verses, while more melodic in the choruses. It has a very classic almost, Iron Maiden-esque gallop to it. The Quest opens with a harpsichord followed by an acoustic guitar and string accompaniment before it leads to some really great bass playing by Lepond. Though the first minute and a half felt like a different song, it easily segues into what follows. Like the previous song, when the song kicks in, the verses have that Maiden-esque feel to it. I LOVE the chorus to this song, with its big majestic feel to it, and some great vocals from Tecchio. Since I am reviewing a disc about one of the most underrated bassist in progressive metal, I should highlight the intro of The Outsider, with its bass "shred" of an intro. Bassists who play like this are nothing new, but those who can with such technical ability, are few. The Outsider has a great groove to it, and is also one of six songs featuring Lepond's bandmate, Michael Romeo on lead guitar(who also doubles on this disc, providing keyboards and engineering duties as well). The classic sounding power ballad, Masada is a very moving song. The song is named after the ancient landmark in Israel where the Israeli's attempted to fight off the Roman army during the first Jewish-Roman War. Now that the history lesson is over, and whether the history interests you or not, I miss songs like this that tell a story.

The title track is next, and is the fastest and most frantic. I really enjoy the triplet stop and go guitar riff that breaks up the faster parts. While not something I never heard, it does a nice job of breaking up the pace. From ancient Israel before, to the mighty Ragnarok, Michael Lepond not only gives us a history lesson but a mythological one as well. The song mentions Loki and the rainbow bridge, with a mid-paced gallop throughout. The Progeny takes it time to build up, and it builds up into a dark slower to mid paced march(with a faster section mid song). It almost has an Iced Earth kind of feel to it. I think its Tecchio's delivery that brings that band to mind. Lepond shows off his melodic bass chops on the eleven minute plus epic, Oath of Honor. I really like Tecchio's melodic vocals on this song. This is definitely a culmination of all the songs that came before it, and highlighting some great songwriting and performances. Michael Lepond is definitely one of my favorite bassists out there, and this disc proves that is he is also a great songwriter. Will this disc break new ground in the land of metal? Probably not, but it is definitely a welcomed addition. Not following any exact blueprint, and writing the songs Lepond wanted to write(with some great story telling as well), I can easily say, that Silent Assassins is a success.
Check out their Facebook for more information. Silent Assassin's is available in Europe via the label, UDR music label.

Killing Songs :
The Quest, Masada, Ragnarok, Oath of Honor
Joel quoted 88 / 100
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