MIKE LEPOND'S SILENT ASSASSINS - Pawn And Prophecy
April 16, 2018, a month ago
Second solo album from Symphony X bassist Mike Lepond, who wrote all the music and lyrics, played rhythm guitar, and of course bass. Pawn And Prophecy sees him joined again by Alan Tecchio (Hades/Non Fiction) on vocals, with fellow bandmates Michael Romeo (drum programming, keyboards, lead guitar on track eight) and Michael Pinella doing backing vocals, piano and organ on a song, plus guitarist Rod Rivera, and Veronica Freeman (Benedictum), and a few others. Being a local Jersey guy, I have spoken with Mike on more than one occasion, so I know what he likes. With that, these eight songs are of no surprise and constructed because of his influences, primarily classic heavy metal. Priest, Sabbath, Maiden, the faster moments of speed metal, to the layered orchestrated sounds from European giants like Blind Guardian and Stratovarius.
Big layered vocal harmonies begin “Masters Of The Hall”, bold bass and drums before driving riffs and Tecchio’s lead the rampaging charge. Now while a good way to open an album, I am digging “Black Legend” even more with that catchy riff, straight forward rhythm and rolling bass. Feels so much like a tune you’d play riding on your motorcycle down the highway. Excellent in its simplicity, and that solo (by Lance Barnewold) is purposeful and shreds. With some more urgency, “Antichrist” is also to the point and catchy in the theme before the verse. Joey DeMaio will be proud, seeking royalties after hearing how Mike channeled his love for Manowar on “I Am The Bull”. “Hordes Of Fire” a punchy foot tapping rocker and another one of my favs with “Black Legend”. “The Mulberry Tree” takes an interesting turn into acoustic guitars and a Hispanic influence no doubt having Rod Rivera on guitar. Title track is epic at twenty one minutes including four different lead female singers.