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Mike LePond's Silent Assassins
Silent Assassins
October 2014
Released: 2014, Indie
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

This album caught me by surprise. Mike LePond, the well-known Symphony X bassist who has played with and for dozens of bands has issued his debut solo album, and it is barnburner! Mike tackled this project via a fan fundraising campaign, then assembled an elite team of Metal veterans and has issued, in my mind an album that is a contender for a spot in my Top 20 albums of year.

SILENT ASSASSINS is a concept album about the Trojan War and features a dark and menacing cover. Le Pond wanted to get back to his metal roots and he certainly did! Every cut is straight up classic/traditional/Power metal. Joining him is Alan Tecchio, who we haven’t heard from for a while and I personally feels he puts in one the better performances of his career. His mighty screams at the end of the chorus on the opening cut ‘Apocalyptic Riders’ will send shivers down your spine! His range and power are superb. The one twin guitar attack is none other than Michael Romeo and Metal Mike Chlasciak, that’s some serious true metal firepower! They bring riffs, riffs and more riffs and lots of awesome solos. LePond knows how to write a good song as well, this is not just a virtuoso display of a traditional musicians solo album, it is more like a cohesive whole. The songs have great choruses often bolstered by gang vocals, one highlight being ‘Ragnarok’, with a chorus that is catchy as hell… or Ragnarock! The drums are programmed but sound 100% fine, with lots of double-kick scattered through the songs. The production on the whole album is full and warm.

The songs vary in intensity and tempo across the board. The title track ‘Silent Assassins’ is just raging, as is a track called ‘The Quest’. Some songs are more mid-paced and there is even a lush ballad called ‘Masada’ complete with acoustic guitars. The album concludes with an 11 minute plus epic which starts with some nice bass playing by Mike. The song, ‘Oath Of Honour’ has a nice Manowar vibe that is not surprising as Mike credits Joey DeMaio as one of his influences and inspirations.

Even though it is his solo album, it is not like a full-on bass album, like a Billy Sheehan solo album or something. He has the chops, as demonstrated on the intro to ‘The Outsiders’, but he shows restraint allowing the songs to come to the fore. It is hard to create something this authentic, this pure and make it sound so natural. SILENT ASSASSINS is a phenomenal expression of the power of real Metal. It is a superbly entertaining album by these veterans, an album you should not miss.
Track Listing

1. Apocalypse Rider
2. Red Death
3. The Quest
4. The Outsider
5. Masada
6. Silent Assassins
7. Ragnarok
8. The Progeny
9. Oath of Honor


Alan Techhio Vocals
Mike Chlasciak Guitar
Mike Romeo Guitar
Mike LePond Bass



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