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Russell Allen
Atomic Soul
May 2005
Released: 2005, Insideout Music
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

When I popped on this disc I didn’t expect to hear what I did. Having had this disc lying around for a few days I need to get to work on it and grabbed it one day as I headed out the door. What came forth from the car stereo wasn’t what I expected from the lead singer of one of the most popular prog metal bands in the world. This CD epitomizes the reason why artists record solo albums; so that they can create music which does not fit into the context of their main acts. While Symphony X delves into the progressive spectrum of metal, Allen traces his roots to some of the earliest metal acts like Sabbath, Zeppelin and Rainbow along with some later bands such as Badlands, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. With Atomic Soul Allen takes a central role in everything from the composition and arrangement of the songs to the performance of many of the bass, guitar and keyboard parts.



“Blackout” kicks of the disc with a straight ahead blues influenced, southern tinged hard rock track. This was the initial song that threw this writer for a loop. Allen’s voice drips with emotion and soul as he locks into a groove that he is loath to relinquish. “The Distance” slows things down just a bit but that only allows Allen to have a bigger canvas to highlight his amazing voice. Though I have always thought of him as a great singer, Symphony X asks for the vocalist to deliver a certain style of performance. Here, Allen can spread his proverbial vocal wings. The one song that interested me the most is the one song that has the least in common with the other tunes on the CD. “We Will Fly” opens with a very 80s techno pop keyboard sound which gives way to piano and a sound that can only be described as mid 70s prog rock ala bands such as Kansas and Yes. The song is a departure from the bluesy roots metal that is found on the rest of the CD but it is one of the most enjoyable tracks that Allen has created.



Russell Allen, on top of performing, composing and arranging the music on this disc, has put together some great guest appearances from some amazing musicians. He is joined by his Symphony X bandmate Michael Romeo along with Stratovarius keyboard player Jens Johansson and drummer Robert Nelson. With ATOMIC SOUL Allen has attempted to pay homage to his roots, the bands that influenced him in his formative years. The results of his journey are a bit hit and miss. But that can be said about most solo releases. Away from the confines of their main bands artists like Russell Allen are free to indulge themselves. Symphony X fans will find interest in seeing a different side of Allen while others will be treated to a solid blues metal disc.
Track Listing

n/aBlackout (4:52)
Unjustified (3:43)
Voodoo Hand (3:54)
Angel (5:14)
The Distance (4:49)
Seasons of Insanity (4:20)
Gaia (4:33)
Loosin' You (4:01)
Saucey Jack (4:02)
We Will Fly (7:55)
Atomic Soul (3:08)

Lineup

n/aRussell Allen - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Robert Nelson - Drums
Michael Romeo - Guitar
Michael Pinella - Keyboards
Jens Johansson - Keyboards
Jason Freudberg - Guitar
Larry Salvatore - Bass

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Russell Allen - Atomic Soul
Previous review: » Russ Dwarf - Wireless

Russell Allen
Atomic Soul
June 2005
Released: 2005, InsideOut Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

As vocalist for prog-metal heavyweights Symphony X, Russell Allen stands as one of the most respected vocalists in metal. The man’s powerful roar is perfectly suited to the formidable bombast of that band. No doubt, that is how most people view Mr. Allen – a prog-metal vocalist, and nothing else. This fact is no doubt part of the reason why he has chosen to spread his solo wings with ATOMIC SOUL – to show, both his other musical passions, as well as his full ability.

For sure, ATOMIC SOUL is going to shock the fans who are only accustomed to Russell’s prog-metal work. From the first blasting chords of “Blackout” (not a Scorpions cover), it is apparent that this disc will have nothing whatsoever to do with his day job. A slashing bluesy rocker, “Blackout” perfectly sets the stage for what is to come. Namely, the album is chock full of anthemic, powerful blues-tinged hard rock/metal songs, reaching mostly to the 70s for inspiration. You will hear bits & pieces of a number of bands, ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd, to Led Zeppelin, to Bad Company, all the way up to (and especially) the mighty Badlands (allow me to take a moment here to give a big “FUCK YOU!” to the cocksucker who stole my copy of their debut – choke and die you fuckwad). Needless to say, this is about as far away from Symphony X as you can get without rapping.

Some highlights include the hard edged mystery of “Voodoo Hand”, the angry speed of “Seasons of Insanity” (Allen really shines on this one), and the victorious “We Will Fly”. As per usual for a solo album, there are a couple of clunkers, but the good far outweighs the bad on this album. Throw in some typically excellent performances from Allen’s Symphony X band mate Michael Romeo and the other guest musicians, and you get nothing less than an excellent 50 minutes of music. So even if you’re not a fan of Allen’s fulltime band, ATOMIC SOUL might just be worth checking out.
Track Listing

1. Blackout
2. Unjustified
3. Voodoo Hand
4. Angel
5. The Distance
6. Seasons of Insanity
7. Gaia
8. Loosin’ You
9. Saucey Jack
10. We Will Fly
11. Atomic Soul

Lineup

Russell Allen - Vocals, Guitar, Bass & Keyboards
Robert Nelson - Drums
Michael Romeo - Guitar
Michael Pinella - Keyboards
Jens Johansson - Keyboards
Jason Freudberg - Guitar
Larry Salvatore - Bass

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Russell Allen - Atomic Soul
Previous review: » Russ Dwarf - Wireless

Russell Allen
Atomic Soul
October 2005
Released: 2005, Inside Out
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

This is the first solo album from the Symphony X singer Russell Allen. He finds his musical inspiration in Rainbow, DIO, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath but also from Badlands, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. He has tried to combine all these influenced into one album and I can tell you that he has managed to do a brilliant album. The whole idea with this album was to make a pure rock album that shows off his roots and where he comes from but also to make music he haven’t heard for a while.



I’ve only heard a few songs with Russell’s main band but I can tell you that if you expect this to sound as Symphony X you’re deadly wrong because this is heavy 70’s hardrock and nothing else. The music is based on really heavy guitar riffs along with numerous of tempo changing in all of the songs.



Russell has recorded this album in the Dungeon Studio where Symphony X have recorded most of their albums. Russell is responsible for the production and he has created a perfect production that really fits the music perfect. He’s put the main focus on the heavy guitars and his excellent lead vocals, and if he decides to stop singing he can easily earn his way of living as a producer.



Russell is a multitalented artist, besides signing and producing he also plays guitar, bass and keyboards as well as written and arranged all of the 11 tracks on the album.



He’s a terrific song writer and all of the songs are each and everyone little masterpieces on 3 to 8 minutes. I’ve listened to this album for a while and it’s only getting better, it’s absolutely an album that’s going to last for a really long time.



There’s nothing remotely negative regarding this album, it feels like Russell have worked really hard with this album and it sure have paid off because this is altogether, eventhough I’m not so into 70’s retro hardrock, an outstanding album.
Track Listing

Tracklist
Blackout
Unjustified
Voodoo Hand
Angel
The Distance
Seasons Of Insanity
Gaia
Loosin’ You
Saucey Jack
We Will Fly
Atomic Soul

Lineup

Russell Allen – lead vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards
Robert Nelson – drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Rwake - Voices of Omens
Previous review: » Russ Dwarf - Wireless





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