Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 4/25/2005
Russell Allen's Atomic Soul
posted on 8/2005 By:
With his musical background in the astoundingly technical and heavy assed progressive metal outfit Symphony X, no further details were needed to raise my interest in frontman Russell Allen’s recent side project. Having the set of thick raspy pipes that he has, I hastily presumed the vocalist to be an inherent thrasher, and admittedly a large part of me anticipated Atomic Soul would be a stable showing of galloping grandeur. As it turns out, Allen grew his roots in a surprisingly different brand of soil, and while his debut solo outing isn’t at all what I was expecting, I am in no way disappointed with the material that inhabits the disc.
Just as the title implies, the album is conclusively soulful in every aspect. Heavily influenced by an array of blues-saturated rock stylings, Atomic Soul is the product of a time long past. From the Black Sabbath-esque leanings of “Voodoo Hand”, “Unjustified”, and “Blackout”, to the barrage of Rainbow-isms on “Angel”, “Loosin’ You”, and “Seasons Of Insanity”, classic rock fans are sure to get their fix of a timeless music that seems nearly extinct in this sad age of follow-the-leader mentality. “We Will Fly” and “Gaia” stand out as the highlights of Atomic Soul, with the latter being an epic Egyptian number that epitomizes the perfect balance between Dio and Led Zeppelin.
Though he can take credit for the bulk of the guitar, bass, and keyboard playing on Atomic Soul, even Russell Allen himself admittedly acknowledges that he is no Michael Romeo, so there are a few instances where a handful of technically proficient musicians sit in to perform some of the more complex leads and whatnot. Russell's aforementioned fellow Symphony X bandmate lends his guitar services on a few solos here and there, while Jens Johansson (this guy seems to be everywhere these days) handles the keyboard passages on the album’s title track.
While Atomic Soul caught me a bit off guard at first, in the end it was a very satisfying and fun trip into the past. With this record Russell Allen proves he is talented beyond his voice and I hope that he keeps at it and releases future solo albums. It's hard to say for certain whether or not Atomic Soul will appeal to the general Symphony X fan, but with my seal of approval you have nothing to lose.
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