“Atomic Soul” by Russell Allen

Artist: Russell Allen
Title: “Atomic Soul”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 4/26/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8.5/10

Symphony X front man Russell Allen has one of the best voices in Progressive Metal music today and he proves it night after night on tour with the band. Allen has a rich bluesy feel to his style and with his debut solo effort “Atomic Soul” he shows that the Legends of yesterday have helped him along. Fans of Symphony X already know what to expect from Russell in the Progressive genre, however when they hear this CD they will be impressed to find how different a direction he has taken. Deciding to release a record that was not Progressive but more traditional Hard Rock can be considered quite the gamble these days, for in come cases you risk alienating those that only choose to follow one genre that they are familiar with. This CD is less Dream Theater/Fates Warning like and more along the lines of Rainbow, Led Zeppelin and Dio. All of these amazing groups show up as influences to Russell’s work with songs like “Voodoo Hand” and “Seasons Of Insanity”. In “Voodoo Hand” one can imagine that this was written for the late Ray Gillen with the whole overall groove ringing like something off their debut. On “Seasons Of Insanity” there are hints of Dio-era Rainbow and the whole CD is full of these nuances that just deliver. These songs are among my favorites on the release and it’s great to find such a richly packed record with so many varied parts pulled from one’s influence catalog on it. It marks Russell Allen as a singer above most of his peers for only being able to pull this off at all but to do it well enough to make this a very difficult record to stop playing. As someone who also grew up on 70’s Hard Rock I found the release outstanding. There are a number of tracks that I found to be above par on the piece and besides the ones I referenced earlier I think the title track “Atomic Soul” kicks ass and “Blackout” reminds you what a Rock track should sound like. More Artists who perform in the genre would do well to pick up this CD.

Allen also composed and arranged the entire album with himself being in charge of a lot of the guitar and bass duties in the recording process. Joining him on the recording was Jens Johannson (keyboards), Michael Romeo (guitar), Robert Nelson (drums) and Michael Pinella (keyboards). This CD comes with the highest of recommendations and not only to the fans of Russell’s work in Symphony X but also for those that find this blues-based Hard Rock deep within their hearts still. In speaking with Russell he was unsure whether he would ever be able to tour with this material but if he did it would go over like gangbusters. Check it out, you will not be disappointed.

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

Official Website: www.SymphonyX.com
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