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Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins: Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins

Mike Lepond is of course the much sort after bass playing extraordinaire with one of the finest metal bands ever, namely Symphony X. They have a new album due out next year, but before we get to hear that highly anticipated recording be sure to check out this Mike Lepond's debut solo album. I have to say Judas Priest's Reedemer Of Souls is a fantastic metal album, and if you got plenty of mileage from that one then I highly recommend Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins. For those that are wondering why I am referring to the mighty Priest well what we have here is a deliciously potent metal album, not of the progressive metal kind if that's what you may be anticipating. This is a power/heavy metal release with past and present influences as Mike is a fan of 70's metal bands, the new wave of British heavy metal, power and thrash metal.

Mike's stellar bass work is very prominent in the mix just as it should be and he also plays rhythm guitar, Symphony X's Michael Romeo had some welcome input on the lead guitar and keyboards, while guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak who has performed with both Halford and Testament has the remainder covered most capably. Alan Tecchio is the lead vocalist having previously sung with Seven Witches, Watchtower and Hades, both the lead and backup vocals are so good and speaking of backing vocals this is where we find another Symphony X member keyboard wizard Michael Pinella. That just leaves the drums which are programmed, and I have to say Michael Romeo has done a fine job on these of which I'm usually not a fan, but they really do the trick here and have sure come a long way sound wise.

"Apocalypse Rider" is a cracking metal tune and a great choice as opener, from its vibrant beginnings "Red Death" offers up some quality mid paced metal. "The Quest" is fantastic, it's so cool how this song builds up, and Mike's nimble bass work leads into some truly explosive metal before settling into a great classic style metal number with a very cool twist. It's metallic groove time for "The Outsider" another fun tune, and that's what attracts me so much to this album as it's such a delight to listen to. "Masada" is the slowest track, tranquil at times yet powerful at others. The rampaging "Silent Assassins" and hard driving "Ragnarok" are both wickedly catchy, the sounds of stormy weather give way to the slow pounding metal of "The Progeny" the tempo shifts on this track work so well. It's epic metal time as Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins is brought to a close with "Oath Of Honor" clocking in at eleven plus minutes this endearing song has it all covered.

Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins is one of 2014's premier metal albums that will certainly find it's place in my top ten. If you call yourself a fan of true metal fan then you need to hear this album, as Mike Lepond has delivered big time.

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

Added: April 18th 2015
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins: Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-04-18 09:35:38
My Score:

Well this is a nice little surprise. Actually, the first solo release from Symphony X bassist Mike Lepond is a brash, bold, metallic surprise, the Progressive bent of his main band merely hinted at here. Instead this is a Power Metal album with nods to NWOBHM and huge surges of out and out, old school Trash. In fact, while never being a retro release, Silent Assassins is more than a little "old school", what with its unashamed smashes of guitar and tirading drums (programmed, and programmed very well, but I find it hard to believe Mike couldn't find a drummer out there capable of handling the power and precision this album requires, but anyway...) punching and powering from the off. Vocalist Alan Tecchio (Seven Witches/Hades/Watchtower) is immense throughout, his mix of rich roars and controlled squeals reminding at times of Eric Adams and enforcing an, in places, Manowar feel (no bad thing in my book). The bass is, as expected, reasonably high in the mix and Lepond also allows himself little moments, such as that which segues between an Oriental theme and full on Metal assaults on "The Outsider", where his superb skills come to the fore, without ever sliding into ego stroking. The likes of "Masada" mixes things up, a mid paced acoustic strum the order of the day, Tecchio allowed to illustrate the rich and full tones his voice possesses. Elsewhere guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak takes "Ragnarok", "Red Death" and "The Progeny" by the short and curlies and drags all manner of aggression, drama and passion from them. Not satisfied with providing dazzling bass, Lepond also puts in a fine display on rhythm guitar and with his fellow Symph X'ers Michael Romeo adding lead guitar and keyboards and Michael Pinella, usually known for his keyboard talents, stepping up with fantastic backing vocals, there really is a top notch line-up in place.

For all its full on nature, this album also has a subtle side, atmospheric song intros, acoustic, or Middle Eastern inspired passages punctuating a considered, well executed attack, with everything from the slow building "Oath Of Honor" to the all out assault of "Apocalypse Rider" hitting the bull's eye. Silent Assassins is maybe not the album most people were expecting from Mike Lepond, but that is one of its many strengths and with the benefit of hindsight, I've no reservations in crowning it as one of the best Metal albums 2014 provided.

» Reader Comments:

Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins: Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins
Posted by on 2014-12-15 20:59:14
My Score:

by far the most intriquite precise bass playing i have ever heard......this is so good.

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