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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Michael Romeo – War of the Worlds Pt. 2 (2022)

Little prog metal and sci fi storytelling? Don’t mind if I do! Dive in the JAR and see how Michael Romeo’s new album fared!

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Whenever there isn’t an album that really captures my interest I start digging around in the previous releases for the year. This led me to Michael Romeo’s solo project. Romeo is better known as being the guitarist and ,one of only 2 static original members, of Jersey power/prog metal band Symphony X. Given the title of the album and how many guitarists don’t drastically change their style just for solo projects, I think staying in the vein of power/prog is probably to be expected.

This is a mostly blind shot, but I don’t dislike Symphony X and even saw them during the Gigantour Tour in 2005. So – that at least sets a personal expectation. I even grabbed the bonus edition to give the chance for more joy, or hatred, depending on how the cookie crumbles.

Michael Romeo lineup is: Michael Romeo (Guitars), Dino Jelusick (Vocals), John DeServio (Bass) & John Macaluso (Drums)

  • Artist: Michael Romeo
  • Album: War of the World Pt. 2 (2022)
  • Label: Inside Out Music
  • Total Track Time: 66:24

Introduction, Pt.2 starts off with the sinister movie score feeling, and given the War of the Worlds inspiration, it definitely works. It sounds haunting, epic, foreboding and does a decent job setting the atmosphere. The fact it’s an all instrumental introduction really doesn’t lend a lot to write about, but it definitely feels right. Divide & Conquer punches you pretty hard in the face with that Prog Metal, fast arpeggios and great percussive structure to add more power behind each line. The bridge moves into the chorus nicely and the really punctuates each passage as part of a fight where each stanza takes its own color and shape in the story:” Ooh, unearthly silence dressed in black, Ooh, the damage is done, now there’s no turning back// Denying, defying – the dread’s intensifying, It’s all for one and one for all
Defiling, die trying – a storm electrifying, Divided we stand, united we fall” , also it’s not crazy clever, but works with the subject material on the flip of the usual united/divided saying. Destroyer keeps a little lower and crunchy tone as it opens, not nearly the epic battle music the last one was. They do a echoed gang vocal for the chorus, and its very reminiscent of Helloween, which sounds pretty cool and doesn’t take away from the darker tone of the song. “There is no Devil, there is no God, Imposters marching in their faithless promenade”, good use of promenade. Weird lyrical choices like that always amuse me especially when rhyming with the previous bridge of facade. Not sure if that’s considered Alternate Rhyme scheme or Terza Rima, I just appreciated it.

Metamorphosis is heavy in the progressive vein, guitar tone, keyboard tone, all of it screams ‘spaceship’. Which honestly, fits well given the inspiration, so it’s not as much of an eye roll as usual from me. Perspective is very cool, where it seems to focus on the perception of visitors, be it the aliens or other Earth forces, and the betrayal that is felt.  “Rising-up from the fire, A darkness comes over me, Look into the blackest mirror, Time’s the one enemy” – is an interesting choice because it applies metaphorically about time being undefeated, but also in the situation, time is of the essence. The final verse before the little run into double chorus finish changes to a much more angry and aggressive tone. “Change the rules, dancing fools, Howling at the moon, Isolate, take the bait, Accept impending doom, Vile, corrupt, self-destruct
Nothing you can do, Wicked birth of Hell on Earth, Becoming something new” the concept of adapt or die essentially, and it helps to really punctuate the song and where we’re at in the album. Mothership is an instrumental that plays the introduction pieces into something more, to symbolize the mothership approaching/landing. It ties the musical threads together to make it feel like a seamless score, and still breathes its own life into a Star Wars vibe at times.

Just Before the Dawn okay, I’ll be honest when it started I immediately got ‘anime opening’ vibes. Once the vocals kick in, the story continues and the lighter instrumentation is to imply grasping at the hope to succeed with everything against them. If this wasn’t a concept album, it could be argued that it’s a detachment from the tone so far, but as a story score, it makes sense. Still not going to be able to unhear ‘anime opening’ but it’s not bad. Hybrids hits like a Kamelot song almost from the first note. Rising rock oriented tempo and even the vocal performance starts more growled before getting clearing and then hitting a clear belt to hammer home the verse. Being the fact that Kamelot is one of those bands that rank higher on my preference list, the fact that this gives me those vibes, yeah, I’m not gonna be mad at this song. Hunted is our third instrumental song, which again, given the premise, I’m fine with this. The album being devised like a movie score to tell his vision of the War of the Worlds story, it’s really cool. Also makes my life easier, since I type less and just listen. Maschinenmensch is an interesting addition, since the concept isn’t War of the Worlds and instead from Metropolis, about a scientist who created a female android to be the new body for his dead wife. So it’s definitely an interesting pull, and I suppose android people would fight against aliens better than humans (Dragon Ball Z explains that to us as well), so it just wasn’t a direction I expected; but it is a cool song. Getting a little distracted in attaching threads, almost lost the plot there. It’s a hell of a song as well, 9 minute epic going through what she is and getting across the time aspect of things coming down to the wire.

Parasite has a nice gallop to the drums and guitar, the symphonic aspect is dark like a Tim Burton Batman film and we look to be aiming for the final fight. One can assume this song is getting across the point of finding out the oxygen is what killed the aliens in the book/movie. “One hate – pulverize, exterminate – titan carnivore, Dark heart – the earthen flesh ripped apart – devil’s at the door, Death storm – a lethal iron locust swarm blotting out the sun, Obscene – an unrelenting fear machine – got nowhere to run// A perfect illusion – so it seems, You always answer when I call// Parasite – I’m your Parasite” – so it would make sense this is the decisive battle that told humanity how to beat them, so the only thing left is a final counterstrike. Brave New World has elements of the battle music epic, but then simmers down into a light acoustic guitar, since the day is effectively won, its just a matter of spreading the word and ridding the planet of the threat. It’s another instrumental, but it has that victorious essence within it, that makes the normal conclusion of the album feel like an epic movie.

The Perfect Weapon is the first of the bonus tracks, and it has that quicker tempo like Parasite or even a Megadeth song. Lyrics are very cool, and I appreciate the word choices; “Light’s out, counterstrike – dead of night, Treacherous, the enemy lines align, Armed with a razor-tongued loaded gun, And decimate the righteous grand design” implying that words are weaponized is interesting since that either means word of mouth will kill the aliens or just what gives humanity the ability to breathe/speak. Alien Death Ray the final instrumental, just is a fun tempo change, polyrhythmic, tune that I’m not really sure what its about. It could be literally discussing a death ray or the metaphorical atmosphere. But generally its a cool song and I’m not going to weigh bonus tracks as heavily against the narrative since, they’re bonus for a reason.

So it’s safe to assume the sound was what I expected being the fact that I came in only really recognizing Romeo’s name and the Symphony X background. Jelusick has a great voice though, he has moments where he reminds me of Ronnie James Dio, Roy Khan and Michael Kiske. While the album isn’t as ear wormy as a few others I’ve covered, the musicianship is amazing. Great arrangements, fantastic tone and color throughout the whole story. I would gladly pay to watch this imagining of War of the Worlds, with or without Tom Cruise. 

Fantastic work, this is going to be the highest rating I’ve given all year (yet doesn’t edge out my number 1, I just haven’t done an article for that yet).

Final Judgment: 9.1/10


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Hockey Talk- The Great Outdoors [022024]

Hockey Talk discusses the Stadium Series plus looks at the stats and standings as the Trade Deadline draws ever closer.

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Bandwagon Nerds #223: Of Paramount Importance

The original BWN quartet re-convenes to review some massive trailers and to discuss some world-changing news involving the MCU!

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The original four members of the Bandwagon make a rare convergence to discuss some huge trailers including Deadpool & Wolverine, X-Men ’97, Invincible (Part 2 of Season 2), Twisters, Godzilla x Kong and much more. They guys also discuss the possible merger between Paramount + and Peacock, official casting news for The Fantastic 4, and some massive news for the MCU in general,

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Featuring shows such as POD is WAR (sports, entertainment & sports entertainment) Bandwagon Nerds (entertainment & popular culture), The DWI Podcast (Drunk Wrestling Intellect), The Greg DeMarco Show (wrestling), The #Miranda Show (wrestling and entertainment), Hockey Talk (sports), Patrick O’Dowd’s 5×5 (pop culture), The Outsider’s Edge (wrestling), Down The Wire (Sports), Talk The Keki (Anime), The Mindless Wrestling Podcast, Attitude Of Aggression/The Big Four (wrestling), and more!


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