Home Albums Album Review : MIKE LePOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS / WHORE OF BABYLON

Album Review : MIKE LePOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS / WHORE OF BABYLON

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2020 heralds the return of Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins for which is their eagerly awaited third album, and what a corker it is. To do this album justice when reviewing such a varied piece of work it needs to be dissected and appreciated with no stone left unturned, a simple paragraph or two just wouldn’t give this fantastic release the credit it deserves.

Lead by SYMPHONY X super talented bass player Mike LePond, he makes no qualms about growing up with his love of SAXON. PRIEST, and the mighty MANOWAR and that is reflected in the riffs on this album.  With lyrics reflecting the man’s appreciation of history the listener is taken back to school where we get tales of Egypt, Babylon, and an insight into some of the most brutal and fascinating characters that have ever walked the earth.

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Sticking with the nucleus of the band from the previous releases we have…
ALAN TECCHIO / Vocals
LANCE BARNEWORLD / Guitars
ROD RIVERA / Guitars
MIKE LEPOND / Bass, Acoustic Guitar,
MICHAEL ROMEO / Drum Programming, Keyboards, Mandolin, Orchestration
MICHAEL PINNELLA / Piano, Backing Vocals
SARAH TEETS / Lead Vocals, ( trk 5 ) Flute,

Kicking the album off is the insane “DRACUL SON” with a riff and a face melting scream that will terrify the unexpected listener this is a balls to the wall full on metal meltdown, with those lovely sounding double kick drums and a bass line that Steve Harris would be proud off.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsN_rC6Xxck&w=560&h=315]

With hints of orchestration towards the end of the track this opening statement has it all. If the idea was to get the listeners attention from the start, then it works perfectly.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh-LfXDED7Q&w=560&h=315]

IDES OF MARCH” has a classy bass intro that acts as the dominant instrument, and tells the story of Barbarians, Romans, Alexandria. Cleopatra, it is a treasure trove of a song with the added bonus of LANCE BARNEWORLD peeling off a guitar solo that rolls along very much like the effect SLASH generates in either GnR or The Conspirator’s.

Don’t you just love it when a group has such confidence in their material they do a complete 360 turn and “NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES” is a master stroke, with its Mandolin Jig that reminds the listener of Minstrels and Jesters and Medieval England,  a song that Mr Blackmore would easily give his seal of approval to.

This track also demonstrates a lovely fast acoustic guitar solo before the chorus comes back in and the wonderful story regarding the Saxon warriors continues.

This album just keeps giving and giving surprises, “CHAMPION” with its soothing gentle flute intro and the introduction of SARAH TEETS with some jaw dropping vocals on this down tempo ballad with its simple approach of drums and guitar, everything is held back as the star of the show is this fine singer the whole arrangement is in simple terms a beautiful piece of music.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_h_QaSxXr0&w=560&h=315]

IRONBORN” is frantic beyond belief with sledgehammer drums and TECCHIO taking his vocals into the ozone layer. This is 100% thrash / speed metal with the downturn in aggression and slower sections juggling with the head crushing demonic main sections of this manic 5 minute monster of a song.

LADY BATHORY” has a traditional sound and riff to the song, with a solid simple drum approach and it’s the catchiest track out of the 10 on offer. I just love the bass sound that underpins the whole track. People say that “the bass is the forgotten instrument and what’s the point ?” well when it’s played like this, almost like a lead instrument then the results are there for all to see. Safe to say that SYMPHONY X are a super talented band hence why MIKE LEPOND is in the group and although on this album he is not flashy, the sounds he generates are a delight.

Time for another WTF moment. Title track “ WHORE OF BABYLON” with its bongo and Indian Sitar is a million miles away from “IRONBORN” and a million times slower !! this track is so left field it’s hard to believe it’s the same artist. The funny thing is it works so well with its doom and middle eastern vibe it creates.  From beginning to end the listener is sucked in with its hypnotic pull and I will clarify I don’t think I have heard an album with so many different layers than this in a very long time.

Album closer is “AVALON” with a duration of over 8 minutes it is a perfect way to close the album off. The intro is a mixture of rolling drums and more mouth-watering bass work from MIKE LEPOND.

Wizards and warlocks inspired lyrics propel the track along and that main guitar riff just cuts and slices before we get another surprise with the familiar sound of a Hammond organ giving it that classic touch.

To put this as the final song was a pretty clever idea due to the way the backing vocals towards the end lifts it to a massive high with its purpose being a triumphant sounding finale.

There has been some amazing releases this year that I have been fortunate to review and this as a complete body of work which is easily up there with the best of the bunch.

Not even a sniff of a filler song every track is so enjoyable and the musicianship is just so well executed. When this is released ( June 26 ) I will be ordering a copy because in the car it will be the perfect companion when I am on my travels. All In all, “WHORE OF BABYLON” is a complete joy.

Follow Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins on: https://www.instagram.com/mikeleponds… https://www.facebook.com/mikelepondss… https://twitter.com/mlsassassins https://spoti.fi/3b1da95

Review by Steve Bruty for MPM

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