“Someone’s spiked Derek Sherinian and Bumblefoot’s cornflakes – their virtuosity is hotwired for the next gen”: Whom Gods Destroy’s Insanium

Sons Of Apollo offshoot deliver a jawdropping and sometimes preposterous prog-metal storm with their debut release

Whom Gods Destroy - Insanium
(Image: © InsideOutMusic)

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When Derek Sherinian recently posted on Facebook that 2020’s MMXX was the “second and final” release by his supergroup Sons Of Apollo, the “final’’ bit caused waves among fans already thrown by SOA drummer Mike Portnoy rejoining Dream Theater (also Sherinian’s former group) after 13 years away. 

But Sherinian had moved forward with bandmate Bumblefoot. Early signs suggested their new group, Whom Gods Destroy, could potentially blow SOA out of the water. Whether or not WGD are a revenge tactic, what an impressive bunch they are: the energy force in this debut is akin to walking through a prog-metal hurricane. 

Opening track In The Name Of War sets the tone, Sherinian’s classical, Keith Emerson-esque figure soon joining an explosion of something bouncy but pissed-off-sounding, with some punchy Bumblefoot double-neck shred.

The rest of the band consist of a young, dynamic tier with ripped torsos and great hair: Japanese bassist-guitarist Yas Nomura, Brazilian drummer Bruno Valverde and Croatian former Animal Drive vocalist Dino Jelusick, whose voice is a powerful mix of Chris Cornell and Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy.

There are elements of Purple, Soundgarden, Alter Bridge and, naturally, Dream Theater on Insanium, but someone’s spiked Sherinian and Bumblefoot’s cornflakes as their own virtuosity is hotwired for the next gen.

Take Over Again is a bombastic, djenty waltz coloured in by Jon Lord-like keyboard. Sherinian is a Meshuggah fan, so some verses have a polyrhythmic shift over a 4/4 bump.

The Decision moves towards the style of Gojira and/or Brazilian thrashers Sepultura (Valverde’s Latin patterns mix with a thrash influence), tempered by Mellotron and pretty harmonies. When Whom Gods Destroy do ballads, they are The Loudest Ballads In The World... Ever.

Crawl does anything but. It’s a barrage of shreds with a flight of the Bumblefoot midway. Throughout the record, Bumblefoot’s solos are jaw-dropping and sometimes preposterous, Allan Holdsworth-meets-Satriani-meets-Blackmore... and more.

So what’s left? The groove metal of Crucifier, the trancedjentering juggernaut that is the instrumental Hypernova (one for The Algorithm fans) and the downtuned synthwave metal title track, containing a lighter-waving moment and mid-tempo rumba rhythms.

Bonus track Requiem is a Phantom Of The Opera/Ghost gothic tango, with a violin coda. Could a musical be on the cards? Anything could happen in this theatre of dreams.

Insanium is on sale now via InsideOutMusic.

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.