11/3/2005 - Review by: Ken Pierce
Russell Allen - Atomic Soul - 2005 - InsideOut Music
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.
-- Ken Pierce 10.12.05
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