Review: Whom Gods Destroy – ‘Insanium’

With the demise of Sons of Apollo, it was only a matter of time before a new progressive metal supergroup formed. And with the kind of relationship that sparked comparisons with Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord playing off each other, guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal and fellow SoA alumni, keyboardist Derek Sherinian, would always play together again. That was a no-brainer. Add powerhouse vocalist Dino Jelusick into the equation and the nucleus of Whom Gods Destroy was born. With bassist Yas Nomura (The Resonance Project) and drummer Bruno Valverde (Angra, Smith/Kotzen) onboard, this new supergroup bucked the trend by mixing some younger musicians with the enviable experience that both Bumblefoot and Sherinian bring.

Sherinian (the kind of expert both the defense and the prosecution call to the stand) gets the ball rolling on the opening track ‘In the Name Of War’ with a fast, frantic piano intro that at times is almost John Carpenter-like. The track explodes to life with some crushing work from the band’s spine; Bruno Valverde, and Yas Nomura – the thick basslines from the latter are mighty; as are the Eastern-tinged melodies leading to the chorus. Sweeping and vast, it’s an opening statement from Whom Gods Destroy that is full of contrasting styles; with Bumblefoot sounding as large as life itself throughout the 7 minutes, and Dino Jelusick proving over and over why he is the rising star in modern heavy rock music.

‘Over Again’ is (along with ‘Crucifier’) one of the heaviest of the 9 tracks found within ‘Insanium’ and showcases the extent of Jelusick’s vocal range with his vocals at times bordering on harsh. It’s more of a traditional metal sound conjured up by the players – Bumblefoot drops some thick, down-tuned, bending guitar licks throughout – with the progressive leanings only coming into play as the track reaches its final few minutes where the band locks into an almighty jam. The vocal melodies from Jelusick are crucial and highlight how much of a savvy decision it was from David Coverdale to bring the young Croat out with Whitesnake and give him more exposure. Full of fire, Jelusick is rapidly becoming the go-to guy in rock music.

The middle of the album brings an enthralling near-20 minutes of music that delivers the majority of the highlights on ‘Insanium’: ‘The Decision’ kicks off an impressive 3-track run with an ever so slight Muse influence (especially in parts of the chorus, and the last minute or so where Bumblefoot takes over and lets fly) and the footwork of Bruno Valverde is deserving of singling out; ‘Crawl’ is a head-swirling concoction of soundtrack-ish synth sounds and groovy, spacey keys licks from Derek Sherinian, big-ass basslines from Yas Nomura, and Bumblefoot sounding like he is having a total blast; ‘Find My Way Back’ is the ballad on the album; but not “ballad” as in “time to slow it down to keep the record label happy”, it’s full of the depth and emotion that is sadly lacking in the majority of ballads today. Bumblefoot’s guitar riffs bring a bit of bite to the party, but it is his softer, tender solo mid-song that steals the show. Less indulgent than the very nature of progressive music, ‘Find My Way Back’ is, simply put, stunning.

‘Keeper of the Gate’ is another highlight. Zeppelin-tinged here and there, with a touch of Deep Purple’s ‘Perfect Strangers’ thrown into the cauldron, it’s an out-and-out “classic rock” track that has the core players in the band showing restraint and allowing the song to flourish without the urge to dazzle all with their unquestionable skills (that moment arrives on the instrumental ‘Hypernova 158’). More akin to Sherinian’s work with Black Country Communion, if it wasn’t for that mid-album trio of songs, then this would have been the standout moment on ‘Insanium’.

With so many moving parts to the band, live shows from Whom Gods Destroy might be few and far between, which – given the quality of the material on ‘Insanium’ – would be a pity. Not only have Whom Gods Destroy successfully managed to fill that gap left by Sons of Apollo, but they have also succeeded in making progressive metal music accessible to those who might have skipped past without taking a peek. Worthy of your attention, even if you are a layman in terms of appreciating progressive metal.

Available now via InsideOutMusic, more information HERE.

Follow Whom Gods Destroy on social media, HERE.

Review – Dave

Portrait photo credit – Greg Vorobiov

Live images – credit Lara Vischi

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