"Atomic Soul" (Inside Out Records; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The Symphony X vocalist goes solo with an album that explores a more basic sounding rock style than the progressive metal of his band and the result is a surprisingly effective album in the style of Rainbow, Mountain and Whitesnake.

"Atomic Soul" is eleven tracks you might find on a classic rock station, complete with irresistible riffs, epic vocals, engaging solos and well-written songs. In a way, this CD reminds me of Kurdt Vanderhoof of Metal Church and his side project, Vanderhoof. Like Kurdt, Russell has stepped outside of the genre he is best known for and delivered an impressive piece of work in another. (Of course, in both cases, neither gentleman is straying too far from their original sound. I mean, neither "Atomic Soul" or anything by Vanderhoof is country/western, for example).

None of the eleven tracks here sound like filler, although there are a few surprises (the nearly cheesy pianos in "We Will Fly" for example).  There are several moments when the CD truly soars, however, such as on the hook-laden "Angel," the driving guitar of "Seasons of Insanity" and the very Deep Purple-ish title track.

Only on "Gaia" does Allen come close to sounding like Symphony X and, on this CD, that's just enough. "Atomic Soul" is about Russell Allen; there's always more Symphony X when we want it.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright ? 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 20 May 2024 13:38:51 -0400 .