ALBUM REVIEW: Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins – Whore Of Babylon

Within the melodic and progressive metal community, Mike LePond is a hard name to miss. He is one of the most respected and skilled bassists on the scene. He is most well known for his work with SYMPHONY-X and he is due to release a third studio album with his own band MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASINS. It is titled Whore Of Babylon and let me tell you that this isn’t just an album, it’s a journey of discovery.

I usually pick a few tracks that are favourites and explain more. In this case, there is a wide array of material showcased on this album that a rundown of each track seemed more logical.

Dracul Son goes straight in for the kill. From the off, you are treated to blistering guitar work, prevailing vocals and drum beats that will make you neck sore. Imagine a mesh of METALLICA’s Battery, SLAYER’s Angel Of Death and some symphonic metal goodness. This should give you an idea of what Dracul Son sounds like.

In most cases, the second track sounds similar to the first. This is not the case with Ides March and this isn’t a bad thing. IRON MAIDEN’s Steve Harris comes to mind when you hear Mike’s pounding bass line at the very beginning. With rapid guitar riffs that will make necks sore to a grand chorus you can sing along to; this track is a metal fan’s paradise.

First impression of Tell Tale Heart? A mesh of bits and pieces that don’t make sense, which then leads onto a melodic wonderland. I wonder if the intentions of this are to reflect those feelings and thoughts the old man has in his mind in the Edgar Allen Poe story of the same name. If so, it’s done perfectly. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you can hear references to this haunting short story.

Night Of The Long Thieves is one of my personal favourite tracks on the record. It takes a different turn but the heavy metal still lives. I don’t normally use the term whimsical when describing the melody of a heavy metal track but there is always a first time.

One word for the song Champion, stunning. From the word go, I felt spirits lift. It’s rare for a song to make me literally stop whatever I am doing. Sarah Teets’ beautiful vocals contain passion and emotion. Her graceful flute melodies provide a delicate touch to the heavy metal.

SLAYER’s Reign In Blood comes to mind when I hear the fierce opening riffs of Ironborn before being treated to a catchy chorus. Can Power Thrash Metal be a thing? This track proves that this can be possible.

The first thing I notice about the track Lady Bathory is the powerful song lyrics “bleed for the Lady Bathory”. Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory tortured and murdered hundreds of young women in the 16th and 17th centuries*. The razor-sharp music arrangements, particularly the chugging riffs, represent her killing streak well. From the sounds of it, she was not one to mess with.    

From the fist pumping rhythms and riffs to the empowering lyrics and vocal work, Power Of Steele is another personal favourite track. This track will be sure to go down a treat at live shows without a doubt.

Mike LePond states himself that the title track is an interpretation of a demonic woman who seduces you and takes you to hell and that the music matches this perfectly. He has achieved this. From the first few notes, I was enticed and wanted to find out more. By the time you are right in there, it’s over and you want more. This is another personal favourite of mine.

The album ends triumphantly on Avalon. They show us their fantastic use of many different elements within one track and keeps up the consistent work right until the end.

You have to be careful when compiling lots of elements together in songs. With the case of MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS, they have pulled this off. I also found myself learning new things about history and literature.

Note:  Cranking it up to the max on the biggest speakers you have is mandatory when experiencing this record.

Rating: 10/10

Words: Lotty Whittingham

Whore Of Babylon will be unleashed this Friday via Silver Lining Music.

Find MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS on Facebook.

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