Progressive metal composer and guitar wizard Michael Romeo is set to release War of the Worlds Pt. 2 on March 25th via InsideOut Music. This cinematic metal masterpiece is the follow-up to War of the Worlds Pt. 1 released back in 2018. Michael kindly took a few minutes to talk with us about the new album, plans for Symphony X, and pizza.
In June of 2018, Michael chatted with us about War of the Worlds Pt. 1 and at that time he mentioned that he had a lot of the material for Pt. 2 ready. As we all know, the world fell into a pandemic in 2020 which threw all plans out the window. I asked Michael what impact this forced layoff had on completing War of the Worlds Pt. 2. Michael replied “It didn’t really have any impact. I mean, the whole schedule of everything…in 2020, everything went off the rails.”
Michael continued “The band (Symphony X), we’re back to touring everything is going good. 2019 we’re in Europe and South America. And then we come into 2020. At the beginning of the year, I was like maybe I have some time to get to the part two stuff and just finish it cause so much was done. And Symphony X had a tour coming up, I think it was April 2020. So I was like ok, a couple of months here I have, I can bang this out. And then…everything just went to hell.”
In regards to any re-writing of the music given the long layoff, Michael said “There was one thing. Right in the beginning of 2020, I was like ok, let me try to get this part two wrapped up. And I went and looked at everything. I thought I had more than I actually had. So I was a little short. So actually there were a couple of things I had to put together”
The basic line-up from War of the Worlds Pt. 1 is intact on Pt. 2 with John DeServio on bass and John Macaluso on drums providing phenomenal performances. The addition to the team is vocalist Dino Jelusick who sounds fantastic.
I asked Michael how he ended up working with Dino. Michael responded “For part 2 I knew maybe I’ll try someone different (from Rick Castellano who sang on Pt. 1). I was even thinking maybe I’ll have a different singer on every song, that kinda thing. Then I was thinking maybe that’s not right. Then I’m thinking who else can I get and who else do I know. Then one day I was talking with Simone Mularoni, you know he helps me with all the mixing and mastering, I mean he’s my buddy with these solo records. He’s like “Oh I’ll call my friend Dino.” He (Simone) and Dino are good friends. I’d known a little bit about Dino. And he (Simone) was like he would love to do it. So he put us in contact and Dino is like “Oh yeah dude, count me in, I’m good”. So you know just sending tracks back and then he’s sending back some vocals. It’s like oh yeah dude it’s like perfect. This is exactly what it needs to be.”
Our conversation continued by touching on Michael and the rest of Symphony X striving to get the ideas percolating for the next album and preparing to hit the road in May despite the unknowns regarding when they can tour in Canada and Europe. Despite the challenges related to pandemic touring, I’m confident Michael and Symphony X will prevail. We wrapped up our chat with the controversial topic of pizza toppings.
Be sure to get your order in for Michael Romeo’s new solo album called War of the Worlds Pt. 2 which will be released on March 25th via InsideOut Music. Catch Michael and the rest of Symphony X live as they tour the United States with Haken and Trope beginning on May 10th in New York at Irving Plaza.