March 8, 2024

WHOM GODS DESTROY is the brand-new SONS OF APOLLO related outfit featuring Dino Jelusick (Vocals), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guitars), Derek Sherinian (Keyboards), Yas Nomura (Bass) and Bruno Valverde (Drums). Their intriguing debut album Insanium offers nine beguiling tracks of progressive metal and hard rock virtuosity.

This band is a genuine new force of fairly heavy, progressive metal. Sherinian and Bumblefoot have built upon the creative link they developed as two of the key elements of supergroup Sons of Apollo and now set their sights on a new path with Whom Gods Destroy, and created the musical odyssey that is their debut opus, Insanium. Derived from Latin words meaning insanity, the album title Insanium represents the chaotic elements represented in the music that this core creates when working together.

Bumblefoot explains how the band got started: “Derek & I began writing new music in 2020. Soon after, Dino joined, followed by Yas and Bruno. We’d share ideas, and each record parts, building and rebuilding songs, and by June ’23 the album was finished. The songs all went through a lot of changes, developing… you can definitely hear what each person brings to the music – when it adds up, it’s a mix of melody and intense heavy prog.”

When asked to summarize the band’s influences and sound, Sherinian adds, “The inspiration is wide for this band. We cover a lot of ground stylistically, everything from Led Zeppelin, Meshuggah to Muse, to the most technical prog.”

The album is definitely quite heavy, harder metal-edged and more technical than previous Sons of Apollo material, but it’s a natural showcase for the quality of musicianship on display. Derek Sherinian is always supremely technical and interesting, and Bumblefoot is also a consistently excellent guitarist. And I have to say that Dino Jelusick is a real powerhouse singer, I love his forceful passion – very much in the mould of the late great Chris Cornell and of course David Coverdale, him being a lifelong fan of Deep Purple and especially Whitesnake, as witnessed by his previous main band Croatia’s very own Animal Drive. Add to this the quality rhythm section that is formed by relative newcomers Yas Nomura and Bruno Valverde and you know that this band will be a prog-metal force to be reckoned with.

Sherinian confirms this: “all three of these musicians are super talented with great energy. I think Dino is the real deal. Ron and I knew that we could do something great with him”, and Jelusick also struggles to contain his excitement at the project: “What I love about this band is that it doesn’t have any limits. It came together back in 2020 when we started talking about it. Yas and I started working separately not knowing we were both asked to do this. Bruno was the last piece of this puzzle and I’m glad the recommendation came from me. I love this line-up. Derek and Ron are wizards!”

The album features nine compositions accompanied by a bonus track for 60 minutes of intensity, barely giving the listener time to catch their breath. The opening track and first single In the Name of War is a tour de force that showcases the full spectrum of what this band offers, from the opening classical
piano to the thunderous guitars, commanding drums, and resonant bass, to the incomparable vocal prowess of Jelusick, who says the track contains his favourite lyrics on the album. Throw in a scorcher of a guitar solo and the album is off to a great start.

Over Again is slower, almost Sludge-like, jagged riffery, Dino sounding almost like Judas Priest’s Rob Halford on the choruses, such a powerful singer. Another fluid interplay between guitar and keys from the two maestros, always underpinned the monotonic riff. Sherinian’s keys / synths do keep reminding me of his love for Purple-esque structures, and it’s got me so excitedly looking forward to Black Country Communion’s forthcoming new stuff – but more of that in a month or two!…

While the musicianship throughout the album might be untouchable, the lyrics are very relatable and personal. Jelusick describes the next track The Decision as a song about giving up but reflecting on the past and realizing it’s worth giving it one more try and being grateful for all the good things that happened along the way. And my goodness, his voice is sooo strong – its that mix of Coverdale and Cornell again, he’s a special talent! The whole track has a lightly slower, bluesy, ‘Purple’ feel to it? – it’s great, so much going on in the background.

Crawl is next, it was the most recent single and video, see below,. It’s another pretty heavy, brutal track, all five of the band getting well and truly stuck in! Lots of meaty riffery, a really solid bass-line and yet more great guitar work and vocals, all supported by Bruno Valverde’s simply excellent, taut, percussion – a real find!

Find My Way Back is about coming back home and realizing it’s not a home anymore. Relatable for many people on the road. It opens with a classic Purple Hammond Organ, initially combining with acoustic guitar, a slow heavy bluesy ballad in the very best tradition. A sumptuous guitar solo later on reveals a Classic Rock side to this band as I touched on earlier. Another hugely strong track, I love it.  

Crucifier takes us back into the heavy metal arena, powerhouse rhythms and swooping keys, again more than a touch of late Judas Priest about it. Keeper of the Gate features another quite superb guitar solo from Bumblefoot colouring in another fairly doomy riff and swirling Hammond work from Derek. All good stuff!

Hmm, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of synth-led music, but Hypernova 158 is at least mercifully brief compared to some of the monsters around! Lots of pacey support from the rest of the band. This is followed by the album’ closer, the title track Insanium. Eight and a half minutes long and spread over three distinct ‘movements’, the first part being a pacey riff-led Metal workout which bleeds into a slower, echoing, melodic bluesy piece. Some very tasty guitar work in the middle section, fading away before the final prog-metal conclusion that actually finishes up sounding quite Sludge-like again.

The album limited edition 2xCD Mediabook comes with a bonus track Requiem plus the entire album as an instrumental soundtrack. Requiem comes in with suitably “high church” organ chords, it’s another heavy, slow number with a gorgeous guitar solo – I have to say I do particularly like this side of the band. All in all, Whom Gods Destroy are undeniably a major new talent in the Prog-Metal field. Prepare to be entranced by this band and this album Insanium – this is just the beginning and an impressive sign of things to come…

The band has already launched three singles off the album, the first being the opening track. In The Name Of War can be seen in a video directed by Vicente Cordero / Industrialism Films and edited by Vojan Koceić / PILOTstudio here: https://youtu.be/8Ie77apU0RA. In addition, drummer Bruno Valverde has also launched an intense drum playthrough clip for “In The Name Of War”, which you can see and enjoy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=himRY9HX1HY