There is a theory that ELP were the progenitors of the whole Symphonic Metal movement and without them there may never have been bands such as Dream Theater.
Jordan Rudess has come out of Dream Theater and in many ways I can hear echoes of Keith Emerson in his playing, especially in the variety of styles and the humour in so much of the writing here.

The addition of some stellar musicians alongside him – Marco Minneman, James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Vinnie Moore, Joe Bonamassa, Guthrie Govan and John Petrucci play guitars as well as Rod Morgenstein – means that there is no chance this will be dull or ‘run of the mill’.
And so it turns out.

The opening tracks ‘Wired For Madness Part 1’ and ‘Wired For Madness Part 2’ have a massive and symphonic quality. The music turns, twists and takes different directions but there is no feeling that these are songs as such and the overall impact is breathless and helter skelter – exhilarating!. The different movements have the feel of many different genres, again echoing the ELP masterpieces and the impact of the two parts is positively majestic.

After the 2 title parts he moves into a series of stand alone songs that all have quality but not the depth or presence of the core numbers. ‘Drop Twist’ has echoes of Westerns deep in the dna of the song while ‘Perpetual Shine’ has a funky and jazzy quality to it. The closer ‘Why I Dream’ has a disturbing entry but swiftly moves to a complex and furious fusion-orientated lyrical poem and ‘Just For Today’ goes through balladic beauty and keyboard fantasies.

All told, a much better and more satisfying album than I was expecting. In many ways a tour de force.