In evolution, one species gradually changes into another over time. It retains key elements, while assuming a new form. The evolutionary trajectory of classical music points right to heavy metal. Symphonic bombast, drama, emotion, and virtuosity thrive between guitar solos and riffs in the same way they did when conjured by an orchestra. Lost Symphony connects the missing link between classical and metal. Founded by multi-instrumentalist and producer Benny Goodman, the core group consists of Benny, his brother Brian [compositions, arrangement], Cory Paza [bass, guitar], Kelly Kereliuk [guitar], Paul Lourenco [drums], and Starset’s Siobhán Cronin [violin, viola, electric violin]. Joined by a bevy of high-profile guests whose discographies span Guns N’ Roses, All That Remains, Starset, Cradle of Filth, Nevermore, Steel Panther, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and more, Lost Symphony roar to life on a trio of independent releases throughout 2020: “Chapter I,” “Chapter II,” and “The Five Stages of Death and Dying” EP.
Across Chapter I alone, the featured artists span Marty Friedman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Angel Vivaldi, David Ellefson, Joey Concepcion, Richard Shaw, Ethan Brosh, Satchel, Matt LaPierre, Jimi Bell, Conrad Simon, Brock Richards, and Hiyori Okuda, as well as late guitar hero and All That Remains founder, Oli Herbert.
The music stems from the same place for Benny…
“It starts off on the piano,” he explains. “I always found classical progressions super interesting. I loved how those intricate passages eventually informed metal. I felt like there was a fine line though. At the same time, I’m very inspired by film scores such as Star Wars. The idea was to take the elements of those cinematic compositions and add shred. It came out as this. We’re adding heavy instrumentation to the dynamics of a score. It leads you on a journey.”
The journey to Lost Symphony began in 2015. After crafting an initial classical demo, Benny chose to find guitar players to bring it to life. Discovering Kelly and Conrad Simon online, he “slid into their DM’s, ”and they sent back “these incredible solos ”for what would eventually become ‘Chapter II’s’ “Leave Well Enough Alone.” Over drinks one night, he played the nascent idea for All That Remains drummer Jason Costa who not only agreed to lend the track drums, but also passed it on to Oli.
Soon after, Oli and Benny formed an intense creative bond.
“We basically spent weeks in my basement putting songs together,” recalls Benny. “Oli thoughtfully constructed lead guitar parts for several of our songs and was a key collaborator. We sat and worked on everything note for note from start-to-finish. Oli brought legitimacy to this. He was like our ambassador. When he’d call other guitarists, they’d pick up the phone.”
After years of piecing together the project under the radar, Benny introduces it to the world in 2020,sharing one-song per week for two months accompanied by exclusive recording footage. The first single “This Life Moves Too Fast” [feat. David Ellefson, Jeff Loomis, & Jimi Bell]gallops forward on a hummable riff punctuated by sweeping violin, propulsive bass, and lyrical fretwork. Uniting Loomis, Ellefson, and Bell, it ebbs and flows between moments of scorching soloing and orchestral reprieve.
“‘This Life Moves Too Fast’ is literally something I said when someone I knew dropped dead mowing his lawn,” sighs Benny. “I couldn’t believe people were dying around me, and that was the concept. The opening riff is so driving. If you listen to our band, it exemplifies everything we do.”
On the follow-up single “Singularity” [feat. Oli Herbert, Bumblefoot, & Ethan Brosh], strings give way to a vital, yet vulnerable guitar lead. Sweep-picking precedes a violin counterpoint as Bumblefoot contributes a fretless guitar solo.
“The piano reminded me off Indiana Jones,” says Benny. “It felt like the perfect opener. The title references Ray Kurzweil’s theory on the next stage of evolution. We evolve by emerging with intelligent technology. It’s the nexus of technology and biology where social media feeds will be downloaded in to our brains.”
Then, there’s “Premeditated Destruction” [feat. Brock Richards, Richard Shaw, Jimi Bell, & Matt LaPierre]. A distorted riff locks into a call-and-response with Siobhan’s violin before a fleet-fingered lead spirals out.
“Musically, it was written as a rebuttal to anger,” he admits. “It’s a culmination of all the guests who turned it into the vibe it has.”
“Cotard Delusion” [feat.Oli Herbert &Satchel] leaps forward on an impressive display of fret fireworks. Everything closes on the somber send-off “Lacrimosa” [feat. Oli Herbert and Angel Vivaldi] where plaintive acoustic guitar, eloquent Spanish phrasing, and a tearful solo comingle. It sets the stage for “Chapter II” and a bevy of other guests as well as “The Five Stages of Death and Dying” EP.
Ultimately, Lost Symphony immortalize Oli’s legacy and marks a meeting point for classical and metal never heard before.
“I hope you listen to the record, close your eyes, and go somewhere else,” Benny leaves off. “Music is a mental journey. The goal is to transcend genres. Hopefully, you play it top-to-bottom with headphones and leave where you are. If it does that, it’s the best tribute to Oli.”
Read our review here.