Not content to just produce the debut solo album from former Aphelion keyboard ace Allesandro Bertoni (Keystone), Derek Sherinian is also at the helm here on Synecron, the brand new release from keyboard player/bassist/composer and video game developer Nathan Frost. Also on board for this wild prog/jazz-fusion affair are drummers Virgil Donati (Planet X) & Marco Minnemann (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert, Mike Keneally), guitarists Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie, Creation's End) & Tako Minamino (Derek Sherinian) and violinist Rosemars Siemens.
Six tracks in total on Synecron, and it's a high spirited, exciting ride from start to finish, as each song clocks in at over 6+ minutes and allows for plenty of sizzling performances from the players. The opening & closing "Empire Rising, 2000 AM" and "Empire Rising, 505 AD" are basically the same song, but with Donati on one and Minnemann on the other. Each track has subtle differences, but if it's a torrid ride through dazzling heavy fusion you are looking for, you've come to the right place. Frost, and even Sherinian on this one, deliver some stunning keyboard lines, and look for hot guitar licks from both Sfogli & Minamino plus plenty of drum acrobatics. "Singularity" is another winner, plenty melodic and complete with addicting keyboard hooks, scorching guitar, and impressive drum fills from Donati. Frost shows his prowess on the bass during the more atmospheric & majestic prog rock track "Empire Falling". This one also features some commanding Hammond organ, intricate drums courtesy of Minnemann, and Rosemars' haunting violin, not to mention some shredding guitar by Mr. Minamino. The lovely "Samsaara" is all Frost, who displays a deft touch on the piano, while "Consilience" is a crunchy, groove laden progressive metal juggernaut. Minamino's thick riffs play off some nimble synth melodies from Frost, until the guitarist unleashes and gets into a duel with the keyboard wiz as Minnemann lays down some jaw dropping fills underneath.
Pretty impressive stuff here from a guy I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from in the very near future. Having such an all star cast around certainly doesn't hurt, but Nathan Frost has the musical chops as well as the songwriting skills to be a player on the instrumental progressive metal/jazz-fusion scene.
1) Empire Rising, 2000 AD
3) Empire Falling
6) Empire Rising, 505 AD