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Sherinian, Derek: Molecular Heinosity

Here we have the latest progressive metal fusion CD from Derek Sherinian. As always Derek has surrounded himself with some of the industries best musicians including; Tony Franklin (bass), Virgil Donati (drums), and Brian Tichy (drums, guitar). In my opinion his choice of guitar players really make his CD's great. In the past he has had such guitarists as Allan Holdsworth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Lukather and Al DiMeola play on is CD's. On Molecular Heinosity the guitars are played by Zakk Wylde, Rusty Cooley, Brett Garsed and Taka Minanino. Each of these players has a distinctive sound and style and can rip it up with the best of them. The CD contains eight instrumentals plus the last song " So Far Gone" with lead vocals by Zakk Wylde.

Well you know with the musicians on this CD you are going to have some excellent playing, some really intense guitar and keyboard interplay and some great solos. Yet with all this I was still more impressed by Derek's song writing. He creates songs that have many changes in them and that are rhythmically very interesting (i.e. some very cool groves) this makes for a more enjoyable listen. Two good examples are the songs "Antarctica" and "Primal Eleven", which, to my ears rhythmically they just sound great. Derek's solo in the song "Antarctica" is quite intense and reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth's style. The fourth song "Wings of Insanity" starts out with maybe the most recognizable guitar sound in metal that of Zakk Wylde's Gibson Les Paul. This track is a full throttle muscle car race through town, fast, heavy and tough, and a great solo by Zakk. The next track "Frozen by Fire" features Rusty Cooley on guitar. He is known for playing 7 & 8 string guitars and we get a good example of some of that low sting riffing in this song. Derek's playing in this song gives us a touch of the European metal sound plus there are some very intense exchanges between Derek and Rusty. The next three songs feature Taka Minamino on guitar and he plays some cool fast sweep picking leads on them. The title track "Molecular Heinosity" has bit of a Meshuggah vibe to it, with some killer keyboards played over top of it. Again this song displays some of Derek's cool rhythms.

I know this CD will not be everyone's cup of tea, some will just find this music too intense. For those music lovers that enjoy musicians that push the boundaries of progressive rock and metal and fusion this will be a very enjoyable CD. I would also recommend this CD to any guitarist or keyboard players out there, because you will hear some fantastic playing. I found this release to be an intelligent mix of well-crafted songs and superior playing. Lastly I have to mention that this is not just a shredfest , but some well-constructed songs with shredding in them.

**Warning if played in the car stereo may cause driver to receive speeding tickets!**


Track List
1. Antarctica
2. Ascension
3. Primal Eleven
4. Wings Of Insanity
5. Frozen By Fire
6. The Lone Spaniard
7. Molecular Intro
8. Molecular Heinosity
9. So Far Gone

Added: March 26th 2009
Reviewer: Christian Bernier
Score:
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1927
Language: english

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Sherinian, Derek: Molecular Heinosity
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-02-09 21:47:25
My Score:

Keyboard wizard Derek Sherinian returns with his sixth solo CD called Molecular Heinosity. Like all of his previous instrumental offerings he has once again enlisted some top notch talent to help him out on this album. His fellow Planet X band mates guitarist Brett Garsed and drummer Virgil Donati pitch in, as does legendary bass player Tony Franklin. Ozzy's right hand man Zakk Wylde, and probably one of Sherinian's most frequent collaborators in recent years, also returns to shred things up and add his vocals to the only non instrumental track.

The music and playing on Molecular Heinosity is pretty much what you've come to expect from Derek as he weaves his unique mix of symphonic progressive rock, jazz fusion and metal into these nine compositions. Tracks like "Antarctica" and "Primal Eleven" are punctuated by a more fusion oriented approach, while "Wings of Insanity" and "Frozen By Fire" feature more of a straight ahead metallic crunch, as he locks horns in some pretty insane, lightning fast passages with neo- classical shredder Rusty Cooley. If there's one track though which stands out, but in a good way, from the rest of the album it's the final song "So Far Gone". It's kind of ironic that this song sees Wylde turning in a fine Ozzy inspired vocal performance. Musically its shifts back and forth between being a dark, piano based ballad complete with mock strings , to an all out rocker as Wylde and Derek trade off in the middle of the track with a series of brief solos.

Derek Sherinian is quite simply a virtuoso musician who always surrounds himself with equally as talented players to assist him in getting his complex and exceptional visions across, and Molecular Heinosity is no exception. When it comes to having chops to burn, no one does it with more style and flair than Derek.

(originally reviewed for www.classicrockrevisited.com)


Sherinian, Derek: Molecular Heinosity
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-03-27 00:02:15
My Score:

Keyboard virtuoso Derek Sherinian is back after a three year hiatus (Planet X not withstanding) with his latest solo effort entitled Molecular Heinosity and it was well worth the wait. Sherinian is the model of consistency as I have yet to hear average material and the new album is no exception. He seems to take more of a progressive metal approach, although there are still the fusion elements he is so well known for. Besides his keyboard playing, which we all know is first rate, there are great performances by all involved as Sherinian does not seem to mind sharing the spotlight with his guest musicians. Joining Sherinian are notables Zakk Wylde (guitar), Brian Tichy (drums), Tony Franklin (fretless bass) and a few others to help flesh out the sound. There is so much happening musically, so many layers to peel back, this album will definitely see repeated spins in my CD player. If you are wondering if there is shredding here, the answer is yes, but it is so tastefully done with tons of melody even non-shred fans may be converted.

The album starts strong with "Antarctica", a great slice of progressive metal with a few fusion elements dispersed here and there. There are tricky changes in tempo and some beautiful clean guitar by Brett Garsed. The spacey "Ascension" features an excellent keyboard intro and some tasty electric guitar complete with echo that has a Gilmouresque quality. The pure progressive rock of "Primal Eleven" is another winner with great keys and drumming that is all over the map courtesy of Virgil Donati.

The tempo slows down with "The Lone Spaniard" and introduces Taka Minamino on guitar. I really like his tone and he is able to shred with the best of them. Sherinian's heartfelt piano gives the song a somber feeling suggesting the song's title. Ominous keys and the ringing of a bell start "So Far Gone" which is the only song to feature vocals provided by Wylde who does his best Ozzy interpretation. A mellow beginning soon turns into a heavy metal crunch fest and progressive metal tour de force. This song has it all, including some fabulous cello by Tina Guo and excellent synth work by you know who. I love how the song turns from mellow to heavy and back again, providing seamless transitions without missing a beat, and sounding very natural in doing so.

I did not describe all of the songs but they are all worthy of praise and I will leave the rest for you. This will surely be in my best of list at the end of this year and is essential for anyone who enjoys progressive rock/metal. This deserves my highest recommendation!

Sherinian, Derek: Molecular Heinosity
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-03-26 16:08:56
My Score:

Molecular Heinosity is Derek Sherinian's sixth solo album. Much like its predecessor, Blood of the Snake, it sees the skilled keyboardist opting for a predominantly guitar-based album, enlisting the services of guitar heroes that include the ever-present Zakk Wylde, the terribly underrated Brett Garsed, and Rusty Cooley among others.

The first three tracks sort of recall the trilogy on Sherinian's first album Planet X. Written and arranged by the great Virgil Donati, they inevitably lend themselves to fusion territory, often evoking the material presented on Planet X's last album Quantum. "Antarctica" is an expansive number, with a strong rhythmic backbone and tasty synth elements. "Ascension" is comparatively more psychedelic, and a welcome change to Sherinian's often guitar-driven new sound. With "Primal Eleven", the drumming becomes more prominent as does Tony Franklin's beautiful fretless bass playing. Sherinian elicits myriad synth tones out of his instrument, while the guitar work is subtly integrated into the composition.

New recruit Rusty Cooley, the amazing shred god, appears on "Frozen By Fire", which he helped co-write. Sadly though, the tune turns out to be yet another neoclassic shred fest, bringing little novelty to the table. It's a shame the duo couldn't come up with more interesting ideas; actually the material on Cooley's self-titled solo album is much better if we are talking about shred for shred's sake.

Though this album has been marketed as a more 'metal' release than Sherinian's previous outings, the only tunes that really present unbridled aggression would be "Wings of Insanity", for its rhythmically stupefying intro, and the amazing title track, obviously influenced by the great Meshuggah. After repeat listens, it is only this track that qualifies as something new from Derek Sherinian. It boasts challenging guitar work, dense synth experimentation, and brutal onslaughts of drum and bass dominance. It would have been great if he had further experimented with this idea.

Sadly without Simon Phillips co-writing and arranging with Sherinian, Molecular Heinosity proves to be merely a mishmash of songs, partly Quantum-era fusiony tunes with the compulsory neoclassic shred (performed much better on the previous tunes by Yngwie Malmsteen) and the occasional ethnic influences.

Zakk Wylde sings on the only vocal track "So Far Gone", laced with elements from Sherinian's Armenian roots. It's an average song in which Wylde attempts to revive the classic Sabbath sound, but honestly the mix of cello, metal, fusion, and 'Ozzy' on vocals does not quite work, rendering it somewhat overwrought.

Maybe it's about time Derek Sherinian sat down and actually tried to compose songs on his own, without relying on big names who will help sell albums easily. There is a reason why Sherinian has never quite matched the brilliance of his first two albums, particularly Inertia. Bringing in countless shred heroes and relying on their technical proficiency obviously doesn't cut it anymore. It seemed to work with Black Utopia and Mythology, and even Blood of the Snake to an extent, but in time these records have certainly paled in comparison to the more compositional works on the first two discs.

When I buy a Derek Sherinian album, I either want to see him compose songs that highlight his keyboard playing (like Jordan Rudess for example) or do something really interesting rather than repeating past glories. Still, for an instrumental album, Molecular Heinosity is well worth checking out. It's just that I feel he can do better.



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