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Semantic Saturation: Solipsistic

Here's the latest progressive rock/metal all-star project, titled Solipsistic from the collective going by the name of Semantic Saturation, comprised of guitarist Shant Hagopian, drummer Virgil Donati, bassist Ric Fierabracci, keyboard player Derek Sherinian, and vocalist Andy Kuntz. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade or so, most of these names should be very familiar to you from their associations with Planet X, Dream Theater, Nu.Clear.Dawn, Steve Vai, and Vanden Plas among many others. The seeds for Semantic Saturation were first sown by Hagopian, a Canadian guitarist/songwriter of Syrian/Armenian heritage who became friends with Kuntz while their two bands Nu.Clear.Dawn and Vanden Plas played some shows together in recent years. When the guitarist showed interest in a new project, Kuntz was happy to help out, and after rounding up some stellar talent in the form of Donati, Fierabracci, and Sherinian, Solipsistic became a reality.

For the most part, the album is all instrumental progressive rock/metal/jazz-fusion, complete with thunderous, complex rhythms and wild guitar & keyboard exchanges. Most of the tunes rock, and rock hard, led by the amazing guitar skills of Hagopian, who really is a 'super talent in waiting' . He's come up with some truly sizzling songs here that showcase the whole band, so look for instrumental tracks that are actual 'songs', complete with memorable melodies and riffs that stick in your hand, while the instrumental brilliance of the musicians is used to highlight the songs rather than steal the limelight and make this a chops fest. Take a song like "Lost and Found: Insanity" for example, which has a great melodic hook and some really catchy guitar & keyboard riffs, which make for an incredibly memorable song. While there are some tasty solos for sure, it's the main themes of the song that really hook the listener in, not just the shredding. Hagopian & Sherinian make for a great team, and hearing them tastefully play off each other is a complete joy. Donati is as incredible as always, turning it up a notch on the more aggressive songs but holding back just enough on the laid back jazzy/prog numbers, like the gorgeous "Stardust". If there is one disappointment here, it's that Kuntz only appears one one track, the epic closer "What If We All Stop". He's at his best of course, as the song ranges from atmospheric prog to bombastic metal. A couple of the tunes here would have sounded great with vocals ("Time Is An Illusion" instantly comes to mind), but if the one-song teaser with Kuntz is any indication of what all these guys can do together, it really leaves the door open for something spectacular in the future.

What that future holds for Semantic Saturation is anyone's guess, but Solipsistic is of such high quality that I can envision any fan of instrumental prog-metal & fusion soaking this right up and wanting more.

Track Listing
1) Ambivalence
2) Make Believe
3) Lost and Found: Insanity
4) Stardust
5) Blessing in Disguise
6) Armchair Activist
7) Point of Singularity
8) Time Is An Illusion
9) What If We All Stop

Added: February 7th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3376
Language: english

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