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Sherinian, Derek: Mythology

There's something about the combination of Derek Sherinian and Zakk Wylde. When the two get together, as they do once again on this latest solo venture from keyboard ace Sherinian, it's like magic. Having Wylde appear on his albums gives Sherinian the room to really flex his metal muscles, and for Wylde, it lets him break away from his doom metal band Black Label Society and fire off some heavy, instrumental fusion material. Mythology is Sherinian's newest excursion into uncharted waters, and joining him are Wylde, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Lukather, Steve Stevens, John Sykes, Jerry Goodman, Brian Tichy, Simon Phillips, Tony Franklin, Rufus Philpot, and Marco Mendoza. Did I say WOW yet? The mention of the line-up alone is enough to excite the senses.

The eight-minute opener "Day of the Dead" is a monster piece, with Wylde and Sherinian laying down some ultra heavy, doomy riffs, in which both players trade off wicked solos before the master Holdsworth comes crashing in with some classy legato wizardry that adds the extra amount of virtuosity to the proceedings. Sherinian and Stevens instantly bring to mind the vintage instrumental wars of Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer on the 70's fusion inspired "Alpha Burst", a song that had me feeling like I was a teenager all over again listening to Beck's Wired for the first time, complete with raging call-and-answer guitar & synth trade-offs. The two even go the melodic Blow By Blow route on the touching "A View From the Sky, assuring all to confirm what a marvelous and gifted player Stevens really is. "El Flamingo Suave" reminds of Al DiMeola's Casino period, with Stevens once again provide the pyrotechnics, this time on impeccably picked flamenco guitar alongside a Latin rhythm provided by Sherinian's keyboards, the slippery bass of Franklin, and the expert drum work of Phillips. Lukather adds his monstrous tone and technique to the powerful blues rock of Goin' to Church", while the intricate "One Way or the Other" sees Sherinian do battle with Goodman's electric violin for a wild ride that will have fans of the Dixie Dregs or The Mahavishnu Orchestra in stitches. In addition to these two monsters, check out also the complex bass lines from new Planet X bassist Philpot, or the intense guitar solos from Holdsworth, who sounds just as inspired as he did in the early days of UK.

Wylde provides some serious crunch 'n' roll on the metalized "God of War" alongside former Whitesnake/Blue Murder and current Thin Lizzy axeman John Sykes, as they bludgeon you with hairy riffs and leads while Sherinian explodes with wild Hammond and synth textures. Sykes delivers what might be the most charged up and emotionally draining solos he has played in years on this one, showing his mettle as one of the worlds most underrated players, and hearing him trade off with Wylde is a feast for the ears. There's even one vocal piece here, the doom-ridden "The River Song" that is like a warped cross between Black Label Society, Planet X, and Alice in Chains. Wylde sings the angst fueled vocals and supplies the "heavier-than-thou" riffs, while Sherinian matches his rocket launched solos note for note, speed for speed, crunch for crunch, with the boozing guitar slinger. Whew!

Sherinian is cementing his legacy as a musician who is creating instrumental rock records that stand head and shoulders above everyone else. He consistently gets the hottest players to share the spotlight with him, recreating sounds that harken back to the glory years of prog, metal, and fusion, while still sounding modern, cutting edge, and oozing virtuosity. Hats off to ya man!

Track List
1) Day of the Dead
2) Alpha Burst
3) God of War
4) El Flamingo Suave
5) Goin' To Church
6) One Way or the Other
7) Trojan Horse
8) A View From The Sky
9) The River Song

Added: April 9th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Derek Sherinian Online
Hits: 3535
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Sherinian, Derek: Mythology
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-04-09 08:24:57
My Score:

The newest release by Derek Sherinian is yet another treat for not only the fan of Progressive music but also those that enjoy a most creative use of the keyboards. Derek seems to have taken them into the 21st Century even further with rich colors and experimentation in his music. He also makes sure to have a cast of talented players joining him on each CD. People participating this time around are Zakk Wylde, John Sykes, Allan Holdsworth, Simon Phillips, Brian Tichy, Tony Franklin, Marco Mendoza and others. This cast of musical luminaries assures you that the music while, fun at times also plays no games. The CD is intelligent and well composed, and is also a progression from his last release , which is what one expects from a professional like Sherinian.

"Day Of The Dead" is no-nonsense and perhaps my favorite track on the entire CD. Zakk lays down some killer guitar riffs and I admit reaching for my air-guitar for this one in particular. When you combine this with the magic of Allan Holdsworth you can see why it rocks so much. It is also the most epic of the pieces on the recording running a full 8 minutes plus. The Prog-head might enjoy that there is a lot more variety on this piece than the straight-forward heaviness of the last CD Black Utopia, which is also on
InsideOut Music. Songs that try a little difference are most apparent in "El Flamingo Suave" and "Goin To Church". "Flamingo" employs a lot of Latin flavors while "Church" could almost pass for a slow Steve Vai tune. People don't always realize that sometimes where there seems to be a guitar, it is actually Derek on the keyboards.

"One Way Or Another" is interesting in its use of violin by Jerry Goodman. There are also some fast movers as well like "God Of War" and "Trojan Horse". Overall the CD does not disappoint and the booklet has a nice little Derek Sherinian "Bandology". You can trace his career from this point with no difficulty. I look forward to Derek's future since the past has become a memory. One that can be reflected upon with pride and inspiration.



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