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Sherinian, Derek: Vortex

Derek Sherinian is a badass! If Derek had called me up and said: “Eric, what would you like my new album to sound like?” he could not have come closer than Vortex. My ear has been tuned into guitar heavy instrumental rock and fusion, and Derek hit the mark. The guest list is impressive, but what would that really mean without good songs? It would mean nothing, but thankfully Derek has given us 8 new songs that are always based around a strong melodic idea, and then allows all the players to shine. The songs stick in your head, very memorable. This is also not a shred fest, sure there is plenty of amazing and jaw dropping playing, but it’s so tasteful and always suits the song.

The title track kicks things off, and damn Steve Stevens is good. Derek also has that ballsiest keyboard sounds around, I’ve heard him called the Eddie Van Halen of the keyboards, and that’s for good reason. There are times when it catches your ear and you thought you were hearing a guitar solo, but it’s Derek’s keys. “Fire Horse features Nuno Bettencourt on guitar and bassist Ernest Tibbs from Simon Phillips (who plays drums and co-produced the album with Derek). “Scorpion” is piano based, but again played with balls, I’d love to hear more piano when done in this context. I was reminded that this track takes a nod to Hiromi (check her out if you haven’t), and yes, it is in that style, but it’s a killer! “Seven Seas” brings back the talents of Steve Stevens, and this one falls more in the Fusion realm, and again I am impressed with Stevens. “Key Lime Blues” combines the talents of Steve Lukather and Joe Bonomassa, with a cool clavinet and organ from Sherinian, while the guitars take the melody and proceed to tear it up. “Die Kobra” gives us the second guitar combo of Michael Schenker and Zakk Wylde, opening with Sitar, this is the heaviest track, those chugging guitar rhythms, it’s intense, fiery, and rocking. “Nomad’s Land” features the legend Mike Stern on guitar, and as you would expect, more fusion fury with Stern and Derek dueling it out! The closer “Aurora Australis” brings the piano back with a beautiful intro, and cool synths. Things begin to get heavy around the 3 minute mark, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is your featured player, and this is how you close out an album with an all out assault on the senses.

I will use one of the famous Sea of Tranquility catch phrases, “All Killer, No Filler”. This is without question a 5 star release and my favorite of 2022 to this point, thank you Derek!! Now, please get this out on the road, this needs to be played live.

Track Listing
1. The Vortex (4:26)
2. Fire Horse (4:27)
3. Scorpion (3:39)
4. Seven Seas (6:17)
5. Key Lime Blues (4:43)
6. Die Kobra (6:45)
7. Nomad's Land (5:21)
8. Aurora Australis (11:12)

Added: July 9th 2022
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 325
Language: english

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