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Derek Sherinian - Black Utopia CD (album) cover


Derek Sherinian


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.44 | 93 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.5 stars.This was an absolute blast ! Hey when you have Al DiMeola, Zakk Wylde and Yngwie Malmsteen as your featured guitarists you know the metal is going to fly. And fly it does ! Simon Phillips is on drums, he's played with Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani. Jerry Goodman on violin from MAHIVISHNU ORCHESTRA of course, while Billy Sheehan and Tony Franklin take care of the bass duties. Oh and Steve Lukather plays lead guitar on a couple of the mellower tracks. Of course this is Derek Sherinian's baby, yet he really does not take the spotlight very often, rather he leaves that role to the virtuoso guitar players for the most part.

"The Fury" is just that from the hands of Malmsteen.The synths and drums add some support as well. "The Sons Of Anu" is an uptempo rocker with great riffs as Malmsteen's fluid and fast guitar comes in. This is a shred-fest ! It calms down 2 minutes in but the guitar continues to play so beautifully with background synths. A change before 4 1/2 minutes as we get some intricate nylon guitar from DiMeola as Sherinian answers with a flury of keys. Not to be out done DiMeola comes back with his electric guitar, and he's on freaking fire ! More keys and guitar before Malmsteen ends it with a blazing solo. "Nightmare Cinema" is probably my favourite. I love the contrast between Wylde's heavy guitar attacks and the atmospheric calm with Shreinian's dark keys. Just an incredible track. Dark and very heavy. "Stony Days" features Lukather on guitar and he does a beautiful job on this more fusion influenced track. "Starcycle" is actually a cover of a Jan Hammer tune. Lukather is back but much more aggressively. He's outstanding on this one as Sherinian does his Hammer impression. Nice. Incredible guitar though.

"Axel Of Evil" joins Malmsteen and Wylde for the only time on the album.They do not disappoint. Crushing opening as drums pound and Keys run wild. Malmsteen and Wylde trade fire. Unbelieveable ! A wondrous calm 2 1/2 minutes in. Check out the guitar 4 minutes in as this gets pretty emotional as these two guitarists display how gifted they are. It gets chaotic a minute later before the song ends explosively. "Gypsy Moth" is obviously a nod to DiMeola who plays his nylon guitar with presicion as Goodman offers up some violin melodies. Sherinian plays keys throughout. "Sweet Lament" places the focus squarley on Lukather and his soaring guitar melodies. "Black Utopia" is the closing track with Zakk on guitar. There is some atmosphere to this one early before violin and drums come in. Heaviness arrives 1 1/2 minutes in and it steam rolls everything in it's path. It gets even heavier 2 minutes in. Check out the guitar ! Keys and calm 5 1/2 minutes in continue until the song fades out after 7 minutes. Silence until some brief weird sounds to end it.

I will be getting Sherinian's next two recordings after being knocked over by this one. A must for Prog-Metal fans. Very impressed.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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