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Derek Sherinian - Black Utopia CD (album) cover


Derek Sherinian


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.44 | 93 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars Derek is of course keyboard player with Planet X, among others, but while this is a solo album of his it has to be said that it sounds as if it has been recorded by a master guitarist. When looking into the album a bit more closely the reason becomes apparent in that Derek has seen himself as composer, arranger and musical director and has then invited some guests such as Zakk Wylde and Yngwie J Malmsteen (among others) to come in and let rip. While Derek does provide some extremely complex melodies (aided and abetted by a rhythm section of Simon Phillips and Tony Franklin), it is the guitars that are centre stage.

While there are places where the music calms down, and indeed there is room at times for some acoustic guitar, it is where the guitars are at their most ferocious that this album really flies. Derek has brought in guitarists with quite different styles and has used this to great effect. "Axis Of Evil" sees Zakk and Yngwie shredding and trying to outdo each other on a rock song that just blasts. The note density on this album must be phenomenal yet there are few times when it seems over-indulgent. Over the top definitely, but it is music that makes the listener want more, not reach for the off switch. Derek may be a keyboard player but buy this not if you want to hear a Rick Wakeman soundalike but if you want to hear guitarists going for it at top speed.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

kev rowland | 3/5 |


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