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Derek Sherinian - Planet X CD (album) cover


Derek Sherinian

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album blends fusion with metal prog. Virgil Donati wrote most of the tunes and proved here that he is a gifted drummer. This is highly recommended to Dream Theater fans, but also to fans of fusion groups such as Bruford and Brand X.
Report this review (#17326)
Posted Sunday, November 2, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every prog fan should listen to this faboulous piece of music history!! Sherinian is incredible and Donati too, in this album it's clearly that this music couple it's destined to remain to annals.Atlantis suite is an example of Sherinians' reminiscents in 5 years of Dream Theater with most extreme stuff in!Crab Nebulae is my favourite song in the album i can define it as prog-space-soft-not banal!!
Report this review (#17327)
Posted Saturday, April 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think it's the best Derek Sherinian album. It's not only the composition that makes it so good, the way the instruments sound is almost perfect. There are no "waste" songs: All the tracks have have their "charm". Don't think it again. If you like Dream Theater, Pain Of Salvation, Fates Warning, Spock's Beard and that stuff, go get this album NOW, it will open your mind.
Report this review (#17328)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok this album is full of surprises, Derek is just amazingly briliant in how he can capture you in a state of woundering how these amazing songs came to be. When you hear the track entitled "Brunei Babylon" it will have an affect on your life, an affect that will make you appreciate real music with real musicians that put in the time to bring you their best. This album will open up your eyes and ears to a new meaning in life.

CAUTION: This album has the power to change views on life and afterlife. YES the music is that good.

Report this review (#55129)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I met Derek Sheriniam as a member of DREAM THEATER, and I'm sure, just like many other people. So, I wanted to find out what this sounds like. The first impression was pretty good. The beginning with Atlantis is quite easy to enjoy. The sound is very different from DREAM THEATER's, although there are important influences. I also find influences from KING CRIMSON. The album itself is a good piece of prog, sometimes closer to progressive metal, sometimes closer to fusion, and the keyboard dominates almost the whole album, in a perfect combination with the rest of the band. But I think there is a lack of ideas which could give more variety to the album. I'd say that it's a bit superficial, with little more to show after a good first appreciation. All in all, it's worthy of listen Atlantis and Space Martini.
Report this review (#60944)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars this work is probably the best of derek sherinian (with Planet x band: universe & moonbabies). planet x is full of variety a moment ; other; pentatonic..and other..the speciality of derek; the crhomatic scales!

any song is a perfect and unique composition...the album is armony & atmosphere

Report this review (#83324)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first solo album by ex-Dream Theater Derek Sherinian is by far his best one. And Im not talking only about the incredible musicianship of the four musicians involved (DS on keyboards, Virgil Donati on drums, Brett Garsed on guitar and Tony Franklin on bass), but also about the compositions. Further albums of DS may be as fast and furious (or more) as this one, but IMHO they lack the sense of balance between musicianship and the ability to compose good "tunes" (although this is an instrumental album). Most of the tracks were "built" by DS and Donati, and they go into the fusion genre (the "Atlantis" suite is a masterpiece) more than the prog-metal (some tracks being quite heavy, anyway). To say it in a few words: if you have in high esteem the UK project by Jobson-Wetton-Bruford-Holdsworth (and later with Terry Bozzio) and the two only studio albums they did ("UK" and "Danger Money") and you add something by Emerson Lake and Palmer and Dream Theater, you will have a close idea of how "Planet X" sounds... And Garsed sometimes plays like the incredible Allan Holdsworth! Along with the two Liquid Tension Experiment albums (more adventurous) and the two Transatlantic albums (more classic prog but brilliant), "Planet X" is my favourite Dream Theater side or solo project to date (the first Chroma Key CD is also quite recommendable). A true, awesome and sometimes exhausting sonic adventure!
Report this review (#86139)
Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh my, this album rocked me. I own all the Sherinian album, and this is pretty much the best one! Its got everything mixed in to it. The songs Atlantis, Box, Money Shot, basically everything but Brunei Babylon, and Crab Nebula are definately the high points. Sherinian did an amazing job after he was wrongly kicked out of Dream Theater, and he really bounced back with Planet X. Some riffs will give you goosebumps, and some songs are just... amazing to say the least. Being a somewhat smart 16 year old, I know what GOOD music is, and this is some of the best ive ever heard when it comes to fusion. Also he doesnt play any crazy metal stuff like on his other albums, and im not a personal fan of Zakk Wylde. in fact I think Blood of the Snake is very average compared to this. If Sherinian dropped Wylde and made an album with more driving, funky, crazy Jazz on it, I think it would be, in my opinion, the best album ever made... by mankind... on earthh... BUY IT!!!
Report this review (#93881)
Posted Monday, October 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best fusion albums ever made, period.

Derek Sherinian invented this unique metal/fusion style, in 1999 there was nothing sounding like this nowere in the world, you may probably be shaking your heards and thinking hm...what about Liquid Tension Experiment?, well, the amount of creativity and freshness that this album brings is miles beyond those excelent but not so inovative LTE albums. This album is in a diferent league, it is weird, it is sick, it is full of unexpected sounds and writing solutions, it is like traveling beyong space in a dense atmosphere while drinking a wormhole milkshake and eating a mixed salad of planets, asteroids and comets. Being so diferent makes it hard to listen at first, but give it a least 10-20 spins before throwing it into the trash bin, if you are patient you will be rewarded with brilliant musicianship and weird but very cohesive and interesting writing, Derek really shows here that Dream Theater made the wrong call, he doesnt have the kind of technical abilities of Jordan Rudess but he has a much more unique and interesting palette of sounds and ideas, most songs have a very thick and heavy atmosphere to them, almost industrial-like, ranging from the jazz-fusion stile to full metal riffing while going through spacey progressive rock in the middle, sometimes you just dont have a clue of whats coming next and it is all so well managed and cohesive that you reach the end of the album and dont realize 47 minutes have passed. Talking about the rest of the musicians, none of them needs introductions, donati is one of the most sick and technical drummers on the face of the planet, tony franklin is a fretless monster and brett garsed is ... brett garsed, his role in this album is not that proheminent (he only really does 3 or 4 solos throughout the album) but the smoothness and quality of his playing is sublime as always (and way way better than anything Macalpine can pull off when he shows off his semi-assed fusion licks). Overall this is an impressive and inovative album that shows there is still room for evolution in the progressive realm, and if you can digest the different styles it covers you are in for a treat.

Report this review (#178020)
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Here we have an album with only one short expert/collaborator review and plenty of 5-star reviews from fans. What is the matter?

Let's check. This is the debut album of Derek Sherinian, one time keyboard player of Alice Cooper and ex-member of Dream Theater. And this album is placed under the "jazz- rock/fusion" label. So - do you think it's a new Chick Corea with Neo-Elektric Band?No way! Even far from Herbie Hancock!

In fact we have here quite interesting experiment using some jazz/fusion elements in instrumental prog-metal.And I think it's a strongest point of that album. All other things aren't so attractive.

Keyboardist is fast. Guitar player knows all most important heavy metal guitar solos. Drummer are very fast in moments and always very pompastic ( in bad ELP's Palmer style). Compositions are heavy and long ( in fact-looks long when you are listening). If first or second song still can attract your attention, other songs sound just as continued first or second.

The common music is strange as for keyboardist solo effort. Main instruments here are thunder-heavy drums and average soloing metal guitar. Ok, I forgot some synth-sound in the beginning of one of the songs.

All in all the album sounds as average album of average guitar hero. Nothing more, nothing less. I am not a big fan of Dream Theater, but even they sound better!

And for sure it is very big question if this is jazz-rock or fusion! More correct name of the music played is "instrumental progresive metal with experimental elements".

If you're not Beavis or Butthead, don't think you will love it much.

Report this review (#243208)
Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Let's dive into some Progressive Metal territory but this time with a twist of Jazz Rock/Fusion!

After replacing Kevin Moore in Dream Theater and playing with them between 1994-1999, Derek Sherinian didn't waste much time and once he left the band it took him only six month to release his debut album. Derek collaborated on this project with Virgil Donati and the duo would later go on to record many more albums under the moniker Planet X.

This debut solo-album had originally received exceptionally high praise here on Prog Archives which is also the reason why it caught my attention back in 2007. Fortunately snobb finally adjusted this minor arbitrage with his review a couple of month back and although I do consider most of his points completely valid I still can't go as far as calling it a collectors/fans only release. But why has it taken me so long to formulate my opinion about this album? In order to find out you will have read on through another one of my rambling reviews!

The main issue for me on has to do with classification of material and how to appreciate it from a reviewer's point of view. Originally I began this by trying to understand what it is I actually like and dislike about these compositions but this approach has so far not given me any distinguishing qualities which would apply to the majority of these compositions. The first real concern I had was related to the excessive soloing and jam sessions that many of these compositions rely so heavily on, although one may also argue that it comes with the territory of writing Jazz-sounding Metal. Besides, since most of these tracks feature it this still doesn't really explain why I prefer one composition over the other. Take for instance the opening number, Atlantis: Part 1-Apocalypse 1470 BC, that features a very memorable chord progression but other than that it sounds almost like everything else that this material has to offer.

Another thing I tend to dislike is when the performance goes into the groove-oriented progression because it always ends up sounding forced and out of place with the rest of the music. Instead it's that direct Metal-sounding approach which always wins me over and it's a pity that the music here has so few of these instances. The only really unnecessary performance on the entire album comes towards the end with a composition titled Day In The Sun. This is just useless jamming just for the sake of it, still I'm sure that there are enough people who might appreciate that as well.

Now that I've mentioned most of my concerns I'm sure that the answer to my originally proposed question have become slightly more clearer. If you think that most of my criticism was unjust then I'm very happy for you since it might imply that you will enjoy this album even more than me! As it stands today Planet X is a good, but non-essential from Sherinian/Donati who have managed to significantly improve their songwriting on the later Planet X-releases.

***** star songs: Atlantis: Part 1-Apocalypse 1470 BC (6:59)

**** star songs: Atlantis: Part 2-Sea Of Antiquity (4:19) Atlantis: Part 3-Lost Island (5:39) Box (5:06) Money Shot (4:26) Space Martini (3:47)

*** star songs: Crab Nebulae (4:07) Day In The Sun (4:58) State Of Delirium (2:48) Brunei Babylon (5:40)

Report this review (#274966)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Over a decade ago I bought this album because I was (and still am) a huge DT-fan and since Mr. Sherinian had only just left that band at the point of the release of Planet X I almost felt obliged to go for this one. I thought I couldn't get disappointed because I absolutely loved Sherinian's contribution on DT's Falling into Infinity. But where I went wrong in my contemplation is that Derek of course was never the songwriter of DT so assuming that this album was automatically a bull's eye was not correct.

Does this mean we are dealing with a poor effort here ? Not really, it's merely different than poor. I mean, this album Planet X is actually a sort of prelude for the later "band" Planet X which means the style on this release is going towards fusion. I recently reviewed Quantum by that band but I have to conclude that Sherinian's style has improved in the 8 years that lie between both albums. Compared to Quantum this debut sounds a bit sloppy and even though most songs are ok and have their moments at least I still feel the overall quality is way less than on Quantum.

I wouldn't want to call this a disappointment but it's certainly no masterpiece. Personally I have my doubts between 3 and 4 stars and since I just stated that Quantum is a lot better and gave that one 4 stars, I feel I have to round down here. Let's say almost 3,5 for this but certainly no excellent addition to any prog rock collection. So 3.

Report this review (#392406)
Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Post-op Sherinigans...

The first collaboration between Derek Sherinian and Virgil Donati which then went on to form the instrumental supergroup of the same name.

The Good: Sherinian is both a fantastic keyboardist and composer and whilst this debut solo release still contains his signature sound, it is certainly not just a rehash of his earlier work with Dream Theater. It could be classified as progressive metal, but for me it is a much more fusion-orientated recording with noticeable heavier elements. Donati's drumming also provides a perfect blend of furious rhythms and interesting grooves. Whilst I am a huge fan of fully instrumental albums, the lack of binding vocal sections means that character and atmosphere are just as important as technicality and intricacy in order to hold the listeners attention. Luckily Planet X has this in buckets and remains my favourite in what is now a long list of releases and collaborations.

The Bad: The production isn't as polished as his later works.

The Verdict: Synthsational.

Report this review (#461423)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permalink

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