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Platypus - Ice Cycles CD (album) cover



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4 stars PLATYPUS are a super-group formed in 1997 by Dream Theater bass player John Myung. The band also featuring Derek Sherinian (ex-DREAM THEATER, PLANET X) on keyboards, Ty Tabor (KING'S X) on vocals, guitar and percussion and finally Rod Morgenstein (ex-WINGER, DIXIE DREGS) on drums. Their debut CD "When Pus Comes to Shove" was released in 1998 and now two years later they have recorded their follow-up "Ice Cycles". - It's hard to label their music as it's very diverse, and you can hear influences from the 70's, 80's and the 90's. It ranges from quiet moments to full throttled and highly technically instrumental passages. You can hear reminiscences to such different bands as ALICE IN CHAINS, The BEATLES, BLACK SABBATH, DREAM THEATER, GENTLE GIANT, KING'S X, PINK FLOYD, RUSH, SOUNDGARDEN, SPOCK'S BEARD and The URBANE. The vocal harmonies and melodies are very strong. The highlights are "Oh God", the instrumental "25", "Gone" and the instrumental +10 minutes highlight "Partial To The Bean (a tragic American quintogy)" that is built up of seven shorter tracks. I don't think that any DREAM THEATER related bands could make a bad album. This album however doesn't sound much like DREAM THEATER, and it's much heavier and straightforward than any DT's release. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#28609)
Posted Thursday, March 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Platypus´s second outing is quite like the first terms of power and style. These guys know how to rock and they do it with certain roll!! Well what did you expect with Ty Tabor:Guitar,Vocals/Derek Sherinian: Keyboards/Rod Morgenstein:Drums/ JohnMyung:Bass. There´s a certain Kings x vibe (surprise surprise)and the overall sound is fabulous.That is,if youre into heavy power prog rock trio´s!! So Kings x,Dream theater,Dixie dregs boys playing that something?? You bet your sweet ... these guys kick ... !! On the other hand if you´re looking for prog in the classical sense...forget about it!!! This is pure,hard core heavy,pop infused power trio (did i mention there are 4 guys?) sounding like Beatles,cheap trick,Dreamtheater and a bit like Kings x. Now,for those of you who thinks that the above mentioned are great fun...stay with me as this (and their first album)is great fun in the school of power pop/rock. Tabors lyrics are in vein...but the vocals are always. The final song is a piece,no call that an epic:"Partial to the bean" consisting of 7 parts. instrumental pieces an all. And mind not without the humour! some of the songs are called:"Yoko ono" & " Yoko two no"...GEt it ?? But overall this is a gem for Kings X Mr.Tabor is all over on his splendid guitarplaying and arrangements. The other guys....well you know them!! There´s not a note wrong between them!!! So.....old school prog freaks forget about it!!! Power trio freaks.....go out an buy..immediately!!!!!
Report this review (#28610)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The good thing about this band is that doesn't sound like the mother bands of the members. A great album filled with nice songs and great instrumental sections. To me Sherinian plays better out of the core of Dream Thater, so, his playing in here is better and more focused, also the ideas of Ty Tabor bonds the crazy connections of the other members. tha master Morgenstein proves again his skills at playing the drums. Sometimes the side projects sounds like desperate cries, but these one is amazinglly good and unique in sound
Report this review (#28611)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Featuring players from Dream Theater, King's X, and Dixie Dregs, the supergroup Platypus has outdone themselves on "Ice Cycles": Their tasty new set has both enough creativity and musicianship to earn some serious prog credibility and enough memorable hooks and tight compositions to reach a classic rock audience. It is precisely this focused songwriting that makes "Ice Cycles" an improvement over its (also excellent) predecessor, "When Pus Comes To Shove"; from the moody King's X-ish rock of the intense "Oh God" and the atmospheric "Better Left Unsaid" to the diversely-influenced, multi-part prog epic "Partial To The Bean," the songs are melodic, emotional, energized, and beautifully realized. (And, of course, the performances are flawless.) "Ice Cycles" is more-than-essential for King's X fans with a taste for prog, but this masterful platter will grab fans from all over the rock spectrum.
Report this review (#28612)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Different from their debut album "When Pus Comes to Shove", this album is quite darker and mellow. But the power of prog rock and classic rock which is appeared in their previous album still comes up in a nice way. Ty Tabor, Derek Sherinian, John Myung and Rod Morgenstein show their most challenging collaboration in the last track, "Partial to The Bean" that is parted in 7 segments. Basically, this album is good enough but not as good as the first one.
Report this review (#28613)
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Names make news, journalists say. In my case, regarding Platypus: names make wonder. What else could you expect to happen knowing that Dream Theater bassist John Myung, ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian and Steve Morse Band drummer Rod Morgenstein join guitarist Ty Tabor (King's X) to play together in a band? So I bought this CD, their second effort.

And it's not bad. The songs are great -- in fact the song is where the band put the focus on. The band compose and arrange songs by combining classic rock, progressive rock, heavy metal, even alternative to produce a totally unique sound -- in most cases it also means catchy tunes. Songs like "Oh God", "Better Left Unsaid" and "The Tower" properly exposing this. In doing so they never actually left their individual characters to which fans have been familiar with, so it won't be surprising if there seems to be reminiscent of the members' original bands. Take "25" as an example.

This album is for those who would be happy to always widen their musical horizon. Great, yet not perfect.

Report this review (#44290)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Comes across as very much a Kings X sound with a bit of darkness in the riffing. Very enjoyable listen. Needs a few listens like any decent prog release. Recommended for any Kings X fan and those Alice In Chains fans that miss those slow appeggiated riffs.
Report this review (#44980)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Prog musicians from bands such as Planet X and Dream Theater came together in 1997 to form the band PLATYPUS. Ice Cycles, their second album, is an interesting and enjoyable album, although it is not groundbreaking in any way. Many different influences are easily able to be pointed out throughout the album, but the songs themselves remain individual and memorable. In general the band's sound is full and complete although it may take some time to get used to Ty Tabor's voice if you are not accustomed to it. This is a great album to play if you want to sit back and enjoy yourself, but it is not an essential album.
Report this review (#157484)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is a case where the parts are better than the sum of them.

I don't agree with the previous reviews of this album. As much as I like (and love) some of the bands these musicians come from, the result was far more dissapointing than I expected it to be (few supergroups actually work, especially when there's not a clear head.)

Maybe the problem (for me) is that the band actually sounds more like the band I like the least out of the big variety groups these musicians come from. This band doesn't sound much like DREAM THEATER, doesn't sound much like PLANET X, doesn't sound much like WINGER or DIXIE DREGS. I know, it's perfect for a band to have a unique sound, to be original, but oftentimes supergroups tend to be closer in style to one or two bands. And in this case, PLATYPUS' music bares similarities with that of KING'S X, an outfit I've never cared much for due to their simple, hook-less, bland music.

And that's what gets me from Ice Cycles: the lack of any really memorable melodies or choruses, the inability by the band members to produce anything that's worth trying to memorize. The music is hard- rock at its simplest, with only a few scattered attempts at showing a little bit of the potential of each band member. Myung's bass is simple, Morgenstein's drumming is ordinary, Sherinian's keys are mundane (even though at times he's the shiniest musician in this record), and Tabor's guitar is just competent. The best moment in the album is the instrumental 25 and parts of the last short-epic Quintology. The rest is as forgettable as many other supergroup albums that never quite reach the heights we expect them to reach, sometimes naively.

Recommended for fans of simple hard rock.

Report this review (#162795)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Platypus is an american band who is I think the least known band where are DT members involved. This is their second album from 2000 named Ice Cycles. To tell you the truth this was quite dissapointing when I've heared this album first time, 4 years ago. While the line up is top notch, Myung on bass from Dream Theater, Ty Tabor on vocals and guitar from King's X, Derek Sherinian keys and on drums the excellent Rod Morgenstein from Dixie Dregs fame, so solid and intristing line up. It ws very intristing to me to discover that they don't sound like DT, Dixie Dregs od DS solo albums or Planet X, but is close to what King's X does for some years now, and I think Tabor is responsable for this sound and the path the pieces took on this album. Well, the album is not entirely bad, but, the first 5 tracks sounds to me like post grundge and alternative music, without any trace of progressive metal as is said in the description of the band, I don't hear at all any Derek Sherinian crunchy key works here, or the excellent bass lines that made Myung famous on DT, is more close to what Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, or even King's X to some point did 15 years ago, so not entirely bad, but I was expecting something elese, more complex or more up tempo music with nice arrangement. From piece 6 named 25, I beggin to talk about a serious improvement here, is like I'm listning to a lot diffrent album, but surprise is the same Ice cycles from the first note. From here, from track called 25 I can talk about progressive metal, the piece like the rest that will come are more complex, more tight, not the same alternative sound here, in places sounds like some parts from Derek Sherinian solo albums, lush keys and solid musicianship overall. The Yoko parts are quite intristing and realy pleasent as a whole, here the musicians deserve the name of masters as we know them from their mother bands, sometimes the passages remind me of OSI (another band or project of a famous keybordist who was in DT). So overall a not so intristing album but not realy bad either, but this is not the music I want to hear very often, even they are labeled as progressive metal, they not realy close to my taste. I will be quite drastic on this album, the musicians are ok, but the pieces are not so well developed to became more then a couple of spins album.2.5 stars, fans only.

Report this review (#245303)
Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Not the best album to be reviewing on Halloween night I suppose. Bad planning on my part although I did play UNIVERS ZERO's "Heresie" and ART ZOYD's "Nosferatu" tonight while giving out treats. This is PLATYPUS' second album and it has a strong KINGS X flavour at times with Ty Tabor singing, playing lead guitar and writing all the lyrics. This sure doesn't have the prominant bass that KINGS X has though. I'm not sure why Myung's bass always seems lost in the sound of whatever band I hear him in. His ex-DREAM THEATER bandmate keyboardist Derek Sherinian is here along with former DIXIE DREGS drummer Rod Morgenstein.

"Oh God" opens with keys as a heavy sound eventually comes in. Vocals before a minute. Nice guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. Good song with some great lyrics. "Better Left Unsaid" is again a relaxed yet powerful sounding tune. Some organ in this one as well. It gets heavy late. "The Tower" opens with drums as guitar then organ joins in. Vocals follow. I like the guitar 2 minutes in. "Cry" is the heaviest tune yet. Again the tempo is mid-paced at best. "I Need You" is another laid back but somewhat heavy song.

"25" is the first track where they let loose.The guitar and organ are outstanding here. "Gone" opens with some atmosphere that floats in. The song kicks in around 2 minutes. I like the meaningful lyrics on this one. A touching track. "Partial To The Bean (A Tragic American Quintogy)" is the closing 10 1/2 minute suite that is divided into 7 short songs. Some heavy Fusion early followed by a relaxing section on parts 3 and 4. The sixth part has some energy before it closes out in a laid back way.

3.5 stars. I really like this album perhaps in part because of Ty's involvement and he has the most promiant role. KING'S X fans should give this a listen.

Report this review (#247558)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Strange this world is, when in a prog forum there are many alternative rock bands very popular and highly rated but some projects, maybe with more progressive arguments, tend to be overlooked and in the case of Platypus, it's completely unfair.

But well, this project should talk by itself: John Myung (Dream Theater), Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs), Derek Sherinian (Planet X) and Ty Tabor (King X). This top list of musicians made an interesting twist: composing alternative rock with some flashes of intricate prog, but very brief. Maybe it's that the fans of the first three bands mentioned expected more instrumental stuff but they sound more like King X, the least prog act of them. What I found interesting is that this project sounds like the heavy era of Porcupine Tree but better, more musical and more catchy at the same time.

You can't doubt the quality of the musicians and their performances, it's almost perfect. The songs are catchy and alternative, which is nice to fresh things up, and the vocals of Ty made it more catchy and nice. Good keyboard solos and some guitar solos as well, but the focus is to make songs interesting rather to do an exhibition of techniques. The result is very nice and without being plain alternative rock, they don't pretend to play intricate music, just to pass a great time. The album is pretty short and it's nice, check the mini epic Partial to the Bean composed by 7 parts, but all the album is good, fresh and entertaining.

I recommend this album to any King X fans, but it can work for either PT fans (which there are thousands out there) or even Oceansize fans. Don't overlook this album, you could be missing some nice music. 3 stars, good album.

Report this review (#294270)
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars I am a big fan of the debut album by Platypus, 'When Pus Comes To Shove', so I was pleased indeed to receive the follow-up 'Ice Cycles'. Platypus was formed by bassist John Myung (Dream Theater), Kings X guitarist and vocalist Ty Tabor, keyboard player Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Kiss etc.) and drummer Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs, Winger). While not as Beatlesque as the debut, this is an equally as impressive album with some great pop moments.

Although these guys can all blast away or prog with the best of them, it is for pure pop combined with rock and great songs that they are renowned. Although as they prove in the closing instrumental "Partial To The Bean", which is over ten minutes long, they haven't lost sight of their day jobs. By the way. that song is divided into seven parts, "Intro Pompatous", "Yoko Ono", "Yoko Two- No", "Yoko Three-No", "Platmosis", "Yoko Againo" and "Yoko Outro". That isn't the only instrumental either with "25" showing that great rock numbers don't needs words as an instrument can quite easily carry the melody line.

On "Cry" they can even make the listener believe that Tony Iommi is involved with the project as they kick off with some great "Iron Man"-style riffs. Another great album which has plenty for the music lover.

Originally appeared in Feedback #57

Report this review (#963491)
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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