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PLANET X

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Planet X biography
PLANET X started as a solo project of keyboardist Derek SHERINIAN, who left DREAM THEATER in 1999 after recording one album with the band. He immediately started to work in a solo album, in which he invited talented drummer Virgil DONATI as a guest musician. The result was so satisfying that the couple decided to make a new project and build up a formal band.

The band took the name of that first solo album of SHERINIAN, PLANET X, and invited legendary guitar player and studio musician Tony MACALPINE to join the band. The mixture of these different styles gave for result an instrumental rock band with tendencies to jazz/fusion, Hard rock and progressive. The chemistry of the three talented musicians brought an impressive level of skills, time signature changes, heavy riffing and back to back soloing in which the band shows a huge level of musicianship.

They published their first album "Universe" in 2000. The success and acceptance of the album, especially between prog metal fans and instrumental followers made possible a tour in 2002. During this tour, the band recorded a live album called LIVE FROM OZ. Soon after the tour, the band rejoined in the studio to bring out their most acclaimed album: "Moonbabies". Keeping the spirit of the first album, now improved and better oriented their second album it's their own masterpiece, very popular and successful.

The different compromises of the players made them stay in hiatus until 2007, when the band decided to release their third album, now having talented jazz guitar man Allan HOLDSWORTH and Brett GARSED replacing MACALPINE. The name of the album was "Quantum".

Later, in April of 2009, MACALPINE announced his comeback to the band but there's, as of yet, no official information of the next release of the band.

PLANET X has participated with other great guest musicians such as: Billy SHEEHAN, Tom KENNEDY, Jimmy JOHNSON, Brett GARSED and Rufus PHILPOT.

Bio by jampa17

See also:

- Derek Sherinian
- Tony MacAlpine

Planet X official website

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Universe - GermanyUniverse - Germany
Import
Inside Out Germany 2000
Audio CD$16.48
$14.49 (used)
QuantumQuantum
Inside Out U.S. 2007
Audio CD$79.99
$263.64 (used)
Moon BabiesMoon Babies
Import
InsideOut Music 2004
Audio CD$29.20
$12.95 (used)
Live From OzLive From Oz
Inside Out U.S. 2002
Audio CD$47.12
$10.47 (used)
Once Upon A Dancefloor 12 Inch (12Once Upon A Dancefloor 12 Inch (12" Vinyl Single) UK Ffrr 1992
FFRR
Vinyl$5.49 (used)
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PLANET X discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PLANET X top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 83 ratings
Universe
2000
4.03 | 124 ratings
MoonBabies
2002
4.14 | 157 ratings
Quantum
2007

PLANET X Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 32 ratings
Live From Oz
2002

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PLANET X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 MoonBabies by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.03 | 124 ratings

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MoonBabies
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Well you really can't get any more nerdy or tech-oriented in the music world than the kind of progressive jazz-metal fusion that PLANET X delivers. With founder, keyboardist and ex-Dream Theater participant Derek Sherinian in cahoots with animalistic drum machine extraordinaire Virgil Donati and Tony MacAlpine ripping on the guitars, we are guaranteed a jazz-fusion feast of complexity beyond all expectations.

MOON BABIES is the second release by PLANET X and continues the high velocity virtuosic venomous bite that will leave you gasping for air. While Sherinian and Donati are the official members of this band, on this release we get no fewer than three guest bassists including Billy Sheehan (Talas, Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr Big, Niacin, The Winery Dogs), Jimmy Johnson (James Taylor, Allan Holdsworth, Flim & the BB's) and Tom Kennedy.

The music experienced here is an instrumental sonic frenzy and is the epitome of complex music for complexity's sake but that doesn't mean it is devoid of moods, emotional triggers or atmospheres, it's just that those are not the primary focus. I personally am a fan of this kind of music if it is well constructed, well recorded and breathes some creativity into its lightning fast wankery. Generally speaking the bass is the grounding force for all the loose wires on board here. The general gist is to set up a musical platform for the guitar and keyboards to trade off ridiculously fast runs but Donati's rhythmic drumming can become as fast and complex as anything else on board here.

The first time i heard this i wasn't in the right mood and was put off by it but after a few spins and in the right frame of mind i was blown away and find this music exciting and energizing. Jazz-fusion of the highest quality here where Tony MacAlpine's lead guitar can range from placid Allan Holdsworth to the frenetic Steve Vai and back in a nanosecond. Good job guys. Gotta check out the other albums.

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 Quantum by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.14 | 157 ratings

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Quantum
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Planet X third album and so far their latest one from 2007 named Quantum is another worthy journey in prog jazz fusion world with blistering keyboards, drums, guitars and all. Featuring among Sherinian of course and Donati on drums some respected jazz fusion guitarists as legendary Holdsworth and Brett Garsed, both done an excellent work here, while Rufus Philpot is responsable for bass lines together with Jimmy Johnson. Well, this is a fantastic release, full of top notch muscianship just right from the start of the album with Alien Hip-Hop who sets the mood for the rest to come. The jazz fusion elements are melted in a very convinceing way with more edgy parts goint towards prog metal in places, but without sounding like a prog metal band in the end. Some spacey moments apear, quite technical most of the time, this instrumental album desearves recognition for sure. Competent musicins, great ideas and overall crystal sound. A very rewarding band this Planet X, is one of my fav from let's say newer generations of instrumental prog jazz fusion. Quantum is a 4 star album no less no more, even I like little more Moonbabies who is my fav Planet X album and among the top jazz fuison/prog metal album ever made, Quantum has everything to become classic in the years to come. Again a very good art work, CD comes in digipak format from Insideout label..

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 Quantum by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.14 | 157 ratings

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Quantum
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dream Theater side projects and spin-offs are thick on the ground, and I personally find them rather hit and miss, but Derek Sherinian has really landed on his feet with this Planet X deal. What makes Quantum such a joyful listen is its seamless blending of progressive rock subgenres you wouldn't have otherwise expected to work so well together. There's a jazz fusion underpinning to affairs which reminds me a lot of UK - indeed, UK's own Allan Holdsworth guests on a couple of tracks - and the guitar performances tend to be metal-oriented, but the overall aesthetic of the compositions, especially when Derek's keyboard textures come into play, remind me of nothing less than space rock in the Ozric Tentacles mode. On the whole, it's a highly competent album which will appeal to anyone in the market for spacey, technically complex instrumental prog.

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 MoonBabies by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.03 | 124 ratings

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MoonBabies
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Moonbabies' was again produced by drumming legend Simon Phillips, who apparently is quite a fan. Utilising three guest bassists (Tom Kennedy, Jimmy Johnson and Billy Sheehan), this album took fifteen months to write and record and it isn't a joke when Derek Sherinian states that their most exotic time signature is four/four. The band is trying to make music that no-one else can emulate, and with this album they must be pretty close to achieving it. A completely instrumental album, sometimes it just drifts along while at others it is dramatically in your face.

I kept trying to think if they remind me of anyone, but the closest I can come is Steve Vai crossed with Pat Metheny along with some awesome drumming and keyboards. Fave cut is "The Noble Savage" where some noodlings give way to a music that is dark and dynamic, with a locked in style for Tony and Derek.

This is music that is brings together progressive and jazz (while banging just lightly on the door of hard rock) in a way that is complex and complicated and in a fashion that can never be described as background. This is an acquired taste, and will definitely not be for everyone but twenty years after punk the dinosaurs are stirring again.

Originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

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 Live From Oz  by PLANET X album cover Live, 2002
3.68 | 32 ratings

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Live From Oz
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Live From Oz' is the second album from Planet X and contains material reaching back as far as Derek Sherinian's 1999 solo album (somewhat confusingly called 'Planet X') and forward to 'Moonbabies'. Recorded in Melbourne, on the final gig of the 2001 tour, the band were joined by Dave La Rue on bass (Dixie Dregs/Steve Morse). Planet X are an instrumental band comprising Derek Sherinian (keys, ex-Dream Theater, Alice Cooper etc), Virgil Donati (drums, Steve Vai etc) and Tony MacAlpine (guitar).

This is all about music played in very strange time signatures, that is extremely intricate and always at risk of falling over due to sheer note density. It is not easy to listen to and in many ways has more in common with jazz than it has with much of the progressive rock music that is around at present. That all of the band are masters of their instruments is never in doubt, but trying to follow the thread of the melody can be slightly more difficult.

The fact that three of the fourteen tracks are solos for each of the band does also lay them open to the claim of being somewhat narcissistic and self-indulgent, but what saves them each time is that they are just so good at what they do. They are so tight that one cannot help but be impressed. The trick is to listen to this in a darkened room and just let the music sweep over you, particularly on the "Atlantis" suite which is seventeen minutes long

originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

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 Universe  by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.69 | 83 ratings

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Universe
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Formed by ex-Dream Theater keyboard player Derek Sherinian (who has also played with Kiss and Alice Cooper), this instrumental band's line-up also features guitarist Tony MacAlpine (who to date has released 11 solo albums) and drummer Virgil Donati, (there is also a guest bassist, Tom Kennedy). It is somewhat surprising that there is only one longish track, with "King Of The Universe" just cracking eight minutes, but there is no disputing the note density. This hard rocking technically brilliant album is going to impress many people. That being said, it is possible to dismiss this as an ego trip if the critic was so inclined. There is little in the way of passion or soul, but if the listener wants to stand there with their mouth open in awe, then this may just be the one for them.

It is sometimes reminiscent of Colosseum II when they delve slightly into jazz-rock, but by the end of it all I found that I was not only impressed but also bored. It is definitely a CD that can only be digested in small pieces; very much like a rich cake, they have over-egged it. Treat with care.

Originally appeared in Feedback #59

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 MoonBabies by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.03 | 124 ratings

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MoonBabies
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by dtguitarfan

5 stars I have many fond memories of listening to this album while developing pictures in a darkroom, and what a perfect place to listen to music like this - in the odd glow of the red light. This band defies categorization - if someone asked me what style they played I'd have to say it's some sort of Progressive Jazz/Metal Fusion, but whatever it is, it is unique. The team-up between Derek Sherinian, Tony Macalpine, and Virgil Donati is amazing - with the insanely complex poly-rhythms between Donati and Sherinian over-layed by Macalpine's masterful sense of melody, it is a perfect pairing. Macalpine seems to make sense of the odd rhythms of the rest of the band with his melodic guitar and the effect astounds.

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 Universe  by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.69 | 83 ratings

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Universe
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Progressive Metal with jazz flavor, you can't ask for more!

The debut album of PLANET X has a lot of strength, heaviness, groove and jazzy flavor. when I approach an instrumental progressive album, I tend to fear an avalanche of different solos, few logic melodies and a lot of shredding. This is not the case at all with the album UNIVERSE. You can hear songs worked at detail, catchy melodies, a lot of different time signature changes and a musical direction with taste, more than just exercises of pure skills.

Maybe that's way this album is not that popular between metal lovers, which is interesting when you see that the amount of heaviness in the album tend to segregate the jazz fans as well. They choose a dangerous balance of heaviness and jazz groove, well, that's just great for me and I'm sure there's a lot of different twist and turns to any music lover in general. Not as good as it's follower album MOONBABIES, This particular piece is wonderful because the musicians has taste, they never work "too hard -too cool" in this arrangements. Donati, Sherinian and McAlpine seems to have a partnership of years, while this is basically they first album together. The result is great, really, the musicality of the album is everywhere and the band just reached every standard of quality, both of production, sound quality, stimulant purposes that really excite me every time I push play.

On in on, maybe I'm talking too much and saying the same. Well, such is life. I think that if you just put attention to the music and close your eyes, you will have a wonderful journey of sounds and you will have fun along with it, for sure. This is good for both jazz and prog metal fans, maybe a little more pushed to heavy fans, something that they eventually tuned down in their next releases.

Strong 4 stars album, just a bit less tasted than their wonderful MOONBABIES. Hope to hear more of them any time soon.

As an ending, maybe the only problem with the album is that it's too much alike to Derek Sherinian own albums. This music is better oriented, better composed, but sometimes is hard to distinguish some parts of the song. But even like that, it's really and excellent addition to any prog collection. And I'm very glad that this album is part of mine.

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 Quantum by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.14 | 157 ratings

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Quantum
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When I did the review of Where's the Nine's Desensitized album I referred to this near masterpiece by Planet X as main resemblance. Well, I don't like to brag but how right I was I realized when I did my final listening session for the review of this magnum opus by Planet X.

The resemblance is huge really, both albums are probably the best examples of full blooded fusion in metal style containing pretty complex compositions. When I bought Quantum several years ago I wasn't too pleased with what I heard due to lack of nice melodies. Right now I realize producing straightforward melodies isn't the objective of Planet X even though I have to add this Quantum is the only album by PX I know so far.

Anyway, complexity and almost improvising fusion is actually all what this album is about and if you happen to like the style Quantum is just about the best there is on the market I have no doubt. Like I said, a near masterpiece just falling short (same as Where's the Nine by the way) because of the absence of memorable tracks. The power lies in the strength overall, no weak fillers, just great tracks on this one. So 4 stars is the only logical outcome to me.

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 Universe  by PLANET X album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.69 | 83 ratings

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Universe
Planet X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The debut from PLANET X was a pleasant surprise to say the least. I've owned their second album "Moonbabies" for several years and while I liked it, the more laid back tunes did little for me so I gave it 3 stars. As I listened to this for the first time I kept waiting for a mellow track to pop up but none came, it was heavy tune after heavy tune. I really like the way Sherinian plays on this one too with a lot of background synths.The drumming from Virgil Donati might be the most impressive part of this record though.Tony MacAlpine is lights out as usual and we get some guest bass from Tom Kennedy.

"Clonus" has this really good heavy sound to it as synths join in. Guitar comes to the fore after a minute and again a minute later. "Her Animal" has this heavy beat with synths. Impressive. The tempo picks up after 2 minutes. Nice.The guitar rips it up 3 1/2 minutes in. "006 Boots" has this good drum intro as keyboards and guitar join in. I love the way the drums rumble throughout. Synths roll in late. "Bitch" is maybe the heaviest yet as the guitar plays over top. Synths join in too. Nasty stuff. Nice guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. "King Of The Universe" opens with spoken words before the music kicks in around a minute. It settles after 3 1/2 minutes with keys, drums and guitar. It picks up 5 1/2 minutes in and we get some excellent drum work a minute later.

"Inside Black" has more heaviness with lots of bottom end. "Europa" is more uptempo with keyboards and drums leading.The guitar comes in over top with some screaming attacks. "Warfinger" is dark and experimental then it picks up but it's still dark and heavy. The guitar is crying out. "Chocalate" must be the dark and heavy kind. The guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in sounds amazing. "Pods Of Trance" is more uptempo. This is aggressive especially the guitar. It settles before 2 1/2 minutes with synths and drums. The guitar returns to change that. "2116" opens with synths, keys and drums that build. A change 2 minutes in then it settles again 3 1/2 minutes in before picking back up a minute later.

I much prefer this heavier style. A very solid 4 stars.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to CCVP for the last updates

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