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Stratospheerius picture
Stratospheerius biography
US band STRATOSPHEERIUS developed from the solo career of Joe Deninzon, who released his first solo album back in 1998. The sophomore production "The Adventures of Stratospheerius" came in 2002 and a live album appeared next in 2004, the first disc that actually credited Stratospheerius as a band alongside Deninzon but which consisted of material from Deninzon's solo albums.
The first standalone Stratospheerius album was "Headspace" from 2007, and for the Progarchives website this album is the production that separates the solo career of Deninzon and the history of Stratospheerius as a true band unit. At this point the members were Joe Deninzon, Mack Price, Bob Bowen, Lucianna Padmore and Benny Koonyebsky. A five year long recording break followed this release, bassist Bowen passing away due to a car accident an event that had a serious impact on band proceedings for obvious reasons. In 2012 Stratospheerius returned with the CD "The Next World​.​.​.", the band now a quartet consisting of Joe Deninzon, Aurelien Budynek, Jamie Bishop and Lucianna Padmore.

STRATOSPHEERIUS Videos (YouTube and more)

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
3.20 | 5 ratings
The Next World...
4.68 | 6 ratings
Guilty of Innocence

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

2.00 | 1 ratings
Live Wires
5.00 | 1 ratings
Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius: Behind the Curtain (Live at ProgStock)

STRATOSPHEERIUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STRATOSPHEERIUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

STRATOSPHEERIUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Frame by Frame
0.00 | 0 ratings
Storm Surge
4.00 | 1 ratings
Cognitive Dissonance


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius: Behind the Curtain (Live at ProgStock) by STRATOSPHEERIUS album cover Live, 2023
5.00 | 1 ratings

Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius: Behind the Curtain (Live at ProgStock)
Stratospheerius Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars When violinist/singer Joe Deninzon was teaching at The New School in New York he came across Alex Skolnick (yes, THAT Alex Skolnick) who was on one of his breaks from Testament and was studying jazz guitar, and together they recorded an album and formed a band called Stratospheerius. The band has been through a few line-up changes over the years, but recently can be found with Joe alongside drummer Jason Gianni, bassist Paul Ranieri and guitarist Michelangelo Quirinale. This four-disc set from Melodic Revolution Records captures two different Progstock concerts, from 2019 and 2021 and includes a CD of each, alongside a DVD and blu-ray, presented nicely with a small booklet.

To write the review I am listening to the audio but must confess I have been mostly watching the concerts on TV as the multi-camera recording has fully captured a band who are very much in their element, bouncing off each other and having a great time. Each of those involved is a wonderful musician, and I think Joe is possibly the only violinist in the world who plays a custom 7-string for the most part, with a strap which allows him to have both hands free as opposed to having to hold the violin at all times. One of the beauties of the visual is that not only do we see the interaction but also the backdrop videos, which sometimes get put into the main feed and their addition is fascinating.

Musically the guys are very much a prog band who enjoy long instrumental passages, yet they can also be surprisingly commercial and also enjoy bringing in jazz. The 2019 set finds the band mixing and melding their fusion style, and the harmonies on opener "Behind The Curtain" are wonderful, and I have found myself returning to that song time and again as it is such a blast, but being honest I often find that whatever song I am playing is my favourite, and "The Prism" is an amazing way to bookend the set. The threads are insanely complex and complicated, and how Joe manages to sound so composed while he is singing yet is demolishing his violin at the same time is totally beyond me.

While the first set is sublime with the band at full speed, the second set is somewhat more fractured just because Joe is extending what the band is doing. For "Storm Surge" they bring in pianist/flautist Rachel Flowers which adds a totally different element of the band, and then there is a full reset for a take on Chick Corea's "Spain". Here Joe moves onto a normal violin, Alex Skolnick joins on acoustic guitar, and they then work with Rachel to produce a jazz masterclass ? with Rachel being blind it is interesting to note her piano was at a different angle to normal with both Alex and Joe taking their cues from her at all times. The quartet resume with a blistering take on Muse's "Hysteria" before Alex returns on electric to play "Heavy Shtettle" for the first time in 20 years.

This is an absolutely glorious set from a group who consistently deliver. It is perhaps no surprise at all that Kansas chose Joe to replace the departed David Ragsdale as violinist on their 50th Anniversary Tour. That is amazing news for him, but let us hope it is not too long until we get more music from these guys, as this collection is just stunning.

 Cognitive Dissonance by STRATOSPHEERIUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2021
4.00 | 1 ratings

Cognitive Dissonance
Stratospheerius Crossover Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

— First review of this album —
4 stars (Anti)Social Media

Call Me Crazy

No, really. You won't be the first, nor will you be the last. So go ahead.

Use (anti)social media if you like! In fact, right here on this site you can connect and comment on a leading platform hosting enormous flame-wars, maybe even encouraging them.

Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius have been a going concern since 2004; Joe has been 'fiddling' around for a lot longer, and hanging with some pretty illustrious musical company. Do names like Springsteen, Everclear, Renaissance, and The Who ring any bells?

Yup, "the Jimi Hendrix of the electric violin" has hung out with these and more.

But Back to Crazy

(Anti)Social Media kills. I don't think this is an exaggeration. Nor do I think it's an accident that platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter are owned by mega-gazillionaires, who prefer that the average 'Joe' stays blissfully ignorant of all the divisive, hate-inducing, fire-breathing madness you can find within 1.2 seconds by using uber- intrusive GOOGLE search.


Joe Deninzon has the temerity to notice! "Cognitive Dissonance", the latest track from this sizzling crossover progressive act- music/lyrics by Joe- hones in on the tragic outcomes on both the granular level (innocent BFF's polluted by prejudiced rage-filled parents), yet aware of the larger consequences of social destruction, and yes, murder.

January 6, 2021 Anyone?

"COGNITIVE DISSONANCE" opens with a punchy full-band riff, then Deninzon's vocals roll right in, telling the story I've been alluding to all along. Randy McStine adds his voice on the second verse.

The music is filled with hooks, funky rhythms, catchy lyrics- all of which unfortunately spell out- as prophets are cursed/blessed to do- the insanity of the times in which we're living.

Joe's violin wails, the full band pokes and prods and propels the action, and "hatred is taught".

The little ones don't emerge from the womb spewing venom, hatred, racism, and fascism.

"Safely Behind Our Screens"

You know the trope: little punks in mom's basement are emboldened to write the most outrageous filth, and at worst, take certain calculated actions to unmask the privacy of their victims so they, their family, and their safety can be shattered.

There's a wild electric violin burst which subsides until the electric guitar hits a riff over an acoustic guitar strum.

It builds with the tasty drumming leading to an ever intensifying duel between electric violin and electric guitar, sometimes in harmony, then criss-crossing and yes, battling. Higher. Hotter. Flame-wars.

(Anti)Social Media

Tired of this theme yet? Me too.

Sick to death- it takes lives. And the antidote?

The Brave Ones

The ones who notice, who speak out, who name what is happening, like we hear in "COGNITIVE DISSONANCE".

 Guilty of Innocence by STRATOSPHEERIUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.68 | 6 ratings

Guilty of Innocence
Stratospheerius Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Joe Denizon is a highly acclaimed electric violinist, who performs in various different bands and multiple sessions, and when he is with progressive rock/crossover group with Stratospheerius, he also provides lead vocals. The line-up is completed by French guitarist Aurelien Budynek (Cindy Blackman, Vernon Reid), bassist Jamie Bishop (The Syn, Francis Dunnery), and drummer Lucianna Padmore. There are a few guests also involved, and I notice that one of these is guitarist Alex Skolnick, who most people will recognise as being from Testament, although he is also involved in multiple other forms.

When I look on ProgArchives I note that there are four albums, including this one, and I am somewhat at a loss to realise that not a single one has ever had a rating put against it, let alone a review. How can it be that music as good as this just never gets appreciated by the very people who would love this if they came across it? Okay, so that same is true for me as this album was released in 2017 but I have only just heard it, and already I am wondering what the others are like. One of the issues with this is where to start when trying to describe it, as there are just so many differing styles at play. The easiest is when they are in the funk groove, as that is definitely 'Slam' era Dan Reed Network, but when they head into highly complex and intricate runs all I can come up with is Steve Vai-ear Zappa, if Vai played violin instead of guitar.

At the same time all of the music is highly melodic, and just so damn enjoyable to listen to. It is polished, it is powerful, and I find it impossible to listen to it without moving some part of my body. This is infectious, with no cure in sight. The arrangements are tight, everyone bounces off each other, and is one of the most poptastic progressive album one is likely to come across. They state that their influences include Yes, Spock's Beard, Muse (there is a cover of 'Hysteria' on the album), Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and King Crimson but surely we must add UK, Jean Luc Ponty and so many, many more. Awesome.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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