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Planet X

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Planet X MoonBabies album cover
3.98 | 167 ratings | 27 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. MoonBabies (5:38)
2. The Noble Savage (6:12)
3. Ataraxia (6:16)
4. 70 VIR (4:00)
5. Micronesia (5:56)
6. Interlude in Milan (4:29)
7. Digital Vertigo (4:23)
8. Ground Zero (6:01)
9. Midnight Bell (3:54)
10. Ignotum Per Ignotius (9:29)

Total Time: 56:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony MacAlpine / guitar
- Derek Sherinian / keyboards
- Virgil Donati / drums

- Tom Kennedy / bass (1,4-6,10)
- Jimmy Johnson / bass (3,7-9)
- Billy Sheehan / bass (5)

Releases information

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 106 (2002, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PLANET X MoonBabies ratings distribution

(167 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

PLANET X MoonBabies reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars Planet X's MoonBabies is among the most technically proficient albums of all-time. Virtuosos Derek Sherinian (keyboards), Tony MacAlpine (guitars), Virgil Donati (drums) team up with a few bass masters (as they did not have a permanent at the time) to perform their unique, highly demanding and complex jazz-metal fusion.

The compositions here are mind-boggling. Filled with bizarre beats, odd times/polyrhythms galore (Sherinian once said "Our most exotic time signature is four"), virtuosic guitar and keyboard work, atmospheric syth backdrops, and more. For a musician, it doesn't get more difficult than this. Some critics say Sherinian is doing this to one up Dream Theater in the technical department. Don't mind such criticism; it really is inconsequential. Furthermore, as I read the linear notes, Donati is the prime writer here. Out of spite or not, Sherinian proves his excellence. MacAlpine's soaring leads and magical solos are very prominent, and hardly ever can be considered "mindless shredding." The melodies and solos from all instruments are very inspired and enthralling. Everyone holds their own here, as is mandatory for such music.

Their debut effort, Universe, was rather bland and also much less technical throughout. MoonBabies is more varied, unique and accomplished. All of the tracks are on the same level of quality. There is more focus on theory and atmospheres than melody. The melodies are there, but they are sometimes hidden by the foreground activity (there is a lot to take in on this album). As a result the listener may feel an emotional void, or may lose interest towards the end. Call it complex for the sake of being complex if you wish, but I see much more.

Review by imoeng
4 stars MoonBabies

Ahh, my first fusion band album. To be honest, this album is not my favorite, since I don't really like fusion or jazz rock but I decided to make this review. The album was released in 2002, along with another album, Universe.

In the making of MoonBabies, there were three main people in the band, Virgil Donati (drums) which was in Steve Vai's band, as well as Tony McAlpine (guitars), which now still in Steve Vai band. Another member is Derek Sherinian (keyboards), former Dream Theater keyboardist in two of their albums, A Change of Season and Awake. There were three bassist involved in the making of this album, Billy Sheehan, Tom Kennedy and Jimmy Johnson. So by looking at these names, you can predict what the style of the band is. Derek Sherinian, was more into progressive metal with Dream Theater. Tony McAlpine was very into rock and roll and jazz just like Virgil Donati. Billy Sheehan was absolutely the best rock and roll bass player.

For me, I consider this album more into progressive metal rather than jazz rock/fusion because of the songs are heavier than fusion songs. However, there are still some jazz elements in the song.

Well I am not very familiar with many fusion songs, but I think the songs here is really good, also really progressive. Means that a lot of odd time signature changes, also, the most noticeable time signature changes are from the drum sections. This point can also showcases every member of the band that you all know playing a song with lots of different time signature is not easy whatsoever. The techniques of each personnel are also amazing, great guitar solos and rhythms, strange awesome keyboard synths and solos and ultimate crazy beat changes of drum sections.

My favorite song in the album is Ignotus Per Ignotium. The song really represents the skills and techniques of each member, really an amazing song. Another thing to notice is, the last song, The Noble Savage, is really a pure jazz song, deep jazz guitar style along with groovy drum riffs, really great.

I give four stars to this album. I wish I could give five, but it such a shame that I don't really familiar with fusion songs. However, just by listen to the songs in this album, I really could appreciate fusion even more, really amazing techniques and feeling throughout the album.

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars An extraordinary album that highlights the skill of in my opinion, the most critcally underappreciated drummer of modern time. To me, what lacks in this album and in this band is the distinguishability of the 3 instruments/personas, that make the songs more difficult to focus on. Donati is amazing, but there's got to be more substance for me.

Techinically, it's very stunning, but they won't be the first to be stunning and won't be the last. I don't feel you should set out to write in certain time signatures, rather you should write music and find what fits best. Sometimes I get the feeling that a song is written in 13/8 just to be written in 13/8. Many good and amazing moments here, but the album never reall has "clicked" with me and I find it shallow and dull in some spots.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. There is no questioning the talent of these three guys, and for me as a guitar fan the work of Tony MacAlpine is truly the highlight of this record. Tony is a talent as he plays the keyboards (not on this record) and has done so on a couple of Vinnie Moore records and also on three of the G3 releases, he's also produced albums in the past. The first two songs are amazing along with the final three, but with the other five songs being so-so in my opinion so I just can't reward this with 4 stars.There is a definite Fusion flavour to this album but it's the heavier songs that I like the best.

Highlights for me are "Moonbabies" with some good atmosphere early before it kicks into gear. A nice heavy sound here. Complexity rules after 2 minutes then back to the main melody 3 1/2 minutes in. Nice bass a minute later. "The Noble Savage" begins with a jazzy feel that leads to some intricate guitar and drum patterns.The guitar soars before 3 minutes and themes are repeated.

"Ataraxia" boasts lots of time changes, while "Micronesia" begins with spacey keys which is the best part of the song for me. "Ground Zero" begins with drums as the guitar comes in making some noise. I like when the song settles. "Midnight Bell" becomes pretty heavy with a powerful ending. "Ignotum Per Ignotius" features some scorching guitar and heaviness, the perfect way to end this ride.

Certainly an enjoyable album for me at times just not consistantly.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A spectacular dreadnought of a band, these three gifted men have created some of the best heavy fusion on the planet - perhaps *the* best - and it behooves you to look into this record. Like some mutant child of Colosseum II and Liquid Tension Experiment, this band will take on all comers and rip them a new one with amazing polymeters, facility, drama and chops of awe. I suppose if you prefer either straight ahead fusion or prog metal you may be let down but for those with a craving for something new and astounding in jazz-metal, look no further. The word is that Holdsworth will be replacing MacAlpine on their third studio release...and that's O.K. with me.
Review by b_olariu
4 stars What to say about such an album. Super from the first note to the last. Is very hard today to bring something new in jazz-fusuion after some fabulous bands in the '70 who rule the jazz scene, i'm talking about Brand X, Bruford, Return to Forever, Dixie Dregs, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Al DiMeola, Jean Luc Ponty, to name the greatest of the '70. After all Planet X did a great job, finding the right signature and perfect mood for each piece, creatind a magic album not only in jazz, in fact is not really a jazz album is more prog metal with jazz elements. With such musicians is clear that we have a great album. I recommend this one not only for fusion fans but to whole fans of instrumental albums and to all who hear good music. Forte tracks, all , but , Moonbabie and Ataraxia i find the best, the rest is obvious good. 4 star to this one. Recommended.
Review by sean
4 stars When Derek Sherinian formed this band he stated that he wanted to be the sickest instrumental band on the planet, and it is apparent on the Planet X releases that he is attempting to do so, whether successfully or not so is up to the listener. Moonbabies, though in the jazz/fusion sub genre, seems to lean a lot towards progressive metal, with jazz elements such as odd chord changes being used. The only moment it really seems like they are playing true jazz is the intro to The Noble Savage. Musically, this is an extremely technical instrumental album, with lots of time changes and shredding type solos. Each musician is one of the best in their field, and they bring a variety of sounds to the band. Sherinian likes to do atmospheric parts and his solos are often in the fashion of a guitar, Tony MacAlpine is one of the best guitar shredders out there, and has a unique neoclassical/jazz type style, and Virgil Donati is just a monster behind the drum kit, making so many of these odd times sound natural. All of the songs are solid, although I don't know if any really stands out as a top track for me (if I had to pick it would probably be Ignotius Per Ignotium), and there's not too much variation between the songs in terms of style, and because of that I'm only giving it four stars.
Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ever heard the song Tumeni Notes?

Well, it doesn't matter, I was referring more to the title anyways. The play on words of too~many~notes is exactly what I think whenever I listen to this project. Brimming with talent, Planet X is the (moon)baby of ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian and Tony MacAlpine on guitar - and they really wanted to do something complex here. In fact, that was the actual mission statement of the band going into the recording studio, they wanted to make something monstrously complex. Call it self indulgent or call it pretentious, (the prog world certainly has heard those words enough that hearing it again isn't going to bring tears to the eyes of the artist) it really doesn't matter because if there's one thing you can't take away from these boys is that they really know how to play. If there's one thing that you can't deny when listening to this album it's the skill behind the instruments, and that is something very respectful indeed.

The music on the album is very well planned as well. It really is a crazy mix of prog metal and jazz fusion with a hint of Dream Theater thrown in there for good measure. The songs are all fairly short, the longest being around 6 and a half -ish, meaning that there's no winding epics for the artists to go on, so in that respect they've (*gasp*) restricted themselves. To compare them to anything I'd have to say, ''it's like Weather Report meets Liquid Tension Experiment in space''. These guys know structure, and they're heavy as hell. Anyone who likes a dominant keyboard and a strong lead guitar will find themselves drawn towards this one.

And yet, there's something about it which never demands more. Listening to the album there's an overwhelming feeling of the evil 'wall of sound' that so many albums fall victim to. After a while it becomes hard to pick out one song from another until about the sixth of seventh listen when they start to become different tracks. Really, the album turns into one nice big slush of progressive jazz metal.

Still, it has its ups again. Much like other virtuosos in the field of instrumental albums these guys know where to put the hooks and the catchy bits to make you bob your head along. This one is ultimately very good, but it will find more fans among those who really like their music overly and purposefully complex. 3 moons out of 5 - recommended, but more for people who really like instrumental virtuosos showing what they can do.

Review by jampa17
4 stars Top class of music... somekind of overlooked here...

I wonder always what makes Liquid Tension Experiment so loved between the prog fans and this project, Planet X, is not with the same success... really... sure Portnoy, Petrucci and Rudess don't have rivals on their particular instrument... but Planet X manages to make more tight and well constructed songs... They do not just play extremist solos, the fastest, the heavier, the toughest... they just play good on what the music needs... that's why I loved this album...

Comparissons aside... the album has tight composition, great solos, good mood through the whole piece... great sounds for Sherinian, who prubes once again he's capable to play good, not just soloing... and when he does it... my God... is great... full of energy and very heavy for a keyboard player... I like more his style than Rudess... guess we can't stop comparing them... Rudess is faster and maybe better in every technic department... but just try too hard to be over the top... here Derek shows that sound and soul matters... besides, Macalpine and Donnatti manages to make and incredible journey...

Guess the difficult thing here is that the album is quite complete, that you cannot point at one particular song or solo and say "This is the best"... no... the complete album is great so you have to diggest the complete piece and some maybe doesn't feel so comfortable with so jazzy sound...

Well... at the end, this is a heavy production, with great production and sound quility at it's very best... tight composition... not a single mistake I found... just that is no so prog and more fussion and that's why so many people are missing out these guys... give it a try.. you should like it... four stars... great addition to any prog collection... for sure...!!!

Review by kev rowland
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

Review by siLLy puPPy
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.

Latest members reviews

4 stars In response to someone saying things sounded "disjointed", I think/assume/feel I know where he is coming from. Between Donati's much more complex drum modes, Sherinian's incredibly dense compositions of angular, stop-n-go-stop-go-go-stop-break-GO! frenetics of one onslaught after another, (w ... (read more)

Report this review (#2582218) | Posted by JazzFusionGuy | Thursday, July 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Heh heh, look - these guys are undeniably good musicians who can really rip, and I can certainly appreciate that. When I find myself getting temporarily bored with the typical prog and fusion played in the 1970's style, I'll turn to the likes of Finneus Gauge, Satriani, Hellborg, Syzygy, Rush or ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441411) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 P ... (read more)

Report this review (#752347) | Posted by dtguitarfan | Saturday, May 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Two Stars, For collectors and fans only. I'm obviously a collector/fan of Dream Theater and Derek Sherinian, so I collect anything related, which is why I have this album, and the only real reason. I found this album extremely boring... I mean, it's mildly entertaining, when you hear all th ... (read more)

Report this review (#202977) | Posted by HammerOfPink | Monday, February 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars some one need to invent a new word to describe this album, becouse the words amazing, brilliant, and beautiful are not enough! each one of the band members broth something from himself to this album. Tony MacAlpine, Virgil Donati and Derek Sherinian are true virtuosoes, and i love each one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#167613) | Posted by bluesynight | Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Just as they put warning labels for parents in stores just to attract the spoiled, musicaly uneducated and overall pretty unsophisticated generation to listen more crap, MoonBabies should display a label "For true lovers of total music only".... All the other reviewers pretty much said all the ... (read more)

Report this review (#133699) | Posted by andympick | Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars just perfect! is a "journey" was a new experiencie for my...i didnīt know this kind of fusion music....the trio is simply the most incredible that i ear in my life...i listen one and another time and ever i find some new! macalpine fly in his guitar with exelents melodies, riffs and ... (read more)

Report this review (#83320) | Posted by Masquerade | Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Planet X's second release, "Moonbabies", is one of the best jazz-rock/metal fusion albums, I've ever heard. I love Jazz, no doubt, but this is even a step higher. It is more complex and demanding and is very exciting. Imagine some of the Tony MacAlpine solo stuff and add Virgil Donati's incred ... (read more)

Report this review (#64053) | Posted by W.Chuck | Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Too purposive prog music for me. They are very skilled, but thereīs not so many songs which i'll remeber tomorrow. And guitarīs sound is something what i don't like. BUT the drummer is fabulous!!! Iīve heard so much better pieces... Sorry, fans! ... (read more)

Report this review (#63710) | Posted by Toomio | Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've only recently come across this site and Mr. Sherinian, so I could be accused of not being entirely up to speed, but "Moonbabies" has forced itself on to the CD player virtually everyday and I hadn't done that since 1978 listening to "Xanadu" by Rush! Never heard anything quite like it and ... (read more)

Report this review (#46875) | Posted by | Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are very few albums which,in my mind, have completely changed how I percieve and even write music. Every song from moonbabies to ignotus per ignotium is perfect. Moonbabies, is the opener of the cd and is one of the most complex songs on the cds. It gives a good overview on what is comm ... (read more)

Report this review (#42287) | Posted by Chris88 | Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've discovered this band (formed by genial Virgil Donati and Derek Sherinian) thanks to a concert held in my city last (Taranto) year. So, a friend suggested me to buy this album: in this way I discovered an amazing music: soflty aggressive but never heavy or difficult to understand. the best ... (read more)

Report this review (#11124) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Want to hear some REAL prog metal? Get this album by Planet X. Most other bands in this genre are just metal bands trying to sound progressive, but never quite breaking out of the metal mold, including the 'sacred cow' of prog metal, Dream Theatre. I don't see what the hype is all about, they ... (read more)

Report this review (#11123) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars when Derek Sherinian formed Planet X, he said that his goal was to form the "sickest instrumental band on the planet." after hearing this album, i think he's achieved that goal. this album is just insane. it may be confusing to people used to boring time signatures like 4/4. somehow, they mana ... (read more)

Report this review (#11122) | Posted by | Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When you hear at first time this album you could say, what hell am i hearing?Many high- speed parts are so incredible and exciting. Planet X in this album are so great but they are essential a live group where they can explain better their caractheristics of great tecnichal solos.I saw them las ... (read more)

Report this review (#11121) | Posted by fred84 | Monday, November 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Moonbabies is shockingly good stuff which in some ways revisits and in others, completely departs from Universe. It is clear from the outset however, that Moonbabies presents a fully-realised and fully-unleashed Planet X. No previous recording delivers the compositional and production excell ... (read more)

Report this review (#11120) | Posted by | Wednesday, September 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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