Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 11/9/2004
posted on 12/2004 By:
Well, well, well. All this time I thought Derek Sherinian was just a former Dream Theater keyboardist continuing to make music after his firing prior to the band recording Scenes from a Memory. Little did I know that he was quite the accomplished musician well before that, playing with the likes of Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Band of Gypsies, and that his solo material took on quite the non-keyboardcentric stance. While the keyboard definitely lays the foundation on his latest release, Mythology, it is ultimately his guest musicians who are allowed to shine throughout these nine tracks (eight instrumental and one with vocals).
“Day of the Dead” starts things off with a very cool keyboard intro before the rest of the band kicks in – and lo and behold, there's Zakk Wylde lending his signature guitar style, squeals and all. While he delivers the crunch here, virtuoso jazz guitarist Allan Holdsworth provides more mellow, yet equally impressive moments in the track, creating an impressive dichotomy that helps give the track more of the feel of an actual song rather than a piece of composed music. “Alpha Burst” takes on something of a space-age feel with a futuristic keyboard sound and the more straight-ahead styling of Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens. “God of War” brings Zakk Wylde back into the picture, this time sharing guitar duties with John Sykes (Thin Lizzy/ex-Blue Murder/Whitesnake). At one moment around the two-minute mark, the primary players create a chaotic vibe that actually sounds a bit like a war (this track also features Marco Mendoza on bass).
OK, now we get into a bit of diversity here, which is always nice. “Goin’ to Church” is a laid back piece that has Sherinian using both a standard keyboard sound as well as that of a church organ, with some soaring, arena-style guitar work from Steve Lukather (Toto), and gospel-style vocals thrown in for good measure. “El Flamingo Suave” is, as you might have guessed, a Spanish-flavored acoustic track featuring some impressive, if not unlikely, work from Stevens. Holdsworth reappears on “One Way or the Other”, a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on a mid-era Dream Theater album were it not for the electric violin, courtesy of Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra). “Trojan Horse” brings back the crunch with guitarist Brian Tichy and Mendoza and some Eddie Van Halen-inspired leads. Heck, it even sounds like early Van Halen. “A View from the Sky” brings back Stevens once again on a serene track that has just a hint of new age in his leads.
Now we come to the end of the album and the proverbial “sore thumb” – “The River Song”, once again featuring Zakk Wylde not only on guitar, but lead vocals, which makes this one sound like a Black Label Society outtake, perhaps as the lone electric song which ultimately didn’t make the cut on Hangover Music Vol. 6. It’s an odd yet fitting way to end, although it does go out on a bit of a down (read: mellow) note, after some of the heavier moments on the disc, but since it IS the odd song due to the vocals, why not close with it?
Thus ends our journey through Derek Sherinian’s latest opus. I’m so glad this wasn’t just a keyboard album, or any sort of wankfest, as many instrumental albums ultimately are. It’s got diversity and solid playing that never detracts from the song itself, just like an instrumental album should. Plus, with its diverse stylings, it will appeal to fans of several genres rather than making this just another album for prog/prog-metal nerds.
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