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Derek Sherinian

Molecular Heinosity

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve been a big fan of Derek Sherinian for years and it seems like every album he does is a climb above the one that preceded it. Well, with that sort of track record you had to know that eventually it would end. For my money this is that point. I would consider this a bit of a step down for Sherinian. It’s not that it’s a bad disc – far from it. It’s just that he’s been lifting the bar so high, eventually it would be tough to get over. The disc just seems a bit ordinary and a little too pure metal for the high standards his previous works set. I’d have to say that were it not for it being a Sherinian disc (we tend to put members of prog bands’ releases in progressive rock) I’d probably put this in heavy metal. Sure there’s some fusion and more proggy stuff, but I think that the metal really dominates. This is quite a strong disc, it’s just not Sherinian’s best. I believe that this one is another that has a whose who of guests, but my copy doesn’t give that information.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Antarctica
This is a powerhouse fusion jam that’s not short on the jazz or the rock elements and has plenty of crunch.  Different instruments lead the way and varying excursions are built into the path, but this is one coherent and cohesive instrumental journey.
Ascension
Essentially a short textural connecting piece this reminds me of something from a Jonathan Elias album – mind you with a bit more crunch added to the mix. There is some melody but it seems mostly about the mood and tone.
Primal Eleven
One of the more purely fusion like jams on here, this is a real killer. In many ways this feels like a continuation of the opening number. There are some more purely prog rock melodic sections in this, too. Parts of this sound a lot like UK. There’s also a slower, almost bluesy section later that has bits of Pink Floyd – sitting alongside Satriani and Vai in its mix. There’s a drum solo and metallic grind later, too.
Wings of Insanity
Here we get a cut that’s far more metallic. This one is a real screamer and yet there’s plenty of fusion on hand, too. It’s a killer number that could have forced this disc into the heavy metal category. At times I hear Black Sabbath at other points Stone Temple Pilots. It’s very definitely thrash like. 
Frozen by Fire
Take some guitar shredders and add some more melodic elements to their fiery metallic mix. You’ve got a good idea of what this track sounds like. There are some epic metal like passages in this, too. 
The Lone Spaniard
Here’s another that’s quite metallic, but it’s also got a lot of classical music woven into it. I’d see this as being very close to the guitar hero type music, but also with some serious epic metal elements.  This is proggy, but not prog. It tends towards the more mellow type of soundscape for a good chunk of its length. 
Molecular Intro
Only about a minute in length, the first half of this is basically sound effects. The organ sounds in the rest of this introductory piece remind me of Close to the Edge era Yes or even Boston. There are metallic fusion-like guitars here, too, though, tieing into the piece that it’s paired with. 
Molecular Heinosity
They fire out into some more seriously metallic music as the real track kicks in and this is another that’s closer to the heavy metal title than it is the prog rock one. This seriously screams and does manage to run more into fusion-like territory later.
So Far Gone
A dark, and yet sedate, keyboard line starts things here and holds it. The vocals enter and it’s got an Ozzy sort of feeling to it. This really feels like a more prog rock oriented early Black Sabbath track. There are also bits of space rock flirting around the edges. They power it up after a while but keep it as basically an anthemic ballad. It turns out into some Eastern tinged world music stylings for a while and they fires out into a pure metal jam. Still we get bits of fusion over the top of this. While this is a bit different it’s also my favorite cut here. It makes its way back to the song proper after a while. It turns quite classical at the end. It might not be the most obvious choice to close out the disc, but it works quite well in that slot.
 
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