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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Derek Sherinian

Planet X

Review by Gary Hill

This one really comes as a surprise to many. Coming from such gigs as Alice Cooper`s band and Kiss, when Sherinian joined Dream Theater, he was perceived as more the rock and roll type of style, and less prog. With Planet X, Sherinian really sets that notion on its heels. This album is far more progressive rock oriented than the majority of the music out there. Combining fusion elements with sounds such as UK, Dregs and Bruford solo work, this album is a wonderful surprise and quite magical. If I would change anything about the disc, though, there would be two alterations. At just under 50 minutes, it could stand an extra track or two. Also, vocals on a couple of numbers might add a bit of variety. Still, even considering those two elements, this is certainly one of the best prog albums to come around in a long time. Sherinian`s cohorts on this release are Brett Garsed, Tony Franklin and Virgil Donati.

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

Track by Track Review
Atlantis-Part 1
Starting in a UKish mode, the cut then settles into a very powerful groove for a time, still containing those UKish elements. Continuing to evolve, a fusionish atmosphere takes over from there with some furious riffing. Very powerful jazz and prog stylings carry the remainder of this movement. The ending sequences of this movement include a very potent, before UKish tones bring it down and carry it into Part Two.
Atlantis Part 2
Atmospheric and ethereal keyboard tones begin this segment, leading to some wonderfully emotional and beautiful piano based moments. As the guitar enters, the composition takes on elements that make it feel almost like a cross between Pink Floyd and Al Dimeola. The Floyd elements really do take a solid hold for a time. More UKish moments come back as the cut draws to its conclusion.
Atlantis Part 3
This segment features more wonderful prog stylings with evocative and potent keyboard work and interesting rhythmic structures that really entertain. This piece is very powerful progressive rock that seems to captivate and excite. More strong jazz stylings are also present here. Crimsonish and Yesish at times, this one contains somewhat dark tones, and features plenty of original prog stylings, too.
Crab Nebula
Atmospheric and somewhat psychedelic tones start this track, which then moves into very fusion oriented prog territory. This brief tune is a very powerful progressive number reminiscent of Bill Bruford`s solo work and UK.
Box
Box is fast paced Brufordish prog with a nice hard edge. It is not quite metallic, but definitely a hard rocking number. This one has some wonderful changes and a very dynamic melody line.
Money Shot
A driving rhythm section carries this fusionish riff based number to almost dizzying heights. This is one to really get the adrenaline going. The mode is somewhat Dregsish with some wonderful prog textures.
Day In The Sun
Beginning with a very Tony Levinish bass tone, this tune quickly evolves into some very strong fusion work. The song really takes the whole fusion vein in new and very entertaining directions, and features a wonderful keyboard solo with some seriously meaty tones.
State of Delirium
Powerful and somewhat dark tones begin this one. A UKish atmosphere resides here, in fact, this one seems to capture all the drama and mystery of UK with a harder edge.
Space Martini
This fun, groove-oriented track is a solid prog piece with very entertaining textures.
Brunei Babylon
Bass dominated potent prog begins the cut, which then explodes off into more fusion/prog fury to end the album in wonderful fashion.
 
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