[Review] Derek Sherinian – The Phoenix

The eccentric keyboard player from Laguna Beach Derek Sherinian, a musician well known by Prog fans, 9 years after the release of “Oceana,” is back with a new solo album. “The Phoenix” released on September 19, 2020 via Insideout Music and available in Limited Edition Digipak CD, LP + CD and Digital Album, contains 8 tracks of medium duration for a total of just over 40 minutes. An album that attracts many expectations, duly met with a mix of high-level techniques, ideas and plots, with the collaboration of some of the most illustrious names of the current music scene. The opener and title track “The Phoenix” features a bursting bass by Billy Sheehan and Van Halen style guitar parts that intertwine with Derek’s keyboards in a sublimation of technique and virtuosity. The rhythmic session is articulated and creates the ideal conditions for the solo inserts and melodies developed during the piece. “Empyrean Sky” is a pleasant intertwining of Derek’s keyboards and Bumblefoot’s guitar, companions in Sons Of Apollo, creating a sci-fi sound atmosphere full of positive ideas. The excellent technique comes out and the affinity between the two musicians shows itself in all its glory, a track that can be one of the highlights of the album. Solid grooves with thde drum and killer basslines by the other guest Jimmy Johnson give an extra touch to this track. “Clouds of Ganymede” features sonic traits closer to Fusion, with another guitar giant, Steve Vai, who designs complex solos and pure technique alongside Derek’s keyboards. The intensity increases with the passing of the minutes as the plots thicken, always very accurate and pulled to the extreme, an extract of pure technique and quality. “Dragonfly” is another example of Sherinian’s ductility, this time on the Piano, in a more Jazzy piece supported by Ernest Tibbs on bass with deep, leading lines. The rhythm session is completed by Simon Phillips who offers one of the best rehearsals of the album, with an elaborate and refined drumming, although the shorter track is always very incisive and enthralling. “Temple of Helios” connects in the intro to the finale of the previous one, which again sees the presence of Bumblefoot and Jimmy Johnson, returning to more Prog / Fusion terrain. This track gives the right space to all the instruments, with an excellent organ solo followed by a short but intense drum, and then another guitar in the final, also short but rich in technique. “Them Changes” is originally a Buddy Miles tune from 1970, finely reinterpreted here with Joe Bonamassa as a guest offering excellent vocal and Blues guitar soloing. In the final part there is also space for an intertwining between the Hammond and the guitar in an enthralling solo, a truly engaging track, a very interesting version. “Octopus Pedigree” starts off strong and takes us back to a more Prog terrain with Fusion veins, where Bumblefoot’s massive guitar duets best with Derek’s keyboards. The rhythmic session is solid, with tempo changes and interventions that are always precise and which are an added value in the track. The excellent link between guitar and keyboards comes out also here both in the softest and in the strongest parts, always however very elaborate and sometimes intricate. “Pesadelo” last track and last guest of the album, Kiko Loureiro, which is also the longest piece. A track with Heavy veins given above all by the guitar, and by a powerful rhythm session. In the central part they surprise us with an interlude of Flamenco, magically inserted in a song that soon returns with power and valuable organ, synth and guitar solos to close this valuable work. An engaging album with tracks that once again show the talent of one of the leading musicians of the current music scene and his guests. The expectations we said at the beginning of the review have been met, and the album is a succession of elaborate and refined emotions and ideas. One of the best listen of recent times, absolutely recommended to all lovers of Progressive sounds, and another excellent chapter in Derek Sherinian’s discography.

Tracklist

1. The Phoenix (5:24)
2. Empyrean Sky (3:56)
3. Clouds of Ganymede (6:02)
4. Dragonfly (3:46)
5. Temple of Helios (6:01)
6. Them Changes (5:28)
7. Octopus Pedigree (5:04)
8. Pesadelo (6:55)

ā€œThe Phoenixā€ is available from here: https://dereksherinian.lnk.to/ThePhoenix

Derek Sherinian |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

InsideOut Music |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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