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Derek Sherinian

Mythology

Review by Gary Hill

This Derek Sherinian disc is just getting the reissue treatment. It’s one that, for one reason or another, didn’t get covered first time around at Music Street Journal. So, that makes this the perfect opportunity to get this reviewed. It’s a killer set, but then again, all Sherinian albums are. It runs from metallic sounds to fusion and progressive rock, but mostly lands in the prog zone. Sherinian has assembled quite a cast of musicians here including: Zakk Wylde, Steve Stevens, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Lukater, Tony Franklin, Marco Mendoza, Jerry Goodman and Simon Phillips. This comes highly recommended.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Day of the Dead

The keyboard sound that starts this could be described as “mean.” As the rest of the musicians join this pounds out into a jam that combines a modern metal approach with something like a proggy version of Deep Purple. It’s a screamer that’s very classy. After the three minute mark it slows down and gets mellower. Yet, it’s still mean and heavy in a lot of ways. We’re taken into some great melodic explorations as this continues. There are hints of world music and symphonic elements that are brought into the mix. Then around the five minute mark everything but the guitar drops away and we’re taken into thrash territory. That gets shifted more towards fusion, but keeps on screaming, from there. It keeps shifting and changing as it continues. There is a nearly full-on metal section further down the musical road, but then the keyboards bring more of that Deep Purple reference. Then it gets into fusion-like territory again.

Alpha Burst
Although this still has a metallic edge, it’s closer to a pure fusion sound. It has more of a groove to it and is a more straight-line piece. That isn’t to say there aren’t shifts and changes, because there are. It just tends to be a little less dynamic than the opener was. It is also quite a bit shorter. This has some killer melodies and works really well.
God of War
They bring this one in extremely heavy, pounding it in with a real metal sound. This is frantic, furious and pretty amazing. The keyboards bring the progressive rock elements and this screamer just plain rocks.
El Flamingo Suave
A Latin fusion sound opens this on percussion at first. Then other instruments join and it feels like a Samba. This continues evolving and more than anything is a jazz number. It even includes some scat singing. The piece is both powerful and beautiful and includes some of the coolest melodies of the album.
Goin' To Church
As one might guess from the title, the keyboard sounds that open this are very much in line with gospel music. The guitar, though, is more like a slow moving guitar hero kind of sound. This really becomes a cool melodic exploration, bordering along progressive rock and fusion.
One Way or the Other
Firing out with some seriously tasty fusion, this is fast paced and meaty. The violin on this is a great touch. The whole thing is just such a cool jazz exploration. It’s perhaps not as flashy as some of the other stuff, but it’s actually one of the more intriguing and different pieces.
Trojan Horse
In stark contrast to the jazzy modes of the previous number, this powers in with some real metal fury. As it continues that sound is merged with progressive rock to create another smoking hot jam. This perhaps makes me think a bit of Dream Theater, but with more fusion in the mix, too. It does drop back to mellower territory later, though, landing closer to pure fusion for that side-journey.
A View from the Sky
Mellower and slower, this number is pretty much pure fusion. It’s got some shifts and turns, but in many ways represents a bit of reprieve from some of the craziness on the disc. It does have some moments that land more on the progressive rock end of the equation, though. It’s also got some of the tastiest melodies of the set.
The River Song

A real change, this is a very Black Sabbath / Black Label Society kind of song. It’s got vocals and is a real metal stomper. Of course, given that the song was co-written by Zakk Wylde who provides the vocals, that BLS comparison makes perfect sense.

 

 
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