Derek Sherinian is one of the most significant keyboard players of our times. He has been a key contributor in several different bands and worked with artists such as Alice Cooper, DREAM THEATRE, KISS and Billy Idol. He has also worked on at least seven solo albums, including Planet X, Mythology and Oceana 2011, with help of other musicians. This new album The Phoenix is his most recent offering to the world of music and has seen him bring together some great talents in the world of music.
The main collaborator on this endeavour is Simon Phillips on drums. Having worked together on his previous works Phillips is quoted as stating “I feel he brings out the best from me in terms of composition, playing and engineering. The partnership just works!”. Having such good chemistry between them allows the flow of creativity and inspiration which has made this an interesting album. Whilst these two play in on every track there are also a mix of other artists on every track, these being: Zakk Wylde – Guitar, Billy Sheehan – Bass, Armen Ra – Theremin, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal – Guitar, Jimmy Johnson – Bass, Steve Vai – Guitar, Tony Franklin – Bass, Ernest Tibbs – Bass, Joe Bonamassa – Vocals, Guitar and Kiko Loureiro – Guitar. This input up from such a range of artists and instruments (In my opinion there is not enough use of Theremins in the music industry) allows for a great sound scape to be created.
On this album, almost all the tracks are epic instrumental pieces with one track, Them Changes, having vocals on it by Bonamassa. The vocals on this track are overpowered by the great bass riff. The main line plays through the track and tickles the soul in a delightful tingling, its almost reminiscent of classic rock that seems to have been forgotten in this day and age. This is my favourite track on the album for this reason, the lyrics are almost unneeded as the music is so strong on its own.
In a way, the lack of lyrics on this album allows you to relax into the music more as you don’t have the focus on trying to make out the lyrics and means of the track, you can just sit back and let the music roll over you in waves of pleasure. The riffs and melodies on these tracks are very reminiscent of early LED ZEPPELIN with great rolling waves of guitar and keyboard, the mix of different inputs create a wide space of sound. It creates a feeling of space in my mind, allowing the music to wash over me in a rapturous movement of sound.
I think the effort put into this album is amazing and the hard work pays off. It creates an old school feeling with a modern twist. I think that this is a very robust album and any fan of rock will be glad to add this to their collection. I am going to score The Phoenix an 8/10 and recommend that all take time to enjoy this work.
Words: Steph Warren
The Phoenix is out now.
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