5/4/2005 - Review by: Vinaya Saksena
Derek Sherinian - Mythology - 2004 - Inside Out Music America
Derek Sherinian, keyboardist to the stars of heavy metal (Alice Cooper, Dream Theater, John Sykes, etc.) is seemingly one of the precious few artists who still can or will produce such a quality and quantity of material. Just one short year prior to this release (2003), the man released "Black Utopia", a fine collection of heavy prog and fusion-influenced instrumental rock that boasted a star-studded roster of guest musicians. Among the renowned super-players who contributed to that excellent release was beer-crazed Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society guitar hero Zakk Wylde. The Wylde one repeats his guest appearance on "Mythology", as does Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jerry Goodman, and a host of other hot rock and jazz players. And as the similarly talent-inundated lineup would indicate, "Mythology" is, for better or worse, basically a cookie-cutter replica of Black Utopia.
Interestingly, Sherinian and Wylde seem to have formed a strong musical bond during the making of the last album, and thus one noticeable difference here is that Wylde seems to have been given a more dominant role on this album, even stepping up to the microphone on the album’s lone vocal track, “The River Song,” a strange, Sabbath-like plodder (with a couple of lines worth of words repeated throughout) that could just about fit on one of Zakk’s BLS albums. (Note: Another track features Wylde’s former cohort, Brian Tichy on drums and very Zakk-like guitar.)
As is usually the case with these virtuosic instrumental rock projects, a healthy amount of stylistic diversity is pursued, this time entailing Flamenco (courtesy of Steve Stevens on “El Flamingo Suave”), classic jazz-fusion (on “A View From The Sky”) and even gospel (“Going To Church”). At the same time, however, Sherinian and friends go for a considerably heavy approach, detuned axes included, as witnessed on the crushing “God Of War,” which features two of shred guitar’s most Over the top icons- Wylde and John Sykes- wailing in tandem. Overall, I feel that the compositional quality and feeling of inspiration on this album is a notch below the kick-ass muso rock of Black Utopia. Still, for those who love flamboyant displays of musicianship, this album has much to offer, while also including the necessary elements for a more universal appeal.
5/4/2005 - Review by: Ken Pierce
Derek Sherinian - Mythology - 2004 - Inside Out Music
“Day Of The Dead” is no-nonsense and perhaps my favorite track on the entire CD. Zakk lays down some killer guitar riffs and I admit reaching for my air-guitar for this one in particular. When you combine this with the magic of Allan Holdsworth you can see why it rocks so much. It is also the most epic of the pieces on the recording running a full 8 minutes plus. The Prog-head might enjoy that there is a lot more difference on this piece than the straight-forward heaviness of the last CD “Black Utopia” (also on InsideOut Music). Songs that try a little difference are most apparent in “El Flamingo Suave” and “Goin To Church”. “Flamingo” employs a lot of Latin flavors while “Church” could almost pass for a slow Steve Vai tune. People don’t always realize that sometimes where seems to be a guitar, it is actually Derek on the keyboards.
“One Way Or Another” is interesting in its use of violin by Jerry Goodman. There are also some fast movers as well like “God Of War” and “Trojan Horse”. Overall the CD does not disappoint and the booklet has a nice little Derek Sherinian “Bandology”. You can trace his career from this point with no difficulty. I look forward to Derek’s future since the past has become a memory. One that can be reflected upon with pride and inspiration.
-- Ken Pierce 04.07.05
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