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The Phoenix


Artist: Derek Sherinian
Label: InsideOutMusic
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 18 September 2020

InsideOut Music releases The Phoenix, by Rock keyboard player Derek Sherinian. It is his first solo release since 2011’s Oceana. Mega-session drummer Simon Phillips who plays on the album also co-writes and co-produces it. The record features a number of recognisable great Rock musicians, including Joe Bonamassa, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Tony Franklin, Jimmy Johnson, Billy Sheehan, Ron Thal, and Megadeth’s Kiko Loureiro. The track listing includes a cover of the Buddy Miles song 'Them Changes'. The Phoenix is available on Digipack CD, 180g LP/CD, and for Digital Download...

I was looking forward to this one, intrigued by what this talented collection of musicians can do when thrown together. The downside for me is that this album has both feet firmly in Prog Rock territory. In fact, this music isn’t so much Classic Rock – as I expected – as Freeform Jazz. I enjoy instrumental releases, but for me this one has too much keyboard twiddling, and it’s the guitars which are somewhat more restrained and help ground the whole. Keyboards, of course, take centre stage in an arena where anything goes to the point you have no idea what fits and what doesn’t. This takes the Prog Rock aspect to new levels of confusion.

There are moments which seem to incorporate recognisable hooks, before quickly going off-piste. What lets a lot of this music down is the attempt to cram in as many notes as possible much of the time. Crazy keyboards are occasionally joined by more sane guitar accompaniments. 'Dragonfly' tries to do an Emerson, Lake & Palmer for the piano intro eccentricities. In fact, this is utilised as a central theme. The drums of Simon Phillips are the solid constant here. Ironically, the aforementioned cover of 'Them Changes' is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable tracks, as it establishes groundwork for the instrumentalists to build on.

'Pasadelo' is the final offering, and the best of the bunch by far. This one has more energy to the guitar-based riff and so is more to my liking. It also has light and shade, with acoustic Mexican-style guitar which is very nice. The keyboard break has more of a mystical feel about it, rather than coming across like it’s made-up on the hoof. The Phoenix has its moments; however, overall I found it a disappointment.


Ty Power

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