Derek Sherinian - Molecular Heinosity (Music CD)

Release Date: 14 May 2012
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The vast majority of progressive metal has been vocal-oriented, but Derek Sherinian is a rare example of a prog-metal instrumentalist, and that has worked out well for the former Dream Theater keyboardist because it has given him a comfortable niche. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that more than a few of Sherinian's admirers have described him as a keyboardist who identifies with guitarists as strongly as he identifies with other keyboardists. Clearly, Sherinian enjoys a strong rapport with guitarist Zakk Wylde on Molecular Heinosity, a 2009 release that blends prog-metal with an awareness of the shredder school of instrumental guitar rock (as in Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Randy Coven). Jazz fusion is also an influence, which makes sense given the impact that Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Chick Corea, and other keyboard virtuosos had on fusion. But despite having a keyboardist in the driver's seat, the self-produced Molecular Heinosity still sounds like a guitar album above all else, and Sherinian's keyboards have a very guitar-minded quality on instrumentals like "Wings of Insanity," "Antarctica," and "The Lone Spaniard" (which sounds like a metal interpretation of something Corea would have done with Return to Forever in the 1970s). Molecular Heinosity does have one lone vocal number: the closing track "So Far Gone," which recalls Ozzy Osbourne's years with Black Sabbath and finds Wylde singing lead. Wylde's very ironic performance comes across as a parody of The Oz, but an affectionate, respectful parody rather than a condescending parody; in other words, Wylde gives the impression that he holds classics like Masters of Reality and Paranoid in high regard. It's no coincidence that "So Far Gone" is positioned at the end of the 39-minute CD; Sherinian obviously doesn't want us to forget that this an instrumental outing first and foremost. Molecular Heinosity is an enjoyable, if brief, reminder of how well prog-metal can work without vocals. ~ Alex Henderson
Release Date: 14 May 2012

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Catalogue No: 0500132