While making a transition from supporting glam-rock superstars such as Alice Cooper and the band Kiss, keyboardist Derek Sherinian subsequently sewed some hard-core prog roots during his stints with modern rockers “Dream Theater” and more recently, “Platypus”.
With this newly released second effort titled Universe, Sherinian, guitarist Tony McAlpine and the thunderous drummer from down under, Virgil Donati get straight to the point in a hurry and an ear twitching flurry. Here, the mighty trio who call themselves “Planet X” pursue odd metered time signatures, strenuous unison runs and rigorous soloing yet display a good constitution for purposeful thematic development in accordance with a distinct sense of appreciation for compositional form. At times it is difficult to distinguish between super-fast guitarist McAlpine from MIDI specialist Sherinian yet the duo often trades passionate fours along with the unexpected deviations from the norm. Throughout, Donati is a supercharged dynamo as he augments Sherinian and McAlpine’s tricky maneuvers and impossible rhythmic structures yet the drummer also displays shrewdness and maturity as a power drummer who combines subtle nuance with impressive pyrotechnics.
Essentially, Universe should not only satisfy technically inclined prog-heads yet may also enlighten those who feel that they’ve heard it all. Hence, “Planet X” seemingly parallels these rapidly changing musical times at an often mind-boggling and altogether supersonic pace. Recommended!
* * * * (out of * * * * *)
1) Clonus 2) Her Animal 3) Dog Boots 4) Bitch 5) King Of The Universe 6) Inside Black 7) Europa 8) Warfinger 9) Chocalate 10) Pods Of Trance 11) 2116
Derek Sherinian; Keyboards: Tony MacAlpine; Guitar: Virgil Donati; Drums. Special Guest: Tom Kennedy; Bass