The profile of keyboard player Derek Sherinian is probably at an all-time high, what with his membership of rock supergroup Black Country Communion. Their two albums have charted across the globe, and there's a live DVD on the way, so what better time than to punt out a new solo album. And, wise man that he is, that's exactly what he's done. Of course, even with his Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Yngwie Malmsteen pedigree, there's no guarantee that an instrumental keyboard album will get the punters excited. No, what you need are some top notch guest guitarists to add their widdle, where appropriate.
So, say hello to Tony Macalpine ('Five Elements', 'Mercury 7'), Toto guitarist Steve Lukather ('Mulholland', 'Euphoria', 'Seven Sins'), ex Billy Idol bandmate, Steve Stevens ('Ghost Runner', 'Oceana',), Whitesnake man, Doug Aldrich ('El Camino Diablo') and Black Country Communion compadre Joe Bonamassa ('I Heard That'). So that's the guitar fans sorted out. Now, what about some tunes.
Well, you won't be surprised to learn that it leans towards fusion and progressive rock, because that's where the musos go when they want to show off to everyone. And, to be fair, he's got plenty to show off about as the opening number, 'Five Elements', amply demonstrates, with some phenomenal percussive work from drumming legend Simon Phillips, who plays on the entire album, in fine style. If you're looking for some fine fusion, then the Steve Lukather tracks are your best bet, with the mellower 'Euphoria' the best of them.
My particular favourite was the stompingly enjoyable `El Camino Diablo` which gives Whitesnake man Doug Aldrich plenty of time to demonstrate his technical abilities away from Sir David Coverdale. The Joe Bonamassa track, 'I Heard That', is also a cracker, and shows Bonamassa veering away from his usual style into the realms of mid-seventies Jeff Beck. Bass duties are split between Jimmy Johnson, who has worked with the likes of Platypus, Albert Lee and Roger Waters, alongside Tony Franklin (Roy Harper, The Firm, Blue Murder), and they hold down the bottom end admirably.
Although it's an instrumental album, things never veer over into self indulgence, with the tracks all rooted in melody. It's a treat of a record, and one that comes highly recommended.