Platypus was a short-lived supergroup formed by Ty Tabor (King's X), Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs), John Myung and Derek Sherinian (both of Dream Theater at the time of formation). Ice Cycles was the 2000 follow up to 1998's almost as humourously named "When Pus Comes To Shove". Dream Theater enthusiasts will likely already have spotted from those dates that Platypus ran almost parallel to Liquid Tension Experiment and Mullmuzzler, side-projects of Dream Theater's other members.
This album doesn't sound like Dream Theater or LTE, however. The majority of the album consists of vocal tracks whose sound is dominated by Ty Tabor resulting in a sound similar to King's X and especially similar to Ty's solo albums. The other 15-16 minutes of the album consist of the instrumentals "25" and "Partial to the Bean" (the latter split into seven tracks). On the instrumental tracks there appears to be a lot more resemblance to Derek Sherinian's solo projects, such as Planet X, though the distinction could be made that Platypus' instrumentals are possibly a little more melodic and soulful without challenging the listener as much, the atmosphere mostly provided by the dominant trademark keyboard sound of Sherinian though will satisfy his followers and does put some much needed distance between Platypus and King's X. (Existing fans of Sherinian aware of some of Tabor's work may be anxious to be reassured that he does play with some suitably chunky distortion for the instrumentals that fits well with Derek's sound.)
However, as a result of the vocal/instrumental split of tracks, when listening to Ice Cycles it kind of sounds more like an album split between Ty Tabor and Derek Sherinian than an individual band with a unique sound in its own right. Myung and Morgenstein do an acceptable job in the rhythm section with some characteristic flourishes of talent, but ultimately appear to have relatively little effect on the end sound overall. This album is, therefore, a good pick up for any fan of Tabor, appropriate for the 'slightly-more-than-casual' follower of Sherinian and only essential for harcore followers of Myung or Morgenstein. However, it is also a very good way for complete strangers to Tabor and Sherinian's separate solo careers to get a bit of an idea what each sounds like in one purchase.
Ice Cycles has some good material, particularly the instrumentals, but by no stretch of rational imagination could I class it 5 stars.
What can you say about this release? It surprised me when I heard it!!! Dream Theater mixing with the likes of Kings X. The songs are very punchy for something classed as Progressive rock, but it is refreshing. Oh God starts the CD off with a perfect keyboard intro, before the guitar sound bursts in and then everything calms down for Ty Tabor to bring his cool vocal into the mix and so the rest of the album goes through the motions but never sounds dull although the final instrumnetal is a little bit long. But if you like Dream Theater, Transatlantic and Kings X, you will not be disappointed.
Second album from this interesting great sideproject including members of legendary heavy rock band KING'S X and prog rock metal band Dream Theater. this one is probably better produced, more slick, defined, but shorter. It is very suprisingly good sounding heavy rock tunes, with a number of instrumentals between which are slightly heavier on this album than the last. Very good album, very different. Great modern fun prog heavy rocking tunes. Some stunning rock moments.