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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Derek Sherinian – Oceana album review

Derek Sherinian – Oceana album review
Released on: Mascot Records. Release date: Available now.

Former Dream Theater and current Black Country Communion keyboards wizard, Derek Sherinian has pulled together a host of great players to accompany him on his latest solo album adventure.

 ‘Oceana’ is the man’s seventh solo album, not bad eh?
This album features Derek on keyboards throughout and Simon Phillips (Everyone ... Seriously!) as the drummer on every track, not to mention co-writer on seven of the nine songs here on display.
Other tracks feature the bass work divided up between Tony Franklin (Blue Murder) and Jimmy Johnson (Rodger Hodgson, Allan Holdsworth, Planet X, James Taylor), and guitar guests of likewise the highest calibre!

None other than Tony MacAlpine, Steve Lukather, B.C.C. fellow player in Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Stevens and Doug Aldrich, providing all the great lead work.
 From the get go I must tell you – That wouldn’t know … - that this as previous expeditions is a purely instrumental affair.

Opening track ‘Five Elements’ is a tasty piece of interesting edgy at times, jazz rock, with great licks throughout from each player and throughout the album Derek’s playing is simply fantastic, matching anything his guitar guests throw in there, by one means or another and dare I say eclipsing at times!

‘Five Elements’ features Tony MacAlpine and it’s great alongside Johnson on bass here.

Next track ‘Mercury 7’ certainly makes you think it could work great in any Sci-Fi movie, with the insane keyboard antics and this one features again the same line up as the previous track.

It’s funny as next track ‘Mulholland’ featuring Steve Lukather on guitar sounds just like it could fit on any Luke solo album. Awesome playing as ever, clever stuff, matched of course by Sherinian’s own magic.
‘Euphoria’ sounds atmospheric to the point of almost being (Pink) Floyd like to be honest and yes, Luke appears again here.
  I really do enjoy, nay, love Luke’s guitar solo work and always have.
His sound / style as a player for me is only equaled by Michael Schenker as ultimate players in their own rights. Schenker was my favourite player for the longest time, but in recent years, Luke’s playing really gets to me and this beautiful track really opens up for me. Excellent guys!

 ‘Ghost Runner’
 I have to say starts and leads with an almost Luke like style initially again, but it’s not! This time Stevie Stevens steps in and really rips it up here and there, it’s a real rockin’ number with Derek really shining too!

OK, I’ve not praised Simon Phillips really yet, but you know, he’s my favourite all time drummer to be honest, since Cozy Powell departed this planet and yes, they are two completely different styles, but there’s something I hear in Simon’s playing that ignites memories for me. Brilliant! Tony Franklin finally joins the party here.

Whitesnake and former Dio player Doug Aldrich takes the ‘lead’ role – cough! – next with some phenomenal playing from Derek again and Doug shine well too on ‘El Camino Diablo.’ Nice work guys, on a kind of funkier style number.  

It’s funny, without looking at the player info on this I just knew it had to be Joe Bonamassa, with the overall bluesy style on ‘I Heard That.’ That said, you could almost hear Luke play something like this too to be honest.

Luke returns to play on ‘Seven Sins’ next, which leads off with some strong synth work at the offset and yes, once more, faultless playing throughout by Luke, Derek, Jimmy Johnson and Simon.
It’s a really enjoyable album and I say that as someone that prefers rock and AOR vocally driven releases!
Final track is the title tune, ‘Oceana’ starting in a Floyd like manner much like ‘Euphoria’ and nice work from Stevie Stevens, that kind of reminds me a little of Gary Moore(RIP).
To be honest, I hear that a lot in Tony MacAlpine’s style here and there too.
  The track soon opens up to elaborate a little more as it goes on. Nice stuff!
I’m sure Derek is extremely proud of this album, I certainly would be
  Rating: 4 out of 5

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