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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Random Album Review: Black Utopia by Derek Sherinian

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Band: Derek Sherinian
Album: Black Utopia
Genre: Instrumental Metal/Rock
Release Date: April 29, 2003
Label: InsideOut Music
Producer: Derek Sherinian, Simon Phillips

Tracklist:
01 The Fury
02 The Sons Of Anu
03 Nightmare Cinema
04 Stony Days
05 Starcycle
06 Axis Of Evil
07 Gypsy Moth
08 Sweet Lament
09 Black Utopia

If you were to tell me that a former Keyboardist for Dream Theater started a solo project I wouldn't think twice about it. Then you tell me that the Keyboardist got some of the best guitarist around to play with him; throw in a basses that has been in so notable a bands and then a beastly of a drummer. Now you have my attention.

The guitarist that I am talking about are Zack Wylde (Black Label Society and Ex-Ozzy Osbour/ne), Yngwie Malmsteen (Ex-Steeler, Ex-Alcatrazz, and a solo project of the same name) and Al Di Meola (Solo project of the same name). And have Simon Phillips on drums who has played for a ton of bands. This a good combination on its own. But then make it a instrumental album and you have all of the musicians really shine.

The album starts off with "The Fury" with Malmsteen playing a nice little solo, its pretty good. Then it goes into "The Sons of Anu", with I did a little research on and it is broken up into three parts:  
I. For the Glory of Enki
II. Of the Ashes of Ur
III. Return of the Nephilim
I couldn't really tell if the sound was broken up until about half way into the song with Al Di Meola played a little acoustic part. But still a really solid song. Then come "Nightmare Cinema" with one of my favorite guitarist playing, Zack Wylde. He has the sound that when he plays you just know it is him. And I love how when he played on this album that he didn't try to change that.

Now I know what you might be thinking, "If Zack Wylde and Yngwie Malsteen are on this album together do they do a song together?" The answer is "Hellyeah they do!" With the beast of a song too, "Axis of Evil." They are trading off solos. And with both of the signature sounds it is easy to tell which one is playing. 

I am not giving that much credit to Steve Lukather (Guitarist) and Tony Franklin (Bassist). They both do a really good job in this album. Tony has some really good bass parts. And Steve plays in 3 songs (Stony Days, Starcycle, and Sweet Lament) Three pretty good songs.

Overall the keyboard doesn't take too much from the guitars and the guitars don't take too much from the keyboard. Pretty much a perfect mix of all the instruments. It know no wounder why this is his top selling solo to date. It is just good.

Rating: 9/10

Favorite Songs: The Sons of Anu, Nightmare Cinema, Starcycle, Axis of Evil, Black Utopia

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