Sherinian, Derek - Blood Of The Snake

Year of Release: 2006
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 253
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:00:00

Armed with an impressive cv that saw him collaborate with rock legends such as Kiss, Alice Cooper, Dream Theater and Billy Idol, glamorous king of the keyboards Derek Sherinian is most certainly more of a flamboyant rock star than anything else. In Dream Theater he was replaced by Jordan Rudess who has more of a classical background, whilst with his Planet X outfit Derek tends to explore the boundaries of fusion rather than delve into the deep end of the rock spectrum. Apart from all his collaborations, there is this urge to regularly release pure solo albums delivering the kind of music he can record with an array of diverse musicians he has become friends with over the years.

The album opens with an in your face rock song which has Derek deliver the kind of hooks you'd associate either with Jan Hammer or Jeff Beck. Here Derek is accompanied by chops courtesy of John Petrucci. When you hear "Man With No Name," you'd think Ozzy is helping out, but he's not. You're close though as the voice and guitar you hear is that of Zakk Wylde, taking the song and sound right into Black Sabbath territory. As he sometimes does, Sherinian adds touches of Arabian atmospheres in his playing. Talking of diversity, "Phantom Shuffle" introduces jazz, which sees Derek play his synths delivering kind of a saxophone sound turning the song into something which could be expected from a band like Spyro Gyra. Together with the powerful rhythm section, keyboards are used as percussive instruments during the album's title track.

The calm "On The Moon" puts Tony Franklin's playing in the picture whilst Derek delivers jazzy piano. That jazzy element is enhanced when Derek's Armenian roots shine through the gypsy approach by means of violin and a rhythm belly dancers would kill for. In order to fit in with the person Yngwie Malmsteen, a tune has been composed which fits him like a glove. The song is called "Viking Massacre" and contains an impressive rhythm section and lightning-speed guitar playing. In total contrast to all the rest of the music comes the final "In The Summertime." Those of you who witnessed the seventies remember this as a huge hit for Mungo Jerry. Apparently Derek has loved this song since he was three, which to me still isn't enough to include it on an album like Blood Of The Snake. A few years ago Billy Idol sang this song during a soundcheck, which is when the idea to record a cover version of it happened. Sung by Billy Idol and with Velvet Revolver's Slash on guitar, the song will even be released as a single by Inside Out together with a radio edit of the Zakk Wylde sung "Man With No Name." When you play "In The Summertime," you'll see that it suddenly stops whilst there still is more than two minutes of playing time. Sit still and listen till the very end. That's all I can say. Blood Of The Snake is a great package of pure rock magic with Derek Sherinian mainly playing a secondary role in order to let his buddies steal the show. If you know Derek only from his Planet X or Platypus connections do sit down first and check this album out. That is if you can sit down in the first place, as this beauty sure kicks ass. Partytime with Derek? Yeah!

Czar Of Steel / Man With No Name / Phantom Shuffle / Been Here Before / Blood Of The Snake / On The Moon / The Monsoon / Prelude To Battle / Viking Massacre / In The Summertime

Derek Sherinian - keyboards
John Petrucci - guitar
Zakk Wylde - guitar
Yngwie Malmsteen - guitar
Simon Phillips - drums
Tony Franklin - bass
Brad Gillis - guitar
Brian Tichy - drums

Special Guests:-
Billy Idol - vocals
Slash - guitar

Dream Theater - A Change Of Seasons (1995)
Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity (1997)
Dream Theater - Once In A Livetime (1998)
Planet X (1998)
Platypus - When Pus Comes To Shove (1999)
Planet X - Universe (2000)
Platypus - Ice Cycles (2000)
Inertia (2001)
Planet X - Live From Oz (2001)
Planet X - Moon Babies (2002)
Black Utopia (2003)
Mythology (2004)
Blood Of The Snake (2006)
Planet X - Quantum (2007)
Molecular Heinosity (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 27th 2006
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg
Artist website:
Hits: 1728
Language: english


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