Reviewed by: John “Bo Bo” Bollenberg, 12th April, 2002
A parcel arrived containing a CD-R of what is entitled Live From Oz. On the back of the envelope, in handwriting that gets close to that of a surgeon, I could locate the name of Derek Sherinian. The “leopard” man himself had taken the trouble of burning me a copy of a hot steaming night in June 2001 at the Corner Hotel, Melbourne, Australia. Mixed by Simon Philips this collection mainly contains material from the Universe album, the long “Atlantis” suite from Derek’s solo album Planet X and solo spots from the three icons of Planet X. The most interesting track however is the first song on this album “Ignotum Per Ignotius.” This track is going to be featured on the upcoming new Planet X album to be called Moon Babies so it’s always nice to hear a brand new track in order to know “wot’s cooking’ in the Hollywood Hills!
Whilst this little gem has been doing its fair amount of rounds in my CD-player, the album finally gets a well deserved official release sporting exactly the same tracklisting and material. Out on the “home of prog” label Inside Out, the album perfectly illustrates the strength of the Planet X formation which has now become Derek’s absolute priority. The one thing that strikes me, though, is the fact that the title for the brand new track has now changed from ‘Ignotum Per Ignotius” into “Ignotus Per Ignotium.” As I’m not a specialist in this field I leave it up to the experts to decide what the difference is. From a musical perspective though it’s a perfect combination of all the right ingredients mixed into a concoction which can only be described as Planet X. Whereas one would think it’s down to drums and guitar to keep the basics and have keyboard player Derek Sherinian shine througout this album, you’re wrong, as Derek is mainly there to keep the rock beast howling, all the time without having to go over the top with incredible solos. When you think of solos then chances are they will come courtesy of Tony MacAlpine such as during “Inside Black.” As someone who has been part of the travelling circus around superstars such as Kiss, Alice Cooper and Dream Theater, Sherinian knows he has a role to play that doesn’t necessarily give him the authorisation to get out of obscurity and absorb all the spotlights. So he’s constantly laying the foundations together with the powerful drumming of his buddy Virgil Donati. Together they deliver a full sound giving enormous space to MacAlpine for him to do whatever he wants. Just take “Dog Boots” as a fine example, with guest Dave La Rue grabbing some attention on bass as well.
Each of our three “heroes” get a solo spot and in the case of Derek he uses it not to illustrate his speed on the keys but to demonstrate the use of musical colours, which straight away lead into the rather dark “Warfinger.” as if the stage is surrounded by soldiers and tanks. In fact “Warfinger” acts as the song blending all three solo spots together because right after the first take of the song all the spotlights are shining on the many cymbals and toms Virgil Donati has brought with him. By means of “Warfinger Reprise” acting like a “bridge,” the song gives way to a thundering guitar solo from Tony MacAlpine in which he illustrates what a great talent he really is. Our three friends really steam during the final section of this album with tracks such as “Her Animal” and “Europa” with some heavy dark organ following the lead. Maybe a live album was a bit too soon but then again there was sufficient material handy and these guys really know how to entertain. However I’m rather curious to hear what their new album will sound like now that we have witnessed a small preview in the form of the opening track. Planet X: could this be the male Ars Nova? Sherinian’s dream to create the world’s sickest instrumental band in the world has come true. Maybe his metal fusion might soon be called “puke’n roll”? Now pass me the sick bag.
More about Live From Oz (CDR):
Track Listing: Ignotum Per Ignotius (7:46) / Inside Black (5:16) / Dog Boots (3:55) / Atlantis : Apocalypse 1470 BC (6:24) / Sea Of Antiquity (4:20) / Lost Island (6:21) / Derek Sherinian Solo (2:41) / Warfinger (4:36) / Vigil Donati Solo (4:) / Warfinger Reprise (1:52) / Tony Macalpine Solo (4:14) / Her Animal (4:40) / Europa (4:20) / Pods Of Trance (8:08)
Derek Sherinian – keyboards
Tony MacAlpine – guitar
Virgil Donati – drums
Dave La Rue – bass
Source : ProgressiveWorld.net