CD review DEREK SHERINIAN ‘The Phoenix’

Hard Rock and Metal, that means guitar riffs and a roaring rhythm section, all with an iconic frontman in the center. Often placed in the background and away from the spotlight are keyboarders and their instrument.

All the more it is important that top line keyboarders step out of the shades to promote instrument and sound. Derek Sherinian is one of these keyboards, known from his time with bands like Dream Theater, Black Country Communion and Sons Of Apollo.

From time to time, Sherinian also works on solo releases of which ‘Planet X’ was the first one in 1999. ‘Oceana’ was the latest one and 11 years later the next keyboard-fireworks is on the way. ‘The Phoenix’, a title based on proposals from fans via Facebook, is Sherinian’s newest strike, featuring eight new song.

The core team, being responsible for the album, is next to the iconic keyboarder also drummer Simon Phillips. The duo took care about the general song patterns and melody lines while giving space to numerous guests to add their piece to the mix. So, who are the guests? Popular and well-known musicians joined Sherinian on the album, guys like Zakk Wylde, Bumblefoot, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa and Kiko Loureiro, just to mention the guitarists. Next to the axemen the bass guitar is handled by Jimmy Johnson, Tony Franklin and Ernest Tibbs.

The songs on ‘The Phoenix’ are all top notch and also fans of good music, not being musicians themselves, can get something out of the album. Although being a bit more complex, songs like ‘Dragonfly’ start to shine when giving the song the needed time and focus. Mentioning time, ‘The Phoenix’ is the opposite of musical fast food. It asks for an investment in time, something challenging and great in days of a very short span of attention in general. What listeners get in return are blossoming songs. One of these tracks, standing out a bit from the rest, is ‘Them Changes’. The bluesy track is the only one that comes with vocals, perform by Joe Bonamassa himself. It shows in a way the musical variation of songs on ‘The Phoenix’ by not challenging a good flow

‘The Phoenix’ is an exciting album, surely for fans of the involved musicians. But the target group is much wider. Everybody that calls him-herself as a passionate fan of well-crafted Rock music should have listened to this album and not just heard about this record.

Rating: 8 out of 10.


  1. The Phoenix
  2. Empyrean Sky
  3. Clouds of Ganymede
  4. Dragonfly
  5. Temple of Helios
  6. Them Changes
  7. Octopus Pedigree
  8. Pesadelo

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Instrumental Rock/Metal

Release Date EU: September 18th, 2020



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