Every year, consumers see any number of albums re-issued from a variety of artists, groups, and bands. The reasons for those re-issues are as varied as the re-issues themselves. It goes without saying that among that annual mass of music, some of it is worth the purchase, while some of it is not as worthwhile. Keyboardist Derek Sherinian saw all of his solo releases re-issued this week. Those albums are among the re-issues that are worth purchasing. This is especially the case for those that are long-time fans of his music. Sherinian proved throughout each of his solo releases that he was just as good on his own as he was with any of the bands and artists with whom he had already worked over the course of his career. One of the best examples of that talent is his 2009 release, Molecular Heinosity.
Molecular Heinosityis the fifth and most recent of Sherinian’s solo releases. As with his previous four solo releases, this record is largely an instrumental release. The sole song on this album that includes any lyrics is one of two pieces he recorded with long-time friend and Black Label Society front man Zakk Wylde. The song in question is ‘So Far Gone.’ Audiences will also be interested to note that Brian Tichy joins Sherinian on this track. Tichy has also played drums for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, and Zakk WYlde on Wylde’s 199 release Pride& Glory. Most recently, Tichy played with the hard rock supergroup Something Unto Nothing. So it goes without saying that there is a certain level of familiarity between the trio. And it shows in this song, too. The trio–along with fellow musicians Tina Guo (cello) and Tony Franklin (fretless bass)–come together to make this one of the album’s best pieces. Wylde proves once again on this song why he is one of the most revered guitarists in the music business. And Tichy’s timekeeping is rock solid despite the various time signature changes throughout the song. Sherinian’s work on the keys is not to be ignored, either. Whether by himself, partnered with Tina Guo’s performance on cello or even the semi-call and response with Wylde in the song’s bridge, Sherinian shows time and again in this song why he is such a sought after musician even after so many decades in the business. This isn’t the only point at which he exhibits such talent on this record. Another of the album’s high points comes in the album’s second track, titled ‘Ascension.’
‘Ascension’ is one of this album’s high points especially in that it boasts something of a similarity to the music he wrote with his former band mates in Dream Theater. To be even more precise, it sounds stylistically like the music that he wrote with his now ex-band mates for the band’s 1997 album Falling Into Infinity. What is most interesting of all in this song is just how much is going on within the context of the song’s near three-minute run time. That’s right. This song comes in at less than three minutes in length. To be more exact, it clocks in at two minutes and fifteen seconds. That’s pretty short. Yet, the way that it gradually builds, from start to finish makes it so interesting. Making it even more interesting is what would appear to be Sherinian mimicking a guitar part with his keyboard in this song. If that is indeed the case, he is to be even more highly commended. That’s because that part could easily pass as a guitar. And it shows even more his understanding of and appreciation for his instrument. The song’s musical effect overall shows his knowledge of music and his talent just as much. All of that together makes this song all the more enjoyable.
The songs that comprise Molecular Heinosity each have their own musical identity. Collectively, they make the entire album one that any fan of Sherinian will enjoy. Now that it has been re-issued courtesy of Armoury Records, the music is just part of the album’s success. Just as important to this re-issue is the new companion booklet. Most people don’t pay too much attention to the liner notes that come with albums in their physical form. But as audiences will see in the album’s new liner notes, there’s plenty to take in. This album for instance gives listeners a bio of sorts on Sherinian and his career. It goes all the way back to his days playing with Alice Cooper and Billy Idol as well as a little surprise background on his departure from Dream Theater. This critic was surprised to learn that he didn’t leave Dream Theater, but was in fact let go from the band. Along with the semi-career bio, Armoury Records also included background notes from Sherinian on a handful of songs. That background info gives extra insight into said songs. It’s too bad that more bands, artists, and musicians don’t do this. It’s one more reason that the physical object will never be fully replaced by the digital. Little things like background notes on songs as art of the liner notes serve to enhance one’s listening experience. And this album is no exception to that rule. The bonus liner notes and bio included in this new re-issue are wonderful compliments to the album’s music. Together, they make the whole product again, one that any fan of Derek Sherinian will want to add to their library especially if they do not already own this record. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Derek Sherinian’s official website at http://www.dereksherinian.com/merchandise.htm. More information on this and other releases from Derek Sherinian is available online at http://www.dereksherinian.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.