Review

DEREK SHERINIAN Black Utopia

Album · 2003 · Progressive Metal
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2/5 ·
martindavey87
With an all-star lineup featuring some stellar musicians, this album almost feels like a bit of a letdown. Main man Derek Sherinian takes a backseat to endless guitar acrobatics by some of the world's most renowned players, yet it all seems rather dull and uninspired.

Now, I love heavy music, I have a bit of a taste for what's called "fusion", though I could never totally come to grasps with what that really means, and enjoy a bit of guitar shredding. But none of it seems coherent on this album. You have guys like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Lukather, Al Di Meola and Zakk Wylde all on one record, and yet, with the exception of a few passages, it feels like they're all just going through the motions.

There's an abundance of great riffs though, which is evident in massive headbangers like 'The Sons of Anu' and the title track, 'Black Utopia', while songs like 'Starcycle' and 'Gypsy Moth' have some nice, exotic flavors to them. But overall, while none of the tracks are bad, I struggle to really listen to any of them all the way through without being bored.

And then of course, there's Mr. Sherinian himself. The fact I've discussed the guitar playing more than the keyboards pretty much goes to show how low-key Sherinian's performance seems to be. Or perhaps I'm just struggling to pay attention. As a whole, I do feel kind of bad giving this album such a low score, but I struggle to justify to myself rating it any higher.
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