Album Reviews

Derek Sherinian – Oceana

Released by: Music Theories Recordings

Release Date: September 27th, 2011

Genre: Instrumental Progressive Fusion Rock


Line Up:

1. Five Elements (4:37)

2. Mercury 7 (4:29)

3. Mulholland (5:56)

4. Euphoria (5:34)

5. Ghost Runner (4:54)

6. El Camino Diablo (5:06)

7. I Heard That (4:53)

8. Seven Sins (5:56)

9. Oceana (5:38)


01. Five Elements

02. Mercury 7

03. Mulholland

04. Euphoria

05. Ghost Runner

06. El Camino Diablo

07. I Heard That

08. Seven Sins

09. Oceana

I’m sure they will be the less informed who will be apprehensive about strictly checking out an instrumental album like the newest effort from super keyboardist Derek Sherinian. It is an acquired taste but one fact you will should never have to ignore is that Sherinian has been molding his craft on the keys for  long time now, and has become prolific for his super projects and solo material. His efforts have lend a hand from some of the biggest guitar masters on the planet today.

The likes of Al Dimeola, Steve Lukather, Yngwie Malmsteen and Slash amongst many others have all contributed to his solo projects. For those not informed about the type of music played here……..well is simple or sometimes is not being the complexity of the instrumentation but it’s your traditional fusion progressive rock/metal grooves mixed with amazing guitar and drum craftsmanship, all mended together by the great keyboards of Sherinian whose full force approach on the board always leads each song.

Being a huge fans of guitar driven instrumental records myself, and also being supporter of instrumental guitar gods Steve Vai and Joe Satriani for example, I was always interested in the virtual keyboard – guitar experience that Sherinian had been able to create on his past projects and this time around with the help of Steve Lukather, Tony McAlpine, Joe Bonamassa, Doug Aldrich  and Simon Philips I couldn’t wait to dig into this one even more.

The sound is mastered as clear cut as you can get it. All instruments here sound flamboyantly fresh and powerful. And of course Derek has always had a unique style of playing in which the music just flows with vibrant energy when he plays, on this release you pick up on that style right away. I like to describe the music as a giant fusion explosion that rushes through your head.

A good example of the vibe on Oceana is the Lukather led track of “Mullholland”, in which both Sherinian and Luke shred and elevate each song in a progressive mountain of solid bliss. For me it was the time when “A Change of Seasons”  EP was released that I first heard Derek play with Dream Theater and to this day remains one of my favorite prog metal epic albums of all time. I say this because he has never lost that style when playing and on the more laid back bass led inter doings of “Euphoria” you pick up on that vibe perfectly.

The more frantic guitar lick of “Ghost Runner” is a top notch on the record and features the excellent guitars from Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), he gets  a stab at the action here. Another mate of Black Country Communion lends his exemplary guitar talent on hand in the bluesy track “I Heard That”, yes is Joe Bonamassa and you probably would of guessed it a was blues related tune, really is a nice blues fusion song which stands out from the rest of the album, mainly because Joe kicks ass on the fret and everybody knows that.

If you have been a fan of Sherinian or past records like “Mythology” and “Intertia” then you know what to expect here, the immense guitar talent is a plus and always has been but the way Derek conducts each song to fit each style of the guitar talent is the best quality about this instrumental effort and you don’t always just get the feel of just a “Jam” band. Each track is defined by it’s complexity and yet its simplicity. For fans of progressive metal/rock fusion is a must. As an instrumental album is a great record from top to bottom.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys    8/10

Tell Us How You Feel