Released by: Inside Out Music
Release Date: March 15th, 2023
Genre: Progressive Metal
Dino Jelusick – Vocals
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Guitars
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
Yas Nomura – Bass
Bruno Valverde – Drums
1. In the Name Of War (06:38)
2. Over Again (05:01)
3. The Decision (07:08)
4. Crawl (06:36)
5. Find My Way Back (05:46)
6. Crucifier (04:43)
7. Keeper of the Gate (04:54)
8. Hypernova 158 (03:24)
9. Insanium (08:37)
This group is comprised of keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Black Country Communion), guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Guns n’ Roses, Sons of Apollo), and Croatian singer Dino Jelusick (Whitesnake, Trans-Siberian Orchestra). Bassist Yas Nomura and drummer Bruno Valverde will be releasing their first album, “Insanium,” on March 15, 2024, via InsideOut Music.
Interesting and fitting to the sounds and spectrum on the album, the title “Insanium,” derived from Latin words meaning insanity, represents the chaotic elements in the music that this core creates when working together.
They gave us a sample of the music with the release and music video of “In the Name of War,” and if you’re a fan of that song, you’ll love this album. Heck, if you’re a fan of anything from Led Zeppelin, Meshuggah, Muse, and even technical prog, you’ll get into this album.
Moreover, I can’t get enough of Jelusick’s voice. It’s so good.
This album leaves the listener with little downtime to breathe, even in the softer songs. The mixes found on this album are impeccable. Rarely have I found it so easy to hear everything so perfectly from bass to guitar distortion and drums without one of them overbearing or the other being less pronounced. A major shout out to Jelusick’s voice on this album; it really complements the sound all around.
In the Name of War – As mentioned, their single from the album, this song starts with dramatic minor keys and hits hard right off the bat about 20 seconds in. It’s a headbanger for sure. The drum play interaction and rhythm changes shed light on what could just be empty space or the same kind of stuff that would be played for a full bar rather than a half bar. Then the first solo… I love the solo in this song, by far my favorite solo on the entire album. It starts a little soft, then it soars, it flies, it hits the lows and highs up and down the neck, and the key change is totally natural. The key solo keeps that energy level going. The song then abruptly cuts to the keys, but it feels like the song could keep going. Just think, you’re already 6:39 into the album and there’s still nine more songs to go. Keep going…you know you want to.
Over Again – with a Haken-like start, a metal song if you’ve ever heard one. The chorus and post-chorus (for lack of better terms) are earworms. The bridge and solo keep the beat going with an exchange between guitars and keys. This whole song just pushes, and I can’t get enough of it.
The Decision – This song certainly has a djenty-prog feel starting off until we get to the keys, which add in a bit of a light airy feel. It offsets the mood a bit, in a good way. Once the vocals hit, the song has a slower feel, but that’s only because the instrumentation allows the vocals to be in charge; however, more emotion is attached to the song. The harmonies in this song are really nice too. I keep going to these solos for my notes, but man, I can’t get enough of them. I like the last minute or so of this song a lot and how it ends with that droning note.
Crawl – This song has the most Dream Theater intro of any song on this album, but given the fact that Sherinian was in Dream Theater, it makes sense. This song also has a major sound to it, which is different from everything on the album so far. I like how this song isn’t exactly 4/4 the full time (and if it is, it’s eluding my counting skills); it’s just slightly off in some points. I like the guitar riff after the choruses. I absolutely LOVE the texture changes in this song.
Find My Way Back – After four heavy songs, this one is a nice change. This song allows you to really appreciate the gift of Jelusick’s voice. The power and control he exhibits throughout are easily heard as he goes from clear rock to metal grit. This song is as ballad as you’re going to get on this album. Enjoy it because it’s the only time you’re going to get where the album isn’t totally in your face.
Crucifier – Back at it with this heavy-hitting song, and it feels like steroids hit the track just where it needed. I can’t quite put my finger on the words I’m trying to find, but something about this song just flows really nicely, even though it’s pretty heavy. Definitely one of my favorites on the album.
Keeper of the Gate – This verse of the song reminds me of an older Alice in Chains meets Soundgarden feel, especially with the harmonies. The song is more melodic than pushing a rhythm like Crucifier. I like that it’s a little slower, honestly; it gives the musicians space to be themselves throughout. Even with the fadeout on the song, I imagine what this might be like live.
Hypernova 158 – We’re back in pushing the boundary territory. The shortest song on the album measures 3:24, but it’s 3:24 you’ll probably want to play again. It is an instrumental, so it really gives the instruments time to shine and be the focal point for a few minutes. I go back to my comments on the mixes; it’s so easy to clearly hear everything on this track. I wish it were longer.
Insanium – the title track of the album, and you’re not let down by this album. The longest song comes in at 8:38, but it doesn’t feel that long, at least it didn’t to me. This is another song where the textures are changing throughout, and it leaves you air instrumenting if that’s your thing. The interlude with the lighter guitar parts is a good change for this song. It’s another spot where Jelusick can show off his poise and control in the voice while giving the non-gritty guitar work a place to shine too. The bass tone in this song is incredible. Then we switch it up with a drum fill into an intense solo and back to a driving song. The guitar tone in this song is also incredible; it’s fat and discernable. You don’t always get that with a fat tone like this.
Requiem – A fitting ending sound for this kind of album. It has a classical feel to start the song off, then that sticks around for a little bit, almost the whole song. The song has a super unique feel compared to the rest of the album. Another one I was trying to find the words for, but all I can say is you’ll have to listen for yourself and gauge how you feel. I like it.
In conclusion, this album is something for the ages. For me, it covers all the bases; it has all the steps in the directions that make an album something where you don’t want to skip songs. From start to finish, I guarantee you will spin this album more than once in multiple settings too. I know I have been, and will continue to. It’s early in the year, but I can already tell you this album will definitely be making it to my top 5 albums of the year.
Written by: Chris Rugowski