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Kickass prog metal/fusion... - 95%

f4c30fd34th, September 23rd, 2004

Planet X- a three man prog metal/fusion supergroup. This album is definately not for the close-minded. It's proggy as hell, with crazy time sigs like 11/16 and 13/16, parts where different instruments play in different time sigs, use of the modal pitch axis theory, riffs that are hard to headbang too... and incredibly awesome.

Derek Sherenian seems like the driving force of the band, laying down a foundation for Tony and Virgil, at times being ambient, and at other times showing his wanky side. His patches are perfect, it seems like he's always using JUST the right patch at JUST the right time.

Tony MacAlpine shreds your damn face off. His solos are crazy sweep picking, legato, tapping runs that involve lot's of theory, making them very fusion-esque. I listen to a lot of crazy guitarists and uber fast shredders, but some of the things that Tony plays still make me go "whoa". Such as the solo in "Interlude In Milan"... which is in 13/16 I might add. Also notable is the intro to "The Noble Savage", in which he plays a clean tone jazz type solo that uses a bunch of different scales and modes over the static bass line to create some proggy sounds. When he plays riffs, they're usually rather groove oriented, played mainly on the low registers of his 7 string.

Virgil Donati... whoamg... he's like Mike Portnoy on crack, except he doesn't show off as much (which to some people is a good thing, but not to me). He does some weird crap, like playing different time sigs in each hand, making the drum pattern syncopate with itself... so it's different almost every time it repeats. Unfortunately he tends to stay on the mellow side, doing his complicated crazy crap in the background. I think it would have been better had he shown off or had the spotlight a bit more, but meh, he's damn good anyway.

The bass... is there. There's 3 different bassist on the album, considered guest musicians. They play some solid, groovy lines, and an occasional fill, nothing too flashy, but definately makes the songs feel solid.

This whole album has a jam type feel to it, which a lot of people don't like. Also, it's overall proginess and fusion influence might make a lot of people shy away from it. But if you like shredding, prog, and fusion, you'll LOVE this. The only thing I don't really like about it is that a lot of the songs sound very similar, but their overall kickassness makes up for it.

Highlights: The Noble Savage, Interlude In Milan, Ground Zero, Ignotus Per Ignotium.