Planet X

Picture of Planet X

Live From Oz

Planet X - Live From Oz ©2002 InsideOut Music
1. Ignotus Per Ignotium
2. Inside Black
3. Dog Boots
4. Apocalypse 1470 BC
5. Sea Of Antiquity
6. Lost Island
7. Derek Sherinian Solo
8. Warfinger
9. Virgil Donati Solo
10. Warfinger Reprise
11. Tony MacAlpine Solo
12. Her Animal
13. Europa
14. Pods Of Trance

In my quest to finally review all the promos that piled up over the last two years, I never dreamed that I'd have to deluge myself with so much Planet X in such a short period of time. The only scarier thing I could envision is Derek Sherinian coming over to my house with the intentions of forming a band, despite my total lack of musical talent. "You'll be the mascot!" he'd say.

Anyhow, Live From Oz is the band's second relase, although it's a live album recorded in Melbourne and relies heavily on music from their one and only studio album. For good measure, the band has solo segments for each of the three members (but none for touring bassist Dave Larue). Actually, the fact that solo segments are listed are yet another reason I refuse to play nice with this review. I always felt that nothing suggests musical excess more than a live solo, particularly for a drummer. Heck, even Neil Peart's "Rhythm Method" got on my nerves after my youthful adulation of his abilities.

Live From Oz is exactly what you might expect from these three phenomenal musicians and their faithful pretty-good bassist. The vast majority of this CD is "Hey Mom, look what I can do!" material, showcasing just how proficient these guys are. In fact, I'll admit Donati's drumming is exceptional, as his unusual timekeeping offers a complex rhythm base. But as with most exceptionally talented musician oriented music, the soul and heart of the music is missing, replaced by fingers, arms and brains.

As with probably anything related to this or any other Derek Sherinian led project, musicians will find something to appreciate, but us slackjawed yokels who just want to sit around the campfire with some catchy songs will be left wanting more.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2004

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Moonbabies

Planet X - Moonbabies ©2002 InsideOut Music
1. Moonbabies
2. The Noble Savage
3. Ataraxia
4. 70 Vir
5. Micronesia
6. Interlude In Milan
7. Digital Vertigo
8. Ground Zero
9. Midnight Bell
10. Ignotus Per Ignotium

Here there be wank...

Planet X is yet another project from the ever busy Derek Sherinian, best known for stints with Alice Cooper and Dream Theater. Joining him for this Planet X quest are Tony MacAlpine and Virgil Donati, both of whom are also extremely talented musicians in their own right. In fact, Planet X's members have more talent in one finger than most of us have before 9 a.m. And after.

Moonbabies is the third release from Planet X. Despite all the cosmic imagery, Planet X is not a space rock band in the vein of Hawkwind or even Ayreon. Rather, Planet X is all about demonstrating these guys can play their instruments better than you. Moonbabies might as well be called Notes: We Play Them All. The album is chock full of difficult, technically challenging compositions that show precisely how good these guys are. What the album fails to include are songs that emotionally move a listener. I can picture a fellow guitarist, keyboardist or other ambitious musician appreciating the ability of this recording, but it's hard to picture putting the woo on your lady friend to the strains of "Micronesia" or rallying against social injustice with "Digital Vertigo" inspiring the masses. For those of us who put songwriting ahead of absolute skill, Moonbabies is an empty experience. It is perfectly executed and very well performed, but beyond that I can't say it impresses me in any other way.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2004

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