Planet X - Live From Oz

Year of Release: 2002
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 098
Format: CD
Total Time: 73:02:00

Never having actually listened to Planet X, or Derek Sherinian's solo album under the same name for that matter, yours truly felt a little at loss when faced by the task of reviewing Live From Oz. After all, having listened instead to the disastrous Inertia certainly didn't raise the expectations one bit, which made the approaching seventy minutes of Planet X music not sound very appealing. Hell, it just looked like unavoidable torture was the order of the day, and had I not seen The Bridge On The River Kwai a couple of hours earlier, I would have probably shot myself right there and then. Thing is, had it not been for a friend who had lent me the DVD of that classic movie, my death would have been written down among the stupidest suicides ever to take place on the face of the Earth.

Because Live From Oz isn't even remotely related to sonic torture in any way, and although the album does slow down a while during the middle, it is one mother of a display of bold instrumental prowess and heavy grooves from hell. The second Sherinian and cohorts Virgil Donati and Tony MacAlpine hit the stage a monumental ball of sheer sonic strength is immediately conjured to wreck the crowd time and time again, and the listener cannot help but be thankfully overwhelmed by the intensity of it all. The death-defying acrobatics of Planet X begin and then forget women and children first ... it's every man for himself.

Or at least well into the "Apocalypse" trilogy it is. Up until that point the band functions like clockwork, and it is practically impossible to figure out who's leading who in a conjunct behemoth of heavy riffs, odd time signatures, lightning fingers, searing solo work, and the occasional polyrhythmic moment. Just surviving through the massive "Ignotius Per Ignotium" is already quite a feat in itself that barely prepares the listener for the album's highlight "Inside Black," but by the time "Apocalypse 1470 B.C." kicks in, nary a listener will remain unswerving before the incoming aural ammo, or, better put, uncrushed by it. Those first four tracks get the point across straight and simple: this band is taking no prisoners.

Or at least not until the solos start, because as soon as Sherinian begins his own display of virtuosity things begin acquiring a laxer nature that does not truly depart until "Europa" collisions everyone into consciousness again, although guest bassist Dave LaRue must be credited for keeping things well together until then.

Truth be told, however, it would be impossible to fault Planet X for the inclusion of such moments, as fans no doubt are all too anxious to hear their heroes shred like possessed demons, but the result is still the same: lost focus. Had it not been for that unfortunate mishap, Live From Oz would have undoubtedly been one monster of a record, although it is hardly far from being so the way it is already. And by the time "Pods Of Trance" begins its glorious stomp fest in full armored groove, that is already clear, as well as the fact that this band seems to be at its best when trying to crush us little humans mercilessly. And with the recent release of Moon Babies assuring the continued existence of the band, one can't help but be masochistically rejoiced in knowing that the crushing is not about to stop anytime soon.

Ignotum Per Ignotius (7:46) / Inside Black (5:16) / Dog Boots (3:55) / Atlantis : Apocalypse 1470 BC (6:24) / Sea Of Antiquity (4:20) / Lost Island (6:21) / Derek Sherinian Solo (2:41) / Warfinger (4:36) / Vigil Donati Solo (4:) / Warfinger Reprise (1:52) / Tony Macalpine Solo (4:14) / Her Animal (4:40) / Europa (4:20) / Pods Of Trance (8:08)

Derek Sherinian - keyboards
Tony MacAlpine - guitar
Virgil Donati -drums

Guest :

Dave La Rue - bass

Planet X (1998)
Universe (1999)
Live From Oz (2002)
Moon Babies (2002)
Quantum (2007)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin VA

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 634
Language: english


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