Label: Mascot Records 2011
Review by Alan Holloway
Derek Shrinian, former tinkler of the ivories for mega talented but often tiresome prog rockers Dream Theatre and current Black Country Communion member, continues to carve out a reputation as a top notch instrumentalist with this, his seventh solo album.
I say ‘solo’ album, but “Oceana” sees Sheinian team up with five different guitarists over nine tracks of varying quality and style. Top of the heap is Steve Stevens, particularly on “Ghost Runner”, a track that bounces along with a real vigour that is reminiscent of some of Satriani’s better stuff. Joe Bonamasa, Sherinian’s BCC bandmate, unsurprisingly pops up for a single track, “I Heard That”, which is very laid back but no less effective for it. Doug Aldrich also gets a good shout with his track “El Camino Diablo”, which has a refrain that sticks nicely in the listener’s head. Steve Lukathor gets to play on three tracks, whilst Tony Macalpine finishes off the roster with two. Interestingly, the majority of the tracks are written by Sherinian and drummer Simon Phillips, with only Bonamassa and Stevens contributing to their tracks.
“Oceana” is a solid instrumental album, although it could perhaps do with a little more flair. The keyboards of Sherinian are mixed well with the guitars of his guests, although he never tries to overshadow anyone. Although I have found it hard to go overboard about the album, I find myself coming back to it time after time, which can only be a good thing. A slightly mixed bag, but overall an album to enjoy and admire.