Joe Deninzon on is a highly acclaimed electric violinist, who performs in various different bands and multiple sessions, and when he is with progressive rock/crossover group with Stratospheerius, he also provides lead vocals. The line-up is completed by French guitarist Aurelien Budynek (Cindy Blackman, Vernon Reid), bassist Jamie Bishop (The Syn, Francis Dunnery), and drummer Lucianna Padmore. There are a few guests also involved, and I notice that one of these is guitarist Alex Skolnick, who most people will recognize as being from Testament, although he is also involved in multiple other forms.
When I look on ProgArchives I note that there are four albums, including this one, and I am somewhat at a loss to realize that not a single one has ever had a rating put against it, let alone a review. How can it be that music as good as this just never gets appreciated by the very people who would love this if they came across it? Okay, so that same is true for me as this album was released in 2017 but I have only just heard it, and already I am wondering what the others are like. One of the issues with this is where to start when trying to describe it, as there are just so many different styles at play. The easiest is when they are in the funk groove, as that is definitely ‘Slam’ era Dan Reed Network, but when they head into highly complex and intricate runs all I can come up with is Steve Vai-ear Zappa if Vai played violin instead of guitar.
At the same time, all of the music is highly melodic, and just so damn enjoyable to listen to. It is polished, it is powerful, and I find it impossible to listen to it without moving some part of my body. This is infectious, with no cure in sight. The arrangements are tight, everyone bounces off each other, and is one of the most poptastic progressive album one is likely to come across. They state that their influences include Yes, Spock’s Beard, Muse (there is a cover of ‘Hysteria‘ on the album), Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and King Crimson but surely we must add and so many, many more. Awesome.