“Guilty Of Innocence” is already the fifth album by Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius. It is certainly no surprise that the namesake and composer of all songs clearly sets the tone here. But it is by no means a solo project, but the product of a well-rehearsed band consisting of:
Joe Deninzon – Viper 7-string electric violin / lead vocals / acoustic guitar / mandolin
Jamie Bishop – bass / vocals
Aurelien Budynek – guitars / vocals
Lucianna Padmore – drums / percussion.
Some songs will be joined by guest musicians such as Rave Tesar (Renaissance) on the synthesizer, Alex Skolnick (aka Testament) or Randy McStine (The Fringe) on guitar.
With the violin as the leading instrument, you could expect classic-inspired symphonic prog, but that is only partially true in this case. “Guilty Of Innocence” is essentially a brisk rock album, underlaid with prog and fusion elements. The compositions are well put together, with one exception, all songs are in the three to five-minute range. Only the final, Soul Food ‘with almost 13 minutes of playing time the exception – and clearly the song with the highest Prog share.
Deninzon is occasionally called the Jimi Hendrix of the electric violin, which is not entirely to be dismissed in the light of the album. He has already worked with such greats as Bruce Springsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Sheryl Crow, Renaissance, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Phoebe Snow, etc. – a colorful, illustrious mix!
The vocal part is quite high, the melodies are grippy and sometimes go well in the ear. The penultimate song ‘Dream Diary Cadenza’ is a solo lecture by Deninzon, who brings out particularly interesting timbres from his instrument.
The well-placed quartet convinces, no matter whether it’s catchy rock songs, jazzy outings or prog numbers.
by JUERGEN MEURER
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