Semantic Saturation - Solipsistic
Reviewer: Amir Kourosh - 2013-09-15
Highlights: Blessing in Disguise, Stardust
For those who haven't heard about SEMANTIC SATURATION before, this is Shant Hagopian's band, a Syrian/Armenian guitarist based in Canada. He is also known as the guitarist of the Syrian Power Metal band NU.CLEAR.DAWN, which was the first Syrian band to ever release a Metal album, back in 2003. Those who still remember that band might known that Shant Hagopian is a very talented guitarist. So, if you listen to this album, you will notice that Shant is like good wine, as he improves with time. His guitar skills aren't overshadowed by the talented musicians who have collaborated in this album. And this album features none others than drummer Virgil Donati (PLANET X, STEVE VAI...), Jazz bassist Ric Fierabracci, Derek Sherinian (ex-DREAM THEATER) on the keys and vocalist Andy Kuntz (VANDEN PLAS).
"Solipsistic" is an almost instrumental album, having only one song (out of nine) with vocals in it. Let's start with the fact that I don't like instrumental music. Anyone might think "what the hell is doing this guy reviewing an album like this?". The answer is that this is one of the few albums of this kind which I have enjoyed listening to. It features songs with addictive melodies such as "Ambivalence" (the opening track), "Blessing in Disguise" (in my opinion, the most inspiring song of the album) and "Time is an Illusion" (a song that would fit perfectly on a MR. BIG album if it had Eric Martin singing in it). If these songs had vocals in them, would be groundbreaking hits. Some other songs are more experimental, like "Lost and Found: Insanity", whose keyboards sound very modern, or "Stardust", another very interesting experimental track. The album ends up with the amazing "What if we all Stop", the only track with vocals in it. After listening that song I can't but curse Mr. Hagopian for not recording more songs like this, because his guitar lines fuse perfectly with Andy Kuntz's melodic yet powerful voice.
The other musicians who take part in this album are very solid. They are not seeking for attention, but they focus on playing the songs as narrowly as possible. The songs sound organic and at the same time very technical, what is mainly due to the musicians' good work. It would be quite daring on my part to compare this album with any other band. Some parts of "Solipsistic" sometimes remind me of SYMPHONY X and even RIVERSIDE, as well as those electric guitar maestros whose albums make most amateur guitarists shy away. Anyway, these influences are too subtle to be perceived.
While listening to "Solipsistic", you will notice from the first song that they are a very professional band which deserves to be as recognized as many other world-known Progressive Rock/Metal acts. If you are keen on this kind of music, you shouldn't miss this album, specially if you have always being skeptical about the talent of Middle Eastern guitar maestros.
2. Make Believe
3. Lost and Found: Insanity
5. Blessing in Disguise
6. Armchair Activist
7. Point of Singularity
8. Time is an Illusion
9. What if We All Stop