Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Whom Gods Destroy deliver Insanium

It’s another year and therefore another new band for Derek Sherinian. Following stints in Dream Theatre, Black Country Communion (with whom he’s releasing a new album in June 2024) and Sons of Apollo, as well as Sherinian Phillips’ 2023 ‘live’ album, Derek’s now back with a new band, Whom Gods Destroy (WGD), which reunites him with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, with both men having played in Sons of Apollo. They’re joined by vocalist Dino Jelusnick as well as an extremely powerful rhythm section in Yas Nomura, on bass, and Bruno Valverde on drums. WGD is thus an amalgam of experienced musicians coupled with some musos who’re still in the process of building up their rep, and together they’ve come up with an album which is a perfectly unhinged collision between prog and power metal, and all put together with enough power to light up a small festival.

A portentous piano intro eventually leads into the blistering opener, ‘In The Name Of War’, which has riffs and power to spare and, with lines like “We still die for nothing, into the grave we’re rushing, in the name of war”, clearly an allegory with modern society can be seen. On this track, as on several others, Bumblefoot proves he’s capable of incorporating an occasional degree of subtlety into his playing but, more times than not, seems intent on proving he’s the fastest guitar slinger in the West. 

Tracks such as the instrumental ‘Hypernova’ and ‘Crawl’, give Liquid Tension Experiment a run for their money with all instruments being played at the speed of light, and Bumblefoot’s guitar exploding all over the place, though a huge shout-out needs to go to bassman Yas Nomura for keeping up with some astonishingly fast drumming. WGD are very muscular when it comes to rocking out and there are no half-measures when these guys go for it.

Don’t be mistaken however, they’re not wholly about power playing. ‘The Decision’, a song about being about to give up but deciding to continue, sees WGD eschewing complexity for an almost standard rock tune with shades of Dio in the vocals, and ‘Find My Way Back’, is about returning home and finding it’s not home anymore, both contain some quite delightful touches from Bumblefoot and, on the latter track, it was nice to hear the keyboard coming through, though Derek Sherinian appears happy to remain in the background.

Are WGD a band or a project? We’ll find out the answer to that soon enough, but anyone who’s a fan of Dream Theatre and Liquid Tension Experiment will relish this album, with solos galore and riffs which will have you crawling up the wall, though I’m still trying to decide where the line’s to be drawn between stellar playing and ridiculous levels of overkill. Whatever the outcome, this is a solid prog-metal offering with some epic performances all around. 

Insanium is out now via Inside Out.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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It's another year and therefore another new band for Derek Sherinian. Following stints in Dream Theatre, Black Country Communion (with whom he’s releasing a new album in June 2024) and Sons of Apollo, as well as Sherinian Phillips’ 2023 ‘live’ album, Derek’s now back...Whom Gods Destroy deliver Insanium