Released: 2000, Sleaszy Rider Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
What can you do with a line-up that contains such musicians as Derek Sherinian on keyboards (known from his works for Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen and Billy Idol), Brian Tichy on drums (Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, Billy Idol), Manos Markopoulos on bass (session player on this project) and Theodore Ziras on guitar, who already has a couple of previous albums in his roster (TRAINED TO PLAY, 2001 and VIRTUAL VIRTUOSITY, 2003) - and who has already worked as a guitar teacher in Greece? A short answer is: A relatively interesting and enjoyable instrumental album.
As sort of a side comment I guess I should mention that I have neither heard any of Theodore´s albums before - nor have I listened to any fully instrumental albums for a very long time, so I took Derek´s request to review his latest album as an interesting opportunity for myself.
In fact, I´m glad I did answer to his request as this is a serious attempt to convince listeners of his skills as a gifted guitarist - as much as this is a serious attempt to convince listeners of the fact that some entertaining instrumental albums are still being done, even nowadays. HYPERPYREXIA is one of those great-sounding instrumental albums that provide a listener a journey into the world in which a bunch of talented and well-known musicians have really allowed their creative juices to flow in the name of a well-crafted result. In HYPERPYREXIA, there´s of course a huge emphasis on Theodore´s guitar parts to show what kind of guitar virtuoso he truly is. In a nutshell, Theodore basically shows his whole scale as a talented guitarist; from a tight sounding guitar shredder to a great soloist to a relatively amazing team player with his other bandmates. Theodore can do basically everything from a neo-classical guitar playing style to a plain Heavy Metal shredding, but I guess that´s what one expects from him keeping in mind that he´s also a guitar teacher in his own home country, Greece.
As for his other ´team mates´ then, Derek Sherinian is just...uh, pretty darn phenomenal with his keys indeed. The man seems to know exactly what it takes to cause an extra adrenaline rush to your system by coming up with tasteful and really hitting keyboard sections for the songs, truly offering something exceptionally ear-captivating that no one can ignore once they start hitting you, one by one. He´s a pretty amazing fellow behind the keyboards - and what amazes me even more personally on this album, is a very nice interplay between Theodore´s guitar parts and his keyboard parts. A perfect match made in heaven...or hell, whatever fits better for you. Also, Brian´s drumming is also kinda innovative and one hardly could have brought a more fitting drummer to this album than Brian. But since it´s both Theodore and Derek that somehow steal the whole show, it´s kinda hard to pay attention to any of those tricks that Brian does behind his drum arsenal. The same words could be said about Manos´ bass parts; they are overridden by both Theodore´s very dominating guitar playing as well as Derek´s mastery of his keyboards. All this naturally may depend on what types of things one usually has a tendency to pay attention to on instrumental albums, of course.
Picking up an instant favorite song out from the 10 instrumental cuts that the album´s got on offer, is kind of a hard task because every song out of these 10 songs have something special in them, that you don´t feel like skipping over any of them. There may be some tracks on this well-done instrumental album that may appeal to you better than some other tracks, but like I said this decision will be made between your ears in the very end. For me personally, such songs as "Such and Such", "Seven Courses" and "Go East" seemed to do the tricks and kick my butt slightly harder than the rest. Why? I just don´t know.
Knowing it´s not that much of a fashion thing to do instrumental albums these days, HYPERPYREXIA can be considered a really nice breath of air amongst today´s metal music markets that are unfortunately, ruled massively by nu-metal / metalcore / NWOSDM /´wanna-be-this-and-that´ releases. Theodore is one skilled guitarist and his and co.´s great musicianship on this album cannot be questioned.