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Semantic Saturation: Solipsistic

All-star calling-card from talented Canadian fret-wrangler.

Enterprising Canadian/Syrian guitarist Shant Hagopian brings us a work of mind-blowing complexity and technical proficiency. Solipsistic features prog metal keyboard maestro Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater) and monster drummer Virgil Donati (Planet X).

That title is perfect for this work – a convincing stall-setter like this comes only from relentless self-belief and focus. Hagopian takes his thick-toned, solo metal guitar on a dizzying lap of the musical labyrinth on nine intense tracks with titles such as Ambivalence, Make Believe and Lost And Found: Insanity.

There’s something earnest and affable in his expression throughout, even in the knottiest moments of workouts Stardust and Point Of Singularity, while in parts there are shades of Joe Satriani, our My Prog Hero guest this month. Ballad Blessing In Disguise and feelgood jam Armchair Activist in particular evince a lyrical ear, elevating his fretwork above the many wannabes launching themselves daily over the Prog ramparts.

Vanden Plas’ Andy Kuntz give an impassioned performance on What If We All Stop, the sole vocal number on this pleasingly nerdy, dazzlingy proficient record.