Semantic Saturation – Solipsistic

All you have to do when you get Solipsistic, by Semantic Saturation, is turn up the volume. The magic will come to you per se. Even if you are very tired or you have a painful hangover, the music will come to you and slap you hard in the face, a sweet punishment, painfully delicious. Music that goes beyond magic and reality, A prog-fairy-tale. Passion, wisdom, crazy theory… Solipsism.

Semantic Saturation is a progressive rock / metal project by Shant Hagopian, a Canadian songwriter / guitarist, of Syrian / Armenian heritage, who is also the founder of the syrian band Nu.Clear.Dawn (famous for being the first Syrian metal band to release an album). Hagopian has recruited for this album a select group of well known progressive metal icons like bassist Ric Fierabracci, Andy Kuntz  as a special guest on vocals, Virgil Donati on drums and the amazing keyboardist Derek Sherinian, ex Dream Theater, which (along Donati) is a former member of the band Planet X.  No wonder the lady was very excited about this album, as it features two of her heroes, namely Derek Sherinian and Andy Kuntz. She will be interviewing the mastermind Shant Hagopian for the Lady Obscure readers very soon by the way. Be on the lookout for it!

Solipsism is a philosophical idea that although it is not that credible, is also irrefutable. The theory says that we can only be sure of the existence of our own mind, and the rest, people, objects; “reality”, etc, are mere reflections of the mental states of the self. The Spanish writer Calderon de la Barca wrote in one of his books: What is life? A tale that is told. What is life? a frenzy extreme, a shadow of things that seems, and the greatest good is but small, that all life is a dream to all, and themselves, that dreams are a dream. I think this is the best way to summarize the concept of solipsism … and since, according to this theory, you readers don’t exist, and are merely a product of my mind, I can confess without fear my hallucinations and write this review as I please. So as I said, Solipsistic was like a prog-fairy-tale for me, and I will explain you why. The day I enjoyed a thousand times the album and tasted each of its flavors, I lost all sense of time and at some point I fell asleep. That’s when the magic came over me in an awesome way and I had a fascinating dream that I must share:

Once upon a time, in the country of prog metal, a magic town called Solipsistic. I was walking through the enchanted forest, when a song echoed through the speakers of my town. The first notes flooded my ears and teleported me to Ambivalence, a room with no exit, where the magic was gathered. I couldn’t see anything. I just heard a gloomy riff that sounded omnipotent on the depths. Furious keyboards, killer drums, powerful bass, and smooth transitions, all together with a guitar possessed by a dark melody, clear and addictive. My body shook with every note and a cold sweat ran on my forehead. When I was about to faint, whispers came to my ears and stopped my impact on the floor… one … two … three seconds of silence … and then Make Believe woke me up gently, with a lead guitar a little more melancholic that brought new energy to my body, a very melodic song, catchy and lingering. I had tasted the food of the gods and eagerly wanted more…. Suddenly the ground began to shake, Lost and Found started with atmospheric keys and gradually turned into a fascinating adventure; the guitar melody invited me to follow it in the dark and I walked along the track, a tasty rhythm, great drum work, a melody sweetly intriguing.  Where do those sharp and beautiful sounds come from? They rise and fall between naturally flowing and harmonious transitions… I kept moving through a overwhelming corridor, and I found a door. I opened it, completely submitted to the adventure, and Stardust surrounded me with a powerful mixture. I immediately recognized the great work of the master Sherinian and his metal fusion, the song showed me virtuosity, but not absurd virtuosity, it was enhanced intelligently in the rhythm, tone and its own vibrations. Then Blessing in Disguise appeared under the door, a ballad that was slowly saturating the air I breathed, the sweet melody of the guitar gently rose me, there was something almost romantic in those keyboards that provided me a sense of peace, warmth and security. The tone, the damn tone, so eagerly sought by guitarists, flowed freely through the hands of Hagopian. The man doesn’t try to impress with his skill, although his skills are pouring in torrents, he delivers his heart and soul in his playing and gives a voice to his guitar. It’s impossible to not shut up and pay attention.

Suddenly the windows broke apart and Armchair Activist rang strong, determined to kill, adrenaline at its most pure and uncontrollable state, a song that lets Donati to show off, making his drum work in the spotlight at certain moments, printing the awe expression on your face. The adrenaline made me run, and I quickly ran up the metal stairs with jazzy handles. When I reached the top, I found Points of Singularity, a universe built by a guitar wisely sweet in a heavenly atmosphere that gives you the feeling of being drunk and really saturated with every particle of the soul and heart of Hagopian. A curtain opened and Time is an Illusion began with a detonator riff, Hagopian’s guitar took over my mind again… I reached ecstasy and lost the sense of time. When I realized, I was back where my adventure had begun, and the song was over. One .. two … three seconds of silence … and a new song started, an energetic semi-ballad, in which the clear voice of Andy Kuntz flames in the air like a wave on the sea, calmly but thunderous. rhythm guitar is simply epic, at times flashes of voices complement its sound and Hagopian makes good use of each space to show off his technique with healing melodies woven with gold threads, the notes of Kuntz voice fall one by one over me, and one of them came closer to my ear and whispered What If We All Stop … I woke up suddenly on my bedroom, but when I saw the cat headbanging at my side, I knew it was not a dream…

I know what you must be thinking, and no, I wasn’t high. Is the power of quality music which is able to transport us to remote places of our brains. The solipsistic universe can be divided into two parts: the part controlled by our conscious mind and the part controlled by our unconscious mind. Shant Hagopian is able to combine these two parts dangerously; he understands and respects the fact that music is art, and as art, it should be fun and catchy, many instrumental progressive bands have overlooked this for many years, focusing on technique and speed. Music is not a competition about who is the fastest, my friends; music is emotion, and that’s something that overflows in this album. A definitive must have for those who love instrumental prog metal, perfectly digestible food for not lovers. I think it is very hard to find the words to explain the perfect balance of quality and passion that this album brings, but wait… maybe I don’t have to explain it to you… maybe you don’t exist…

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