Violinist and vocalist Joe Deninzon has serious talent at both playing and singing. His band Stratospheerius has that same level of talent. On paper this seemed like a no brainer for me. But I should know better than to make assumptions. I thought that perhaps the tracks on “Guilty of Innocence” would be jazz or classically influenced. Not really.
“Guilty of Innocence” is a LOT more pop than prog which is fine if the songs are there. Unfortunately, the best track by far is the band’s cover of the Muse song “Hysteria,” which sounds AMAZING. The problem is none of the original material stacks up to that song and by including the cover, it just underscores that issue. And it’s not that all of the tracks aren’t good because some are. The opener “Behind the Curtain” is a really good track, with its lyrics paying tribute to that shifty Wizard of Oz.
But the lyrics are part of the issue for me. “Take Your Medicine” is a decent track musically but the lyrics are cliche. The title track falls into the same obvious track. It has some playfulness to it which is fine but it’s not clever in its fun the way Primus is. “Parallel Reality” sounds more like Jimmy Buffett doing metal. I love metal but I hate Jimmy Buffett. And that basically sums up my problems with this album.
The album closer is the 12 minute plus “Soul Food” which FINALLY shows the band cutting lose! But it actually takes half the track before they actually do! Again, one step forward, one step back. So while I can say I like some things about “Guilty of Innocence,” I can certainly list just as many things that I don’t. But that Muse cover…
1. Behind The Curtain
2. Take Your Medicine
3. Guilty of Innocence
7. Parallel Reality
8. Game of Chicken
9. Dream Diary Cadenza
10. Soul Food
Label: Melodic Revolution Records