Semantic Saturation is the project of Shant Hagopian. He is a guitarist from Canada, who has played with other musicians throughout other parts of the world. What we have here is his self-produced debut.
Ambivalence starts off this disc, with a very heavy groove riff, that leads into an awesome melodic lead, that becomes an instrumental version of a verse. The entire song builds upon this melody, and each time leads itself into a new part of this six minute plus opener. Make Believe, shows off Shant's amazing melodic songwriting skills. This song feels part-Rush, part-Dream Theater in its ability to change tempos. A great keyboard/guitar trade off at the two and a half minute mark, showcases the extremely talented Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater and many others) on keyboards. Sherinian and Shant go at each other, like its a heavyweight boxing fight, trading blows.
Lost and Found Insanity has a very cool keyboard melody that repeats throughout this intro, that reminds me of an old eight-bit video game. With a very warm guitar lead that joins the song a minute in. Around the minute and a half mark, Shant shows you his project is not about how fast he can play, but how great of a songwriter he truly is. The next song Stardust shares the same common melodic sensibilities as Lost and Found Insanity. Blessing in Disguise will remind listeners of John Petrucci from Dream Theater, especially the 2000, Metropolis Part 2, Scenes From A Memory. Its a truly beautiful melodic piece of instrumental progressive rock. The last twenty seconds again, showcases his idea of less is more, substance over quantity of notes played.
Armchair Activist, has a very Surfing with the Alien Satriani meets Passion and Warfare-era Steve Vai, a solid rocker, that showcases Shant's abilities. This is probably the most technical song on the disc so far in my opinion and it also showcases a short break between drummer Virgil Donati and bassist Ric Fierabracci. Point of Singularity is a beautiful clean guitar and atmospheric keyboard piece that introduces a melodic guitar solo near the last minute of the song, that takes the song to new heights. This song would not be far out of place in an old sci-fi movie, with its keyboard tones.
Time Is An Illusion, is another masterpiece like Make Believe, without writing the same song twice. The last song, What if We All Stop, is the only song that features vocals. Those vocals are provided by the very talented Andy Kurtz of the German band, Vanden Plas. The open features a beautiful melody with Kurtz's vocals coming in. The song turns into a full on prog-a-thon halfway through, and its definitely a welcome addition, to the instrumental tracks before it.
Solipsistic is an amazing piece of art, its a journey of musical emotions, that reaches amazing highs, that brings us back down to earth when its ready too, not any sooner. Easily recommended for fans of Derek Sherinian's music, or for those who appreciate instrumental guitar music, that isn't about how fast you can play through every song.