By Bob Nalbandian

Inside Out Music

Inertia is more or less exactly what you'd expect from Derek Sherinian-progressive, instrumental fusion/metal. For fans, and musicians, of this genre, it's very appealing, but for the average metal'll likely bore the shit out of you. All the musical elements are there and the players are obviously top-notch, but Inertia really offers nothing new or exciting to progressive fusion-metal (with the exception of a fairly cool remake of the Edgar Winter classic "Frankenstein.") Even with the special guest appearance of Zak Wylde and the amazing drum work of Simon Phillips, this CD is still "just another instrumental fusion record" (and honestly, not much different from his instrumental debut Planet X.) Perhaps next time around Sherinian should try something different in the fusion field...perhaps hiring a vocalist? This CD is strictly for the musical masturbaters.

Trauma Records

This band's music is about as creative as its name. Just how many other bands have named themselves after their home state, country, city or continent? There's Kansas, Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, New England, (Black Oak) Arkansas, Asia, Europe, America, Japan, China, Russia, UK, London, Boston, Chicago, Baton Rouge...(and those are only the one's I can think of off the top of my head.) Anyway, if you're into old-school blusy rock'n'roll, you may dig these guys. Their music may be far from original or creative, but they do it well. And in this day of rap, techno, and other unmusical styles, California actually sound...almost refreshing. This is the band's debut release on Trauma (I believe the same Trauma that was a part of Interscope and introduced No Doubt and Bush to the label.) California's music is far from metal, although the band does show some traces of early '70s hard rock bands such as Faces and Humble Pie. But the majority of tunes lean toward American roots rock similar to Springstein, Joe Walsh, John Cougar and Bob Segar. In fact, their roots rock influence is overly obvious on certain tracks like the opening riff to "Kid From California," which sounds like Joe Walsh's "In The City" and "Which Side of the Sun," which has the same rhythm beat to Tom Petty's "American Girl."

This band obviously grew up on American classic rock and are hoping to revitalize that sound but I find it hard to believe today's market will buy into it - considering the band look in their mid-twenties and obviously don't have the experience or attitude to develop into their own as did bands such as the Black Crows and Brother Cain. But what I feel this band seriously lacks is the energy and power that has brought success to modern "old-school" bands such as Buck Cherry, 3 Doors Down and Train. California seriously need to write songs with more attitude and balls if they plan to stick around, otherwise they'll just wind up being just another second rate classic rock cover band.

Shockwaves CD Reviews Issue 4 Page 5