CD Review: Stratospheerius “Guilty of Innocence”

When looking for musicians that have the talent to put on a good show, you don’t have to look any further than seven-string violinist Joe Deninzon. Having graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in Violin Performance and Jazz Violin from Indiana University and a Master’s in Jazz/Commercial violin from Manhattan School of Music, Deninzon splits his time between teaching violin and performing in his band called Stratospheerius. Just recently, Deninzon and the band created a new album of music. For this album, Stratospheerius consists of: Joe Deninzon – Electric Violin, Lead Vocals & Mandolin; Aurelien Budynek – Guitar & Backup Vocals; Jamie Bishop – Bass & Backup Vocals and Lucianna Padmore – Drums. Together, the band is currently celebrating the release of this album. The new release from Stratospheerius is entitled Guilty of Innocence.

Guilty of Innocence from Stratospheerius begins with the track “Behind the Curtain”. With this track, Deninzon and the band start the album off with a bang. The track features a strong, driving pace to the music that comes complete with a definite Progressive Rock feel. That Prog-Rock sound is helped along with the inclusion of Deninzon’s electric violin along with a few musical effects that add to the feel of the piece. With a sly acknowledgement to the movie The Wizard of Oz, the track’s lyrics deal with a slight of hand, making people pay less attention to what’s really going on around you. “Behind the Curtain” contains a sound and feel that keeps the feel of the band’s last release of The Next World…, an album that was released back in 2012.

The newest release from Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius continues with the track “Take Your Medicine”. The track starts off with a very strong bassline from bassist Jamie Bishop before the rest of the quartet joins in. Like the previous track, the band creates a track that features a very driving feel to the music. That driving feel seems to alternate between musical deliveries that is reminiscent of Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention and a delivery that contains a slightly less progressive feel. Because of the Progressive nature of the music, “Take Your Medicine” may not be very commercial; however, this track would be extremely popular on Album-Oriented Rock radio formats.

Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius create one of the more “progressive” tracks on the title track of the album. Keeping with the pattern set forth by the first two tracks of the album, “Guilty of Innocence” hits the listener with yet another driving force to the music. Like the previous tracks on the release, the band plays with plenty of energy. But the one thing that stands out on this track is the Classical Music feel to the music as Deninzon layers his playing on the electric violin to create an effect as if a string quartet was brought in to add texture to the track. The addition of the Classical approach on the song is what truly sets the title track apart from the earlier songs.

Continuing the inclusion of a more Classical approach on the musical side of things, the track “Face” allows Deninzon to show off his ability on the violin. This track features more of Deninzon’s playing than the previous tracks on the album. The song begins with Deninzon’s violin and a strong beat plus his vocals. The sparse feel of the music allows for Deninzon’s violin to truly have a moment in the spotlight. When the rest of the band joins in on the music of the piece, the band creates a track in “Face” that has a definite Gentle Giant vibe to it.

And speaking of other people’s styles, the Guilty of Innocence album from Stratospheerius continues with the band’s version of a track from the band Muse. It is that group’s song of “Hysteria” that Joe Deninzon and band put their spin on. With the version by Muse, the band creates a song about animal attraction and the uncontrollable need for someone. Needless-to-say, the lyrics and music from Muse create a song that has a very dark feel to it. When Deninzon and the rest of Stratospheerius take their turn at the song, the ensemble seems to lighten up the feel of the song so that it’s not so dark. The energy level is still there with the Stratospheerius version as they create yet another track with a driving nature to the music, but the song contains a lighter feel this time around. If only a little bit.

The mood of the album changes direction on the next track. Like many in the music industry, Joe Deninzon shows he has a political side on the track “Affluenza”. With this track, Deninzon makes his opinion known on the subject as he sings about those who live their lives not caring what the consequences of their actions may be. While the lyrical content is rather political, the music of the track is rather commercial. The song begins with a Funk style of music that separates this track from every other song. The track’s music also includes some straight-out Rock and Roll. If not for the political edge to the song, “Affluenza” would be the most commercial track on the Guilty of Innocence album.

The most progressive sound of the band returns with the track “Game of Chicken”. The track once again features Deninzon on violin back by the rest of the band as they create a track that features one of the more challenging musical time signatures. With the track, Deninzon and the musicians in Stratospheerius show off their true musical abilities.

The Guilty of Innocence album from Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius comes to a close with what could be called the “showcase piece”. The track “Soul Food” features a playtime that exceeds the ten-minute mark. The twelve-plus minute opus features the band creating several different passages that change the direction of the music from one moment to the next. Included in the song are passages that include the use of a piano and the final section that even includes an entire chorus that adds an orchestral feel to the piece. The twelve-minute playtime seems to go by rather easily because of the variety in the different sections of the track. “Soul Food” ends up being the most unique track of the ten that make up the release.

Guilty of Innocence from Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius finds the band in fine form as they create a new album of music. While the album comes with plenty of Progressive Rock tracks, it’s the other songs containing other styles that help to make the release even more entertaining. If you happen to be a fan of Progressive Rock, the new album of Guilty of Innocence album from Joe Deninzon and the band Stratospheerius is one album you need to check out.

To hear just a little of the music of Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius, check out the song  “Guilty of Innocence”. 

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, Leighton Media.

To purchase a copy Guilty of Innocence from Joe Deninzon, click on the album cover below:

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  1. CD Review: Stratospheerius “Guilty of Innocence” | Melodic Revolution Records
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