Solipsistic Reviewed on Danger Dog

Joel Rittberg from “Danger Dog Music Reviews” published a review about Solipsistic yesterday July 29, 2013. Joel loved the album so much he gave it a score of 5 out of 5!

Here’s the full review.

Solipsistic Album Cover

Semantic Saturation: Solipsistic
Instrumental Progressive Rock/Metal
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by Joel Rittberg, 07.29.2013

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.

Shant Hagopian (guitars)
Shant Hagopian, guitarist

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. It’s a journey of musical emotions that reaches amazing heights, 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.


Dutch Progressive Rock Page reviews Solipsistic

Here’s a quick review of Solipsistic by the Dutch Progressive Rock Page (

Semantic Saturation – Solipsistic

Solipsistic Album Cover
Solipsistic Album Cover

Tracklist: Ambivalence (6:33), Make Believe (5:06) Lost And Found: Insanity (5:26), Stardust (6:49), Blessing In Disguise (4:48), Armchair Activist (4:10), Point Of Singularity (3:50), Time Is An Illusion (5:43), What If We All Stop (8:44)

Shant Hagopian is a songwriter and guitarist best known until now for founding the prog rock/metal band Nu.clear.dawn. Hailing from the currently war-torn city of Aleppo they raised attention for having the first officially released metal album from Syria. Their 2003 disc Poem of a Knight won positive reviews and got the band slots on several big Middle Eastern festivals.

Shant moved to Canada in 2005 and began work on his first solo project. Featuring progressive musical gurus drummer Virgil Donati (Steve Vai), bassist Rick Fierabracci (PlanetX) and ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian, Semantic Saturation is a highly polished debut album.

It consists of nine tracks; the first eight are instrumental with a heavy influence of Dream Theater, Vai, Rush and SymphonyX while the final track features the signature vocals of Andy Kuntz. The involvement of the Vanden Plas singer will further widen interest in this disc.

I’m no musician myself but Shant is clearly a highly talented composer and guitarist. Most of the songs here rock, but unlike many “guitarist” albums this is no shred-fest. Hagopian knows the meaning of restraint. His music has colour, textures and great variations in pace, with a melody central to every composition. These are real songs.

Considering the abilities of the musicians he has assembled, that alone is no mean achievement. His early career as a jazz guitarist comes out clearly in several tracks especially the sparkling Stardust and Point Of Singularity.

Two tracks (Ambivalence and Stardust) are currently available free from Shant’s website. They give a good flavour of the album and I’d heartily recommend this to anyone who enjoys instrumental progressive rock. An album you will come back to again and again with relish.

Conclusion: 8 out of 10


Dutch Prog Web’zine “Prog Wereld” Reviews Solipsistic

Ruard Veltmaat from the Dutch web’zine “Prog Wereld” posted a review of Solipsistic yesterday. Here’s the original review in Dutch, and Google’s translation attempt below.

Solipsistic Album Cover
Solipsistic Album Cover

Een uitgedacht marketingplan, een gelikte cover, strakke uitstraling en een uitgebreide promosheet van maar liefst vier full color pagina’s. Daar maak je absoluut indruk mee. Voor je ook maar één noot gehoord hebt, ben je al min of meer onder de indruk. Zo zie je maar weer, de eerste indruk is belangrijk.

Mastermind achter het project “Semantic Saturation” is Shant Hagopian, die zelfs op de promosheet de uitspraak achter de naam in lettergrepen en spreektaal heeft geformuleerd om enige verwarring dan ook helemaal uit te sluiten. Hij heeft passie voor dit project en dat is goed te merken. Hagopian is van Syrische afkomst en was eerder gitarist in de band “Nu.Clear.Dawn”, waarmee hij in 2003 de eerste Syrische metalplaat ooit mee uitbracht. Nadat hij in 2005 naar Canada is verhuisd, heeft hij een eigen handeltje opgezet met als resultaat dit album, waar hij hulp krijgt van beunhazen als Virgil Donati, Derek Sherinian en Ric Fierabracci. Niet de minste artiesten dus.

De muziek die Hagopian en zijn collega’s maakt, is op de laatste song van het album na volledig instrumentaal en zit werkelijk waar volgepropt met gitaarelementen. Niet helemaal onlogisch natuurlijk. De progrock en metal die de gelegenheidsformatie ons biedt, wordt gecombineerd met elementen uit de jazz maar laat bijvoorbeeld ook gelikte toetsenriedels horen van Derek Sherinian. Zo is Lost And Found – Insanity door een op het oor eenvoudig toetsendeuntje ontzettend lekker te beluisteren en krijgt de op Dream Theater geïnspireerde muziek een moderne toets mee. Vigil Donati heeft zoals gewend een directe manier van drummen en kan ook op dit album diverse maatsoorten op weergaloze wijze combineren, hoewel zijn aandeel mij persoonlijk iets te ver naar voren is gemixt. Zoals gezegd is de plaat toegespitst op de gitaarkunsten van Hagopian, maar hij weet zijn kunsten op intelligente wijze te etaleren op de cd. Ik krijg nergens het gevoel van: “kijk ik eens wat ik allemaal kan met gitaar”, wat voor gitaarvirtuozen een beheersing betekent. Nee, Hagopian gaat voor onderhoudende riffs, verfijnde melodie, gecontroleerde tempowisselingen en complexiteit. De toevoeging van Vanden Plas zangerAndy Kuntz in What If We All Stop is daarom een extraatje, maar was uiteindelijk geen noodzaak om de boel ”˜op te leuken’.

Uiteindelijk is niet alleen de eerste indruk sterk, maar ook het hele pakket dat Hagopian laat zien en horen. De productie is meer dan in orde, de muziek is zeker voor liefhebbers van instrumentale muziek met voorkeur voor de gitaar een aanrader. Persoonlijk had ik zelf graag wat meer vocale inbreng gehoord en dan met voorkeur ook nog een andere zanger, maar ook hier geldt de gouden regel: ieder zijn eigen smaak.

Ruard Veltmaat


[Translation by Google]

Devised a marketing plan, a slick cover, sleek appearance and an extensive promo sheet of less than four full color pages. There you will definitely impress. Before you even heard a note, you are more or less impressed. So there you have it, the first impression is important.

Mastermind behind the project “Semantic Saturation” was Shant Hagopian, even the promo called the verdict after the name into syllables and colloquialisms has formulated some confusion therefore be ruled out entirely. He has passion for this project and that is very noticeable. Hagopian is of Syrian descent and was previously guitarist in the band “Nu.Clear.Dawn”, which in 2003 the first Syrian metal album ever being released. After he moved to Canada in 2005, he has set up own business and as a result this album, he gets help from bunglers as Virgil Donati, Derek Sherinian and Ric Fierabracci. Not the least so artists.

The music Hagopian and his colleagues make is the last song of the album after completely instrumental and is really true crammed with guitar elements. Not quite illogical course. The prog rock and metal that gives us the opportunity formation, combined with elements of jazz but also allows such slick toetsenriedels hear from Derek Sherinian. So Lost And Found – Insanity by a simple button on the ear tune very nice to listen and get on the Dream Theater inspired music with a modern touch. Vigil Donati has used such a direct way of drumming and is also on this album several signatures on combining unparalleled manner, although its share me personally a little too far forward is mixed. As mentioned, the album focuses on the arts of guitar Hagopian, but he knows his art intelligently to showcase on the CD. I never get the feeling of: “I look at what I can do with guitar”, what guitar virtuosos a control means. No, Hagopian goes for entertaining riffs, exquisite melody, controlled tempo and complexity. The addition of Vanden Plas vocalist Andy Kuntz in What If We All Stop is therefore a perk, but was ultimately no need to get things “to spice”.

Ultimately, not only the first impression strong, but also the whole package that Hagopian shows and hear. The production is more than okay, the music is definitely for lovers of instrumental music with preference for the guitar a must. Personally I would have liked a little more vocal contribution heard and then preferably also another singer, but here is the golden rule: to each his own taste.

Ruard Veltmaat

Progressive Area reviews Solipsistic

Olivium from the French web’zine Progressive Area reviewed Solipsistic on April 7
Here’s the original review in French, and the Google’s English translation attempt below it.

Solipsistic Album Cover
Solipsistic Album Cover

Et oui je le sais, je vais encore me comporter comme une midinette ang??lique qu???un petit rien ??moustille, mais avoir entre les mains une nouvelle galette de pur Rock Metal Progressif sur laquelle joue Virgil DONATI (PLANET X, Steve VAI, Tony MacALPINE, etc???) et Derek Sherinian anciennement dans DREAM THEATER, est un instant jubilatoire et excitant.
Bon, commen??ons par le debut. SEMANTIC SATURATION n’est pas ?? proprement parl?? un groupe, mais un projet n?? de l???esprit de Shant Hagopian (guitariste de NU.CLEAR.DAWN), compos??, autofinanc?? et produit par lui : donc autant dire que comme il n???y a pas de label ou de maison d?????dition ?? r??tribuer ; quand vous achetez l???album, l???int??gralit?? des dividendes tombent dans son escarcelle. ?? Solipsitic ?? n???est pas cher (un peu moins de 9 ???), son packaging est superbe, mais surtout???son contenu musical ne peut que f??d??rer un large panel de fans de gros Rock, allant de Steve VAI, Joe SATRIANI, John PETRUCCI ou RUSH.
Une petite pr??cision tout de m??me, les 53 minutes de ?? Solipsitic ?? sont essentiellement structur??es par des morceaux instrumentaux, sauf ?? What if We All Stop ??, sur lequel chante Andy Kunts du groupe VANDEN PLAS.
?? Solipsitic ?? est un album qui me convient ?? 800%, pour la simple et bonne raison qu???il n???utilise pas tout ce qui me fait mourir d???ennui dans le Rock ou le Metal : la surench??re de technique pour la technique, les sons de batteuse genre ??????mitraillettes blast??s?????? au taquet, un son actuel hyper st??r??otyp?? et manquant profond??ment de chaleur. ?? Solipsitic ?? est justement tout l???inverse !
Je retrouve tout ?? fait l???univers m??lodique et ??pidermique transmis par les 3 ??????guitar h??roes?????? pr??cit??s plus haut. Chaque riff est construit pour v??hiculer une sensation, donc pas de d??ballage de notes ici, mais de la fluidit?? ?? ??????fleur de peau??????. L???expressivit?? est de rigueur et chaque solo raconte une histoire, surtout quand toute la place lui est fait comme sur une composition telle que ?? Point of Singularity ??, ??pur??e et jou??e ?? la guitare acoustique.
La construction rythmique globale pousse cette logique jusque l?? aussi ; allant dans le sens de l???efficacit??, bien souvent Shant se dispense justement de soli car les riffs principaux, bien structur??s, ??tayent largement l???ambiance en richesse harmonique, donc il n???y pas forc??ment besoin d???en rajouter.
Virgil DOANTI avec son jeu reconnaissable d???entre tous, met ??tonnamment beaucoup de r??serve dans ses d??veloppements, apurant au maximum pour mettre en avant l???aspect ??????faussement facile?????? des titres. M???enfin, ses breaks restent toujours spectaculaires ?? entendre.
Ensuite, et l?? cela m???a presque fait un choc???non j???exag??re un peu, mais la l??g??re folie cr??atrice ?? laquelle nous ?? tr??s souvent habitu?? SHERINIAN est elle aussi mise de c??t??. Hormis sur ?? Lost and Found Insanity ?? o?? il se fait novateur aux niveaux sonorit??s, le reste du temps il adopte un jeu classique de ?? question/r??ponse ??, ou de renfort harmonique sur les soli de la guitare auquel tout le monde est habitu?? dans le Progressif. Attention ce n???est pas r??dhibitoire, et j???imagine que c???est ce que Shant voulait lors du processus de cr??ation des compositions.
Par contre je trouve dommage que Andy Kunts n???ait pas ??t?? mis plus ?? contribution, il apporte beaucoup sur ?? What if We All Stop ??. Lui aussi a su s???y faire ??volutif, doux et pos??, la Setlist est assez ??clectique et connaissant l?????tendue vocale du m???sieur, il y a fort ?? parier que le r??sultat dans son ensemble en aurait ??t?? rehauss??. Bon, par contre je pense que cela ne regarde que moi apr??s tout.
?? Solipsistic ?? est une excellente rentr??e de d??but 2013 en mati??re de Rock Metal Progressif, soutenons, et ne boudons pas notre plaisir.


[Translated by Google]

And yes I know I’ll still have me as a shopgirl angelic little thing that tantalizes, but the hands have a new slab of pure Rock Progressive Metal Virgil Donati plays on which (Planet X, Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine etc …) and Derek Sherinian formerly in DREAM THEATER, is a joyous and exciting time.
Well, first things first. SEMANTIC SATURATION is not strictly speaking a group, but a project born from the spirit of Shant Hagopian (guitarist NU.CLEAR.DAWN), composed, self-financed and produced by him so far as to say that there no label or publisher to reward, when you buy the album, all the dividends fall into her purse. “Solipsitic” is not expensive (just under $9), its packaging is gorgeous, but mostly … musical content can only unite a wide range of fans of big Rock from Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John PETRUCCI or RUSH.
A small precision anyway, the 53 minutes of “Solipsitic” are essentially structured instrumental tracks except “What if We All Stop”, on which Andy Kuntz from VANDEN PLAS group sings.
“Solipsitic” is an album that suits me 800%, for the simple reason that it does not use anything that makes me die of boredom in Rock or Metal: the escalation of technology for technology, sounds like thresher” blasts” the cleat machine guns, sound current hyper stereotyped and lacking deep heat. “Solipsitic” everything is just the opposite!
I find the world quite melodic and epidermal transmitted by 3” Guitar Heroes” above above. Each riff is built to convey a feeling, not unpacking ratings here, but the fluidity” edge”. The expressiveness is required and each solo tells a story, especially when it is all over the place is like a composition such as “Point of Singularity”, refined and played acoustic guitar.
Overall rhythmic construction pushes this logic up there too along the lines of efficiency, often Shant dispenses precisely because solid riffs major, well-structured, largely supports the atmosphere in harmonic richness, so there not necessarily need to add.
Virgil with his game DONATI recognizable among all, is surprisingly great caution in its development, auditing up to highlight the look deceptively easy”” titles. I finally breaks his spectacular remain to hear.
Then and there that I was almost a shock … no I’m exaggerating a bit, but the slight creative madness that we often used to SHERINIAN is also set aside. Except on “Lost and Found Insanity” where he is at innovative sounds, the rest of the time it adopts a classic game of “question / answer” or reinforcing harmonic guitar solos that everyone is accustomed to The Progressive. Warning this is not prohibitive, and I guess that’s what Shant wanted in the process of creating compositions.
By cons I find it unfortunate that Andy Kunts has not been more involved, it brings a lot of “What if We All Stop”. He also managed to make it scalable, sweet and laid the setlist is quite eclectic and knowing the extent of voice sir, it’s a safe bet that the overall result would have been enhanced. Well, by cons I think it is my business after all.
“Solipsitic” is a great start back in 2013 in Rock Progressive Metal, support, and do not spoil our fun.