Derek Sherinian and Steve Stevens show off their soloing stamina in scorching new single, The Vortex

Derek Sherinian and Steve Stevens performing live on stage
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic / Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian announced his new album Vortex, which will feature guest appearances from an array of electric guitar heavyweights. 

Now, Sherinian has dropped the LP’s instrumental lead single and title track, for which he’s called upon the six-string expertise of Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens.

After easing listeners in with a zany, interstellar-sounding electronic opening, The Vortex gets straight down to business, wasting no time in introducing both Sherinian’s buzzy rhythmic hook – complete with ghoulish soundscapes – and the twist-and-turn-filled lead melody.

Stevens’ six-string sounds stick to the script for around a minute-and-a-half, though begin to branch at thereafter, incorporating wah-licked runs, slide-driven soundbites and scale-based exchanges into a broader tapestry of non-stop noodles.

The pièce de résistance, though, arrives near the end of Stevens’ astonishing display of six-string stamina. After Sherinian’s own mind-melting solo, Stevens helps to wrap things up by way of a blinding fretboard run and a reprise of the raucous riff.

Check it out below.

Due July 1, Vortex follows Sherinian’s 2020 effort The Phoenix, and will see the keys virtuoso also line up alongside Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather, Nuno Bettencourt, Zakk Wylde, Mike Stern, Michael Schenker and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal.

Longtime Sherinian collaborator/drummer Simon Phillips, and bass guitar player Tony Franklin will complete the studio lineup. 

Of the upcoming effort, which is seen as a direct continuation of The Phoenix, Sherinian said, “Simon and I always try and outdo ourselves with every release, and I am confident we achieved our goal.

“I feel the composition is stronger on the new album,” he continued, “and I would describe it as a modern day ‘70s-style fusion record, but with newer heavier tonality.”

While Sherinian has previous experience playing with the likes of Bonamassa, Stevens, Lukather, Wylde and Bumblefoot, Vortex marks the first time he’s shared a studio with Bettencourt and Schenker.

Of his imminent link-up with Bettencourt, Sherinian reflected, “I have always been a fan of his playing, and I am glad that we finally got to record together. He has the Van Halen swing and swagger to his playing that I love.”

Head over to Derek Sherinian's website to keep up to date with the latest Vortex updates.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.