New Album Review #4: Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum (2013)
Joe Satriani, a man whose vibrant vibrato and spot-on guitar bendings I will always instantly recognize. As one of the few 80s guitar virtuosos he maintained a steady output of new solo material throughout his whole career, and successfully I might add. Thanks to that, he still is a household name in the guitar-loving community and released signature series of effect pedals, amps and guitars.
To be honest, I haven’t listened to all of his albums, but I’m very familiar with his style of instrumental music. His most distinguished skill is, that he can also, additionally to his amazing solo skills, perform a ‘vocal’ lead guitar line, that resembles the usual human phrasing so well, that I have been tricked into believing that there’s actually somebody singing more than once.
Nevertheless, I like things that are different. I don’t want to hear the same album remade with a different name slapped onto it, as many other famous artist have done. Can ‘Satch’ keep his trademark style and still deliver a fresh work of music that is worthy of being put on a record? Let’s find out!
The Songs & Production
The album Unstoppable Momentum start right away without much of an intro. For me, the title track completely fails as an opener, as the harmonies, the repetitive character of the main riff and the extensive solo-ing feel more like a song fitting for an album’s grand finale. But otherwise the song is fine.
Lies and Truths impressed me with its interesting use of break-beat rhythms, while most of the other song on the album hardly made a lasting impression on the first listen. This usually doesn’t make me want to sit through the whole record again, which is also the case here. The Weight of The World stands out with its 80s-flavored sounds, but falls a bit flat in its last third by ending in an excessively epic solo-section.
Overall the very polished tone and overly perfect performances might fit the guitar-hero’s style and the modern ‘American‘ aesthetics, but for me, the liveliness and authenticity is lost with this kind of sound. On the other hand, it is and always has been his sound, so why should he change it?
As usual, Satriani finds a lot of creative ways to use his guitar for his own benefit. He does what he always does, without adding that much into the mix. Yes, I know, that’s what I always say. Again, I like things that are different and unexpected, so in that regard Satch didn’t impress me at all; it is mostly just more of the same.
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The Final Judgement
A fan of Satriani or instrumental rock music might find a lot of joy in this record. If you’re into guitar playing and mangling your intrument with a lot of cool gizmos and effects, this album could provide plenty of inspiration. But, if you’re looking for new ideas or adventurous innovations, you might wanna skip this one.