Thursday, May 9, 2013

Joe Satriani - Unstoppable Momentum (2013)

The world have seen many guitar virtuosos come and go, but no one is more respected then Joe "Satch" Satriani. Not only has he learned big names like Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett to play, but he has also a own signature guitar called the Ibanez JS Series. His skills on the guitar are only matched by his amazing ability to catch the listeners attention with his marvelous melodies and riffs. He can play cool songs, slow songs, fast songs and several other types. "Unstoppable Momentum" is Satriani's 14th studio album and his latest effort, "Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards", was a delight to listen to (even though I felt that it was a bit uneven in the musical department).

Just as the title hints, "Unstoppable Momentum" holds a stable momentum through the album that does not stop entirely. It keeps on truckin' until the very end. Now, this album may not be a new "Surfing With The Alien" where Satriani is pushing himself to the limit, but sometimes is simplicity better then fast shredding. What really matters is how good the end product sounds and "Unstoppable Momentum" sounds very pleasing overall. One great example of the simplicity is in "A Door Into Summer". Soothing tempo, soft riffs and beautiful solos. Just enough to create a good song.

Most of the song has the same tempo and style, but the duo "Jumpin' In" and "Jumpin' Out" has some sort of Fusion Jazz style that both seems weird and enchanting. The main reason why I like these two songs is that they are shifting in shape several times which makes them very interesting and not so dull. But the high point of the album is the following song "The Weight of The World". It is a beautiful song that has a distinct and memorable riff that you can hum all day long. And even though the keyboard sounds sligthly weird, it still gives you the sensation of that you are playing a classic game from the 90's. So the nostalgia factor is the reason to why you should listen to this song.

Strange enough, some of the songs in "Unstoppable Momentum", like the title track and "Can't Go Back", actually reminds me of Buckethead, another awesome instrumentalist. I do not know if it was meant to be a celebration to the man with a KFC bucket on his head or an influence or if it is a pure coincidence, but either way, it throws me off a bit and it ultimately does not feel like something Satch have done by himself. So it does not matter that it sounds good, it feels like plagiarism, but it does not mean that I wont still listen to it.

All in all, this album is still a blast to listen too. Satch shows once again why he is one of the best guitarist and instrumental song creators on the planet. Joe does not have to shred like a maniac to show off his skills, he has already done that and can instead focus on improving his song writing technique, which is already good. So even though this album has some problems with identity issues, "Unstoppable Momentum" is sure to be one of the best instrumental efforts in the year of 2013.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Weight of The World, Unstoppable Momentum, Jumpin' Out

Rating: 7,5/10 American Dreamers

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