Joe Satriani was signed to a new label to unleash this album, his second album. It instantly got him some well-deserved recognition and also helped recognise the then relatively new genre of shred, although many other contemporaries were pursuing shred guitar skills and music as well at the time. For those of you who enjoy skill and dexterity out there on the electric guitar, this album is seriously worth having in your collection. A guitar is an instrument like any other, and skills are appreciated, no matter what the style. Let’s listen to this album and hear if it still sounds as great as it should today.
Surfing With The Alien launches the album with some sampled overload of chatter, before this tune gets going with menacing and excellent guitars. There is a magnificent wah-wah guitar solo early on, and we get rocking pretty well here. This is legendary stuff straight up, and Joe Satriani’s solos and playing are not just rhythmically, but melodically excellent. If you love amazing playing, accurate screaming guitars and musically impressive sounds, this is your new guitar God. Joe Satriani plays a Kramer Pacer which is a very Eddie Van Halen styled guitar, and it sounds really brilliant on this song. Sounds and samples abound in between the amazing guitar work that is present in this song, and this instrumental rivals anything Mozart, Bach or Beethoven ever did. A truly great tune, there are many clever sounds and immaculate playing using the tremolo bar as well. Awesome, all the way through to the fade out.
Ice 9 is next, and this is a slow, more rhythmic piece of music that has a pseudo-Funky groove about it, and sounds really fun and cool to listen to. Screaming guitars in the background over some single coil guitar riffs are present here, and again, this is amazing and fine listening from the shredder. A blues pickup shred style guitar solo is present, followed by a very Metallica type lead pickup guitar solo. The sounds present in this song are truly amazing and are evidence of the genius of Joe Satriani. A really cool and great listening experience, this is really interesting and although perhaps not the most commercial music of the time, the artistry of this product remains. The tones and sound on this song are very impressive, with loads of excellent fretting, harmonies and sounds to dazzle you. Another great cut by the legendary Joe Satriani here.
Crushing Day begins with some palm muted riffing that is authoritative, quickly followed by a nice vibrato laden melody and this track gets going well. The music here is fairly 1980s, but like all great music, it transcends its time and sounds brilliant. Some nice dive bombing is present in this song, and Joe Satriani puts his Kramer Pacer that he used on this album to excellent use. Another excellent instrumental, perfect for blasting out in the car to annoy drivers next to one as they drive along. A fantastic shred solo is in the middle here, and this whole album comes across as something truly underappreciated and underrated. In any case, the sounds and playing are so impressive that they will surprise you. The tune present is decent and upbeat, and everything on it is incredible. A fine showcase of talent, this song and piece sounds extraordinarily good. The music on this song is frankly amazing and extraordinary and is proof that, if you put in your 10 000 hours of guitar practice, you can make amazing tunes for people to hear. Another solid gold hit, and catchy too. It fades out nicely.
Always With Me, Always With You begins with maraca sounds, a much more lush sounding piece of instrumentation and a great piece of sonic sounding textures. Soon enough, Joe Satriani plays a really lovely and pretty guitar part that sounds somewhat romantic, but still in the style of shred present that is fantastic. The arrangements and sounds present in this song are pure bliss, and this tune is straight up great. This is proof that one need not just sing to invoke great emotion, instrumentation can do that job as well. A really thoroughly excellent and amazing listen, this song is really decent and nicely played. Great that Joe Satriani can put in a wide variety of sounds. This ends with a simple sounding fade out, good work man.
Satch Boogie begins with some pacing hi-hats, before quickly launching into a really great tune that has some expressive and interesting guitar playing. If you ever wish to hear some insane guitar shredding, this needs to be in your mix of music. Outstanding, excellent and inspired, the wailing leads present in this song are almost unrivalled in the world of music. A truly awesome tune, and one of Joe Satriani’s best for sure. There is some flanger heavy playing in the second half, which is also very amazing. The band builds up a neat groove before this piece concludes magnificently. An excellent and truly out there listen, and a must hear for fans of shred extraordinaire guitar music.
Hill Of The Skull is a very short piece on this album at under two minutes in length. It certainly sounds like an unusual listen, something that would not be out of the place in an Indiana Jones style movie. In short, it’s weird, with wailing guitars to match. Still, worth hearing but very unusual for this album. You could skip it, but it is so short and part of the overall album that you don’t need to. It has keyboard gospel vocals at the end of it.
Circles begins with some unusual electronic sounds before a simple acoustic/electric guitar gets playing over a simple percussion backing. A really lush and gentle piece of music, this is something from Joe Satriani that one can chill and vibe to. That is until the screaming shredding guitars enter and this piece hits a manic groove. A far out and excellent tune, this sounds amazingly great and decent throughout. Some of Joe Satriani’s best playing on the album is in this instrumental, with plenty of whammy bar work and expert techniques. This soon enough goes into the section that was prior to it, and it is surely a leftfield twist to this album. The end of the song has some interesting Electronic sounds and textures mixed into this tune, before concluding. Great work.
Lords Of Karma begins with some electric sitar, which is suspenseful and different. Soon enough, guitars and drums join in and this piece gets going. Another fantastically awesome listen, this is a dark and suspenseful sounding tune that sounds very excellent. There is some good usage of whammy guitar work again present in this song, and this does sound really thoroughly excellent. Pinch harmonies, shredding and some of the best guitar sounds you will ever hear are on this album, and this song as well. A fine and glorious tune, this launches into an electric sitar heavy breakdown which sounds super dark. Soon enough, there are more screaming guitars and drums that enter nicely on this song. A great energy rush of sounds and playing, this is a strange turn from the other music on this album. All the same, it is an excellent turn at that. This fades out very nicely and gently to finish with, as you hang on listening to every note being played.
Midnight begins with some tapped guitar playing and a very decent instrumental to rival Van Halen style instrumentals is present. Soon enough, this quickly enters into a short and sharp instrumental section that sounds intricate, interesting and quite effortless. A really cool and enjoyable instrumental, this is less than two minutes of glory. Enjoyably amazing, Joe Satriani knows how to impress. Great stuff.
Echo is the final track on this album, launching with some heavy drum beats, clanging bass lines and some muted guitar work. This is also the longest track on this album. Some slow leads eventually enter, and this piece gets wonderfully underway. A great and totally wonderful piece of excellently emotional music, this song sounds full of amazement and wonder as you hear the sounds emerging from it. Eventually, Joe Satriani gets some deeper and more melodic shredding underway, and this rather moving piece eventually becomes alive. A very enjoyable piece of note perfect soloing, the sounds like a more moving piece of playing, but in the usually incredible Joe Satriani way. Nonetheless, a grand and beautiful conclusion to a very underrated album. Joe Satriani drew on the past to create a great musical future for himself, and the world of music. Great stuff, and very listenable music throughout. This finishes with a nice fade out.
Undeniably, Joe Satriani made a truly great album here, one which surpassed all expectations and put his own name into Rock music history. If you love shred guitar styling, excellently great sounds and instrumentals, this is the perfect album for you. Even those who don’t listen to shred that often will likely be amazed at the material here. Keep on going Joe, you deserve all the praise you need here.
A must listen.