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4.5 out of 5 stars31
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 March 2003
Quite simply astonishing. Satriani proves that he is comfortable in almost any popular guitar style known to man with an album that contains hints of metal (extremist and war), classical guitar (tears in the rain), funk (why), and 60's accoustic strum-alongs (Rubina's blue sky happiness).
Aside from satriani's obvious talent as a musician there is the fact that none of the playing on this album ever sounds too over-indulgent. This man can fuse catchy vocal like melodies with state of the art lead playing to great effect. Satriani's strength has always been in his ability to create a plethora of moods on his guitar and creates an astonishingly diverse selection on this album. From the desolation heard at the end of "war" to the heart rending "crying" to the gloriously euphoric "Rubina's blue sky happiness" you're always left trying to guess what you're going to hear next (and are usually mistaken). Unlike many of his shred-head contemporaries, Satriani has never been too caught up in his own ego to deliver the goods and this album is proof.
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on 11 November 1999
Joe Satriani really comes of age in this brilliant compilation of arguably his best work till date. Riffs in "Friends" and the title track "The Extremist" take the listener to a higher level of listening conciousness (I kid you not). That is precisely what is needed when it comes to what I think is probably Satch's best soft 'n' slow number ever - "Cryin'". The toe-curling sustain and wailing wah effects on this will surely have the more emotionally-enhanced amongst us reaching for the paper towels. Just about the time that you are reaching for the Valium in comes "Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness" with its cheerful acoustic sounds to blow away the clouds and bring back sunshine. From there on it is a roller coaster ride right till the end of the album - taking you through walls of sounds and colours and textures which are really the stuff of dreams.
This album is not only the showcase of a musical genius's talent - the production, arrangement and general presentation are top-notch and, personally speaking, yet to be bettered by The Great Satch himself.
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on 14 December 2002
This was the first album by Satch I heard. I also got the chance to go to see him on his "The Extremist" tour in Sheffield. Not only can he make the sounds he does, but he seems to do it with little visible effort! The title track just about sums up the skill Satriani has, yet not being the one and only track that "makes" the album. I think that he has moved on in several directions since this album, but on his "Live in San Francisco" album he does bring back some of his older works (on which none of the flare is lost!). I recommmend Strange Beautiful Music and Engines of Creation (some of his most recent work) both of which show excellent technique, without being over the top.
Buy this album if you know what good music is!
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on 22 October 2002
I was toying with the fact of giving this album 5 stars, as in my opinion four of the tracks deserve the 5 stars in themselves. The title track, The Extremist is outstanding, and, being a guitar player I can appreciate the skill involved in playing it (I wish I could..). The first track on the album, Friends, is another of my favirote Satch tracks of all time, as are 'Tears in the Rain' and the infamous 'Summer Song'. These tracks are great but unfortunatley, for me at least, none of the other tracks quite catch the 'Satch magic'. They are good pieces to listen to but, when compared to some of Joe's classic tunes like Surfing with the Alien, or indeed the Extremist, they don't seem to be in quite the same league.
Much like the latest album, "Strange Beautiful Music", I do recommend you buy this album, but I would recommend you purchase either 'Surfing with the Alien' or 'Crystal Planet'first to show you what he is really capable of. Then buy this :)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 August 2010
I`ve listened to Joe since about 1987, so know his music pretty well, but I`m still surprised when people refer to "The Extremist" as his best. It may have sold the most, but since when was that a gauge of anything? You only need a song to appear in an advert and that can launch an album into the stratosphere, sales-wise. I listen to this reasonably often, but I do skip past a few songs. I love "Friends", and "Rubina`s Blue Sky Happiness" is my favourite Joe song, bar none. It`s soooo beautiful, and holds special memories for me too which always helps a song! Either of those two should dispel the theory about Satriani`s work being little more than an exercise in self-love. If they don`t, then "Tears In The Rain" or album closer "New Blues" should. They are bang on, and totally different too - Joe really does have the technical ability, the musical theory knowledge, and the soul to make things work just right. Ahhh, but it`s not all perfect. "Summer Song" is often used for racing car videogames and that`s about right. "War" and "Cryin`" are popular, but they are nothing special...they are dangerously close to the sort of song that turns people off guitar instrumentalists. If Joe is just some name you`ve heard, and you think you should find out more about him, then this is probably a good place to start...but that`s only true if "Surfing With The Alien" is just something I`ve dreamt existed, and isn`t real. Buy that instead, it`s much better. Get this for the songs I`ve eulogised about.
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on 25 August 2002
This album blows all other satch albums out of the water and to top it off there's no singing either! You won't find Vai / Malmsteen self indulgent blistering guitar runs here, but what you do get is technical, precise and melodic playing - this is an album for both the guitarist and non guitarist. "New Blues" and "Rubina..." come highly recommended. In summary, a great album - shame he hasn't made any this good since (my opinion!).
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on 25 February 2004
The Extremist was the fifth studio album from Joe Satriani after Surfing With The Alien and Flying In A Blue Dream. Overall, I enjoyed listening to this album, especially The Extremist, Motorcycle Driver, Summer Song and the amazong Cryin'. Overall, the album does not improve or change in style from previous material so Surfing.... sticks in my mind as a more profound album. The Extremist is full of essentially good singles but as a whole they are unsatisfactory and unfulfilling.
If you are a Satriani fan who is looking for a break from the norm of 'glossy' riffs, try Crystal Planet or Flying In A Blue Dream. Other reviewers have complained about the over-the-top feel to the material in question. In some ways I agree. The title track is flashy and a little OTT but I like this quality to some of Satriani's tracks especially when he adds in new techniques and instruments,(the harmonica).
Browsing through Satriani's collection, The Extremist stounds out as similar to the legendary Surfing.... and Strange Beautiful Music. If your a fan but looking for more calm music try Flying In A Blue Dream, this for me is one of his best albums.
If you are new to Satriani however, this and Surfing... would be the best way to get involved, especially as the new box set of this album, Surfing... and the ok Not Of This Earth are available for a great price. Also check out the Vai Box Set.
Overall, I like The Extremist and other instrumental rock fans will too, despite the fact that this isn't his best work.
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on 25 July 2004
this album is one of satches best and i must say - the two people who gave it 1 star obviously dont have a clue and deserve to be shot. the thing which makes this album so great is the way that somehow satch manages to convey such feeling and emotion through his playing. its not "self indulgent" i mean just because he sometimes plays quite fast doesnt mean the music is any less good. "rubinas blue sky happiness" is a beautiful song and is so uplifting. BUY THIS TODAY!!!! you will love it to bits im sure.
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on 23 October 2001
an absolutely incredible record,this record covers much of the spectrum of instrumental rock with the strong,heavy title track,light and cheerful friends and the absolutly sublime,emotive and moving Rubina's blue sky happiness.From a guitarists point of view one has to gape openly at the incredible tone,speed and style shown by one of the best guitarists ever to grace us with his presence.I can say all this and more because i am listening to the record right now.If you are interested in instrumental rock,this album is a must.
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on 27 January 2007
If I picked up a guitar, I wouldn't know whether to beat it, eat it or strum it - but that in no way stops me from enjoying this extraordinary guitar-fest. You don't really even have to like Hard Rock to like this.

Quite apart from being an obvious talent on guitar, he also writes fantastic tunes, dripping with melodies, and he takes you through the whole range on this album. Some of it is in your face, some of it just glides, and some of it is fairly sentimental.

Of course he can shred it, but he can also make a guitar sing like no other player I know. This album is not meant to challenge a listener by forcing technical brilliance down your throat. It is simply a beautifully produced album, full of great flowing rock instrumentals, and played by an extraordinary player. You as a listener can choose which of the above you want to hear out of it.

To rate it as his best would do a disservice to several of his other equally brilliant releases, but it is certainly up there. Whichever angle you look at it from, this is a fabulous album.
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