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This review is from: Unstoppable Momentum (Audio CD)
Since his self-titled EP debut of 1984, through just about every solo album, Joe Satriani has produced some superb sonics and outstanding melodic moments.
Best examples of his undeniable six-string talents include the acclaimed Surfing with the Alien and his previous album Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards.
Yet no Satriani studio release has ever truly formed a complete work, been a definitive statement or captured his musical strengths from start to finish.
Until 2013 and Unstoppable Momentum.
Joe Satriani's fourteenth studio album is his best work to date in terms of melodic sculptures created, its musically cohesive whole and the musician's employed to bring Satriani's musical visions to melodic and instrumental fusion life.
But it does need multiple plays to bring the best out of it.
On Unstoppable Momentum Joe Satriani is again accompanied by Mike Keneally, who played on Black Swans and has been part of recent Satriani touring bands.
And the rhythm section is not exactly unproven - drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (ex Frank Zappa) is one of the most versatile drummers in the world and Jane's Addiction bassist Chris Chaney is also a member of Taylor Hawkins and The Coattail Riders.
That's one of the best bands Satriani has ever put together/ worked with.
While Mike Keneally plays keyboards on the album he is also a great guitarist.
His six-string sensibilities and understanding of Satriani and his songs means he also thinks as a guitarist; producing just what the songs need in terms of keyboard arrangements, textures and support.
It doesn't take long for this quartet's musical momentum to become unstoppable.
The outstanding title track opens the album in fine form, incorporating Satch-ified melodic rock lines over an off-beat rhythm.
Satriani's guitar leads on `Unstoppable Momentum' sing and sear, producing some of the best melodic lines and fusion-tinged harmonics Neal Schon never did, while the mid-tempo groove and melodic shuffle of `Can't Go Back' is the perfect contrast and compliment to the opener.
Other highlights include the quirky and aptly named `Three Sheets to the Wind,' the short but poignant `I'll Put a Stone on Your Cairn' and the straight ahead but infectious rock grooves of `A Door Into Summer' and `Shine On American Dreamer.'
But the Satch fans who like the edgier, riff-based material are also well catered for, as best exemplified on `Jumpin' In' and the fusion-funk of `Jumpin' Out.'
The brilliant fretboard work of the Satriani's and Steve Vai's of the world can get overly intense; it's a very fine line between superbly expressive rock guitar soloing and self-indulgent six-string masturbation.
But on Unstoppable Momentum Joe Satriani is in the zone and displaying his prodigious talents to best amplified effect.