Joe Satriani

~ Super Colossal (2006) ~

So I listened to SC for the very first time today; straight through front to back & same again. To be honest, other than Crowd Chant (which is "crazy" old Satch!), on first listen nothing stood out as truly outstanding (i.e. 5*, my top rating). It's totally solid, no doubt about that; I didn't find any low points (3*/lower). But nothing really grabbed me in the way multiple tracks did on, say, Crystal Planet &/or Engines of Creation. Second time around opinions firmed up a bit...

So, initial thoughts: Opener, Super Colossal, starts solidly enough (& is good) but doesn't really go anywhere that interesting (4*). Just Like Lightnin' is groovy; I like it. Nothing stellar but I could listen to Satch improvise around this for quite a while (4*). It's So Good is annoyingly upbeat & just sounds like the usual Satch fair to me. Still solid I suppose, if a little uninspiring (4*). Redshift Riders feels like a change of pace for the first time on SC. This is pretty sweet; loving those lead lines. Maybe a 5-star given a few more listens and more familiarity (4*). Ten Words has a nice melody, pretty & soulful; but sounds a little familiar. Nice Satch, but something is stopping this being really special &/or original (4*). A Cool New Way starts... well, really cool; brooding rhythm backing with these nice harmonics. But then the lead tone kicks in & nothing really sounds that new any more. There's some nice soloing later on but nothing really breaks the Satch mould here. Nice, but still not amazing (4*). Now One Robot's Dream is different sounding. The bass and drumming grabbed me immediately, being more dynamic and less generic; there's also some subtle synth work. In fact the lead work is the least interesting thing about this track. I like it, a lot! It's the first track with real atmosphere (5*). Next up is The Meaning of Love. And Satch gets all smoozy on us; a mood he's guilty of falling into a little too much for my liking. Still, there's some tasty lead work going on here (4*). Made in Tears is another lovely mood track with a nice groove. I'm liking this one too (5*). Theme for a Strange World opens and is immediately reminiscent of some of his more recent albums in terms of tone & tempo. Big drums & big riffs here. Possibly the stand-out track? Not sure, but it's a great track (5*). Movin' On is in generic rock territory but Satch keeps it interesting, as usual (4*). Penultimate track, A Love Eternal, and Satch is getting all fucking smoozy again. I might grow to hate this, with time; but right now it's still sounding pretty decent (4*) [EDIT: After a third listening I've decided this track is kinda dull (3*)]. Now then, Crowd Chant. Hmmm. The crowd parts are so fucking lame, but the little bridge/chorus part is such a good riff. I love that. It's not enough to elevate this to a truly great track, but the gimmicky crowd crap ain't annoying enough for me to rate this anything other than 4-star right now. A strange end to the album (4*).
Decent album. I'm going to listen to this some more over the next few weeks.

Next up: Professor Satchablahblah...
 
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matic22

Ancient Mariner
~ Super Colossal (2006) ~

So I listened to SC for the very first time today; straight through front to back & same again. To be honest, other than Crowd Chant (which is "crazy" old Satch!), on first listen nothing stood out as truly outstanding (i.e. 5*, my top rating). It's totally solid, no doubt about that; I didn't find any low points (3*/lower). But nothing really grabbed me in the way multiple tracks did on, say, Crystal Planet &/or Engines of Creation. Second time around opinions firmed up a bit...

So, initial thoughts: Opener, Super Colossal, starts solidly enough (& is good) but doesn't really go anywhere that interesting (4*). Just Like Lightnin' is groovy; I like it. Nothing stellar but I could listen to Satch improvise around this for quite a while (4*). It's So Good is annoyingly upbeat & just sounds like the usual Satch fair to me. Still solid I suppose, if a little uninspiring (4*). Redshift Riders feels like a change of pace for the first time on SC. This is pretty sweet; loving those lead lines. Maybe a 5-star given a few more listens and more familiarity (4*). Ten Words has a nice melody, pretty & soulful; but sounds a little familiar. Nice Satch, but something is stopping this being really special &/or original (4*). A Cool New Way starts... well, really cool; brooding rhythm backing with these nice harmonics. But then the lead tone kicks in & nothing really sounds that new any more. There's some nice soloing later on but nothing really breaks the Satch mould here. Nice, but still not amazing (4*). Now One Robot's Dream is different sounding. The bass and drumming grabbed me immediately, being more dynamic and less generic; there's also some subtle synth work. In fact the lead work is the least interesting thing about this track. I like it, a lot! It's the first track with real atmosphere (5*). Next up is The Meaning of Love. And Satch gets all smoozy on us; a mood he's guilty of falling into a little too much for my liking. Still, there's some tasty lead work going on here (4*). Made in Tears is another lovely mood track with a nice groove. I'm liking this one too (5*). Theme for a Strange World opens and is immediately reminiscent of some of his more recent albums in terms of tone & tempo. Big drums & big riffs here. Possibly the stand-out track? Not sure, but it's a great track (5*). Movin' On is in generic rock territory but Satch keeps it interesting, as usual (4*). Penultimate track, A Love Eternal, and Satch is getting all fucking smoozy again. I might grow to hate this, with time; but right now it's still sounding pretty decent (4*). Now then, Crowd Chant. Hmmm. The crowd parts are so fucking lame, but the little bridge/chorus part is such a good riff. I love that. It's not enough to elevate this to a truly great track, but the gimmicky crowd crap ain't annoying enough for me to rate this anything other than 4-star right now. A strange end to the album (4*).
Decent album. I'm going to listen to this some more over the next few weeks.

Next up: Professor Satchablahblah...
Professor Satchafhddhkkdv is an interesting record to me. It has some of the best melodic playing that Joe has ever done, but also has some of his lamest songs on it.

Will be very interesting to hear what you think of it.
 
So, before I get round to any further reviews, just to say I've been listening to the trio of Super Colossal (2006)/Professor Satch' (2008)/Black Swans (2010) on rotation for a couple of weeks now; mixing it up with some older album listening too. I don't know if this is surprising or an unpopular opinion, but I fucking love Black Swans. I've no idea why I like this so much, but I like a lot of tracks on this. The groove/funk on Pyrrhic Victoria is immense. Puts a smile on my face every time I put it on! :D
 

Saapanael

Ancient Mariner
What Happens Next - Joe Satriani announced a new album today, to be released in 2018 followed by a G3 tour alongside John Petrucci and Phil Collen. You can hear a sample from an upcoming song on his webpage satriani.com. US tour dates are also up on the website.
Petrucci and Satriani together on a stage, now that would be a sight to behold. I'll be happy to listen to the new record as Shockwave Supernova has grown on me since its release and has become one of my favourite Satch albums.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
I'm thinking about going to it. I assume we'll be getting JP's long awaited 2nd solo album to go along with this. Maybe the debut of 8 string?
 

Saapanael

Ancient Mariner
I assume we'll be getting JP's long awaited 2nd solo album to go along with this. Maybe the debut of 8 string?
Oh yeah, wanted to mention that as well. Trucc played three new songs in G3 2012 and they were all pretty good. It's about time he came out with the second album. I'm not all that excited for the 8-stringer because I think the low end starts to interfere with the bass too much beyond seven strings, but hey, prove me wrong.
 

Saapanael

Ancient Mariner
Yup, looks that way. It's interesting because I'm used to the Satch band always being four people. I wonder what's going to happen with second guitar/synth.
Also, Satch simply does not appear to be 61 years old.
 
Satch mostly did second guitar parts himself, did he not? Fourth player missing is simply keys (e.g. Mike Keneally). Maybe Satch is just doing that himself or it's going to be more stripped back sounding?
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
The Best Band Ever Survivor has gotten me interested in really digging into instrumental guitar driven rock, a style I've only spent a little bit of time with. Starting with Satriani because I know him best. I've listened to Surfing With the Alien many times, but never his debut album.

Not Of This Earth - Seems like a hodgepodge, lots of ideas that get better refined on the next album but this feels more like a demo. The guitar work is really impressive though, I can imagine this album making a splash among guitar enthusiasts in the 80s despite the subpar production and messy songwriting.

Surfing With the Alien - It's crazy how much of a step up this is. The production is better, the compositions are better, even the playing has improved a ton. One small detail about this album I've always liked, and I don't know if this remains on future albums, is the way he slightly changes his lead tone between solo sections. It's like a different "voice" is taking the lead or emulating a solo trade off. It actually reminds me of Iron Maiden, the way all three guitarists have their own tone and musical personality. I've always wondered if Satriani was influenced by the chemistry between Dave and Adrian. The layering of instruments is also very nice. One of my all time favorite albums. So many great riffs and melodies too, this album defies anyone who thinks Satriani can't write a good song.
 
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