Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution
Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal. This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal. It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points. It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points. Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records. Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass. This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass. Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again. The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal. He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar. That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.
Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride. The album opens fittingly with its title track. Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences. He still has that “unstoppable momentum.” The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section. Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit. He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so. His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record. This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.
Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’ The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence. Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career. It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.
There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy. And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece. That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’ For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on. Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia. So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased. Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost. It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well. Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is. And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks. The album is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website. Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani. Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.
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