JAM Magazine CD Review

May , 2013
Review by Scott Dworkin

Joe Satriani

"Unstoppable Momentum"

Label: Sony

If Joe Satriani has learned one thing with the release of his 14th studio album in 25 years, it's this. Don't stray too far away from what your fans expect.

Unstoppable Momentum is exactly the type of album you'd expect from this guitar virtuoso. To put it bluntly, this record is chock full of mind-blowing guitar playing interspersed with some really great melodic songs. If you are a Satriani acolyte, as well as a guitar geek (like many of his admirers proudly admit), there's no way you're going to be disappointed. As an added bonus, even non-playing musicians will appreciate the instrumental wizardry at work on this recording.

Yes, with Unstoppable Momentum, Satriani has deftly created eleven balanced compositions that will satisfy the hungry, and pique the interests of the nibblers, from beginning to end. This album has an energetic upbeat pace that in some ways reminds you of his 1992 classic, The Extremist. The first single, "A Door into Summer", is very reminiscent of the timeless track from that record, "Summer Song", even paying tribute to it with the title. 

Unlike past endeavours, there isn't an army of musicians joining Satriani on his instrumental voyages into atmospheric bliss. The record has a solid flow and ebb to it with an open airy vibe.  Satch's guitar tone, especially during the title track and "Shine on American Dreamer", have a heavy chorus and soaring sound that reminds one the melodic solo's Boston founder Tom Scholz's was famous for.

Loyalists of Satriani's guitar histrionics will be especially impressed with the soaring sounds joltin' Joe deftly creates with six strings. Tunes like "Jumpin In" has riffs incorporated into its structure that even the most dedicated guitar player will spend hours listening to, trying in vain to mimic the impossible notes Satriani was able to coax out of his instrument.

One of the most compelling aspects of any album by this guitar great is the lyrical pictures the music conjures up. Most of Satriani's work lacks any type of vocal support, but that doesn't stop the listener from creating their own. I know it sounds kind of silly, but when you hear inspired guitar playing, you almost feel compelled to add your two cents into the song any way you can.

Again, you don't have to be a guitar enthusiast to appreciate the effort Satriani puts forth on this disc. Sometimes it's hard to imagine 25 years have passed since the breakthrough Surfing with the Aliens catapulted this Grammy award winning artist into the pantheon of guitar greats. To the Satch man's credit, he's lived up to the accolades and then some. If there ever was an album title that actually the trajectory an artist is taking, then Unstoppable Momentum most definitely describes the direction Joe Satriani's career is heading