Album Reviews

Joe Satriani

Shockwave Supernova

Artist:     Joe Satriani

Album:     Shockwave Supernova

Label:     Legacy

Release Date:     07/24/2015


Joe Satriani seems as though he’s in a time capsule, except we’ve been digging him up every few years since the mid ’80s. His sound basically has not changed at all. Shockwave Supernova is his 15th album, an impressive feat slightly diminished by the fact that every single song sounds pretty much the same. Head-spinning guitar-work that boggles the mind (yes, Shockwave Supernova has plenty of that) is no longer enough.

Shockwave Supernova is chock-full of Satch’s expected histrionics, most of which are quite a thing to behold. It would be one thing if merely proficiency was on display here, as is the case with some of his famous students. But Joe makes good melodies as well, and the individual songs work in both their own spaces and in the context of Satriani’s work as a whole; he’s nothing if not consistent.

Among solo guitarists, Satch is one of the best, rightly assigned to a collection of artists called “guitar gods.” And like all guitar gods, his signature is based on an incredibly specific set of skills. To an untrained ear, it’s hard to tell one guitar god from another, but no one can deny that they do astounding, other-worldly things with the six string. Joe Satriani is no different, seemingly content to use his skill to send the world’s heads spinning again and again.

Trouble is, our necks have gotten tougher. You can’t throw the same thing at us repeatedly for almost 30 years and still expect us to be impressed. Satch, while no one denies your jaw-dropping prescience at the guitar, it’s time to evolve.

– N. Neal Paradise

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