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Unstoppable Momentum

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Album Review

In 2013, over a quarter century removed from his first album, Joe Satriani uses his solo albums as a way to stretch himself, both to flaunt his skills and perhaps to move him into areas where he's not quite comfortable. Unstoppable Momentum, his first album since 2010's boogie- and prog-heavy Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards, finds the guitarist occasionally indulging himself in a bit of swing, letting him ride an elastic beat ("Three Sheets to the Wind" has a supremely delicate touch), and he also digs into a bit of a nasty ZZ Top groove on "Jumpin' In," a boogie he turns inside-out on its immediate successor "Jumpin' Out." This is a pretty good indication that this is the work of a virtuoso who enjoys playing with his surroundings, tweaking tempos and arrangements to coax out unexpected wrinkles. Compared to Black Swans, this is livelier and fuller, containing a greater variety of textures, rhythms, and attacks, spending not quite so much time with head-down, barrel-headed boogie and rather suggesting jazz, blues, even soul. Satriani often seems a little too restless for his confines — he seems to enjoy when the tempo slows, so he can get a little lyrical — but part of the appeal of Unstoppable Momentum is how Satch decides he should abandon his comfort zone, at least in part. He still adheres too strongly to the heavily phased instrumentals that make him feel stuck in a past before MTV, but he'll also indulge in a bit of swing, rhythm, and momentum that not only give Unstoppable Momentum character, but suggest there's an audience outside of guitar fanatics for this densely layered instrumental music.

Customer Reviews

Great Album!

Most memorable melodies from Joe since Super Colossal. I really enjoyed this album on the first listen. No skipper songs on the record. Unstoppable Momentum has a more serious vibe than the previous two albums. This is a Joe Satriani record!!! Satch fans will enjoy this one.

Nothing sticks...

He is a legend. But nothing here stands out. The compositions are dull and do not inspire me to grab my guitar like some other stuff he has done. The melodies are simple and unmemorable. Some technical wizardry here and there, (the first run he does gets you excited..but that went away and got lost in an unmemorable piece.) but it often seems like a canned run up and down the neck that could fit in any composition of his. Unfortunately, Joe is compared to Joe. I can remember every note of every piece off some early albums. This just seems filler material. The drums are busy and effective, but punctuate his work at places he does nothing but let the rhythm blandly roll. I don't get it. He hasn't lost skill, but for me to forego this album in my ride to listen to something else is pretty significant in my mind. I was excited, but I also knew this might happen. His guitar work with Chickenfoot was of no note at all. To be fair, a live Joe show will always be epic. But these late albums are pretty boring. Dang it!

Beyond boring!

I've got to say that my Satriani gas tank has run dry. I hate that too....I've been a Satch fan since the beginning. Not of this Earth, Surfing with the Alien, Flying in a Blue Dream, The Extremist....excellent albums! Where's the passion at, like with those albums? Live in San Francisco has got to be the best live album of his. Listen to "The Crush of Love" "Until We Say Goodbye" "Love Thing" and the infamous "Rubina"....the tones and feeling on those tracks (back then) is irreplaceable. His songs nowadays don't flow like they did back then....they're all weird and too technical. I want the old Satriani and the old Steve Vai back for that matter!


Born: July 15, 1956 in Westbury, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The 1980s were a golden age for guitar heroes but even six-string slingers need a hero of their own. Enter Joe Satriani. More than a hero, Satriani was a mentor, setting an example of what could be done with the instrument and also serving as a teacher to such luminaries as Kirk Hammett, Charlie Hunter, Primus' Larry LaLonde, and Steve Vai. This alone makes Satriani a significant figure in the history of rock guitar, but when he launched a career as a recording artist in 1986, he performed the rare...
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