STEVE VAI – Various Artists – Archives Vol. 4

STEVE VAI - Various Artists - Archives Vol. 4


Favored Nations
Release date: June 6, 2003

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Steve Vai’s Archives Vol. 4 is not an album that can easily be pigeonholed. Vai has worked tirelessly through the years with countless artists across many genres of music. This collection is a sampling of some of those writing/recording sessions that some fans may not have realized Steve was even involved with at one time. Finally, these rare gems have been compiled and are presented in one tidy package with liner notes about each project.

The disc starts with a B-side from Vai’s Whitesnake days called “Sweet Lady Luck.” This song fits like a glove with the now legendary “Slip of the Tongue” release, and one has to wonder why it was not included? This is a much stronger song than “Kittens Got Claws” or “Slow Poke Music.” This track alone is worth the price of the disc. “The Rumble” features Steve on guitar alongside Chick Corea, as he takes on “The Music of West Side Story.” To say that anyone could improve upon a Stephen Sondheim piece would just be ludicrous; the man is a legend in the annals of Broadway scores, and West Side Story is one of the classics. But this Jazz/Rock infused interpretation would make Sondheim smile at its creative dynamic.

From Whitesnake to Chick Corea and then to John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, you couldn’t make up a crazier musical path. When Lydon reemerged on the music scene he wasn’t the same old punk, now he was a creative force, forging Modern Pop. Here Vai plays on “Ease” and “Home;” both songs don’t qualify as guitar extravaganzas, but that just goes to show the maturity of his musical aptitude. Track five, “Western Vacation,” is solo Steve and unfortunately the weakest link of the disc. Never one to conform to the norm, this tune is all over the place; it has Comedy, Pop, Jazz — you name it, there seems to be a dash of it in there. If you are familiar with Steve’s first solo release Flex-able, then you have a good idea what this track is all about.

“Drifting,” featuring Corey Glover of Living Colour fame, is a killer track. You may just forget about Vai for a while and listen to Glover, who fills this track up with his warm voice. It’s one more reason to own this disc. All of you rockers will be glad for the Alice Cooper “Feed My Frankenstein” track, which not only features Vai on guitar but Nikki Sixx on bass.

This is just a sampling of the tracks offered on Anthology Volume 4, and it hardly scratches the surface. There is a reason so many artists want to work with Steve Vai, it’s because he is the best. He is creative and inspiring as well as flawless and innovative. Not many artists could rock out, sample the themes of Broadway, even offer some Operatic moments, and make it all sound cohesive, but Vai does. With this disc being a limited release, it is sure to be the bootleg of the century.


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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