JOE SATRIANI – Super Colossal

JOE SATRIANI - Super Colossal


Release date: March 14, 2006

User Review
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The new batch from Satch (Joe Satriani, that is … not Louis Armstrong) is a tasty offering of 13 groovalicious tunes with potential to be eaten up by a wide, commercial audience and instrumental guitar fanatics alike. In that regard, Satriani continues to defy the norm, and given his personal charisma and his music’s undemanding charm, it is no wonder that he is nearly a household name.

Super Colossal is simply classic, likable Joe, not dissimilar to his prior albums of the decade. The songs are built on steady grooves — big, bona fide grooves in straight 4/4 Rock time. The melodies are most often built on Blues licks — take a guitar cliché and turn it into a centerpiece, build it into a theme, make it rock. It’s a formula that works, and if it ain’t broke …

For the listener’s dollar, however, there might be a point of saturation — or is that Satch-uration? — where it reaches too much of a good thing. Super Colossal does offer some variety, from upbeat but moderate-tempo rockers, to slightly slower, sentimental songs. Some go beyond typical Blues scales and chord progressions, but they all hit within the infield of the Satriani ballpark. The slower, almost sorrowful tunes on the disc, in an ironic sense, mourn the absence of any searing tours de force like those found on Joe’s releases from the ’80s and early ’90s. Apparently, the years have mellowed Joe — once the extremist — into Joe the moderate. Granted, there is a less tangible kind of intensity that one hears in the touch of a fast player playing slowly, due to the precision and evenness in execution. All in all, however, all the finesse and laid-back grooving leaves one wanting a full-on, fast-tempo, frenzied fret burner or three.

Joe’s slick guitar leads over those big grooves add to the overall largeness and monolithic character of his songs. The solos are chock-full of silky Blues phrases and runs, played with one of the fattest and juiciest guitar tones on the planet. Joe’s preferences have shifted in recent years’ compositions in the way of less “whammy” bar and more WhammyTM pedal. His forte continues to be to get inside the groove and exploit it for all it’s worth. As a soloist, he is like a relentless dog with his nose on the scent of a trail, pulling his owner, or the listener, happily along all the way. This dog hunts well, but on the downside, he’s not up to any new tricks.

The album features Joe’s long-time drummer, Jeff Campitelli, as well as Simon Phillips, whose talents are relegated to slow and steady time. Eric Caudieux is credited with editing and sound design. Joe handled all guitars, basses, and keyboards. He doesn’t sing this time around, which is probably not a loss to any fans except perhaps to some girls smitten with chrome-guitar-playing, chrome-dome-headed guitar heroes.

The CD liner notes include a paragraph of commentary by Joe on each song. For instance, he comments on “Redshift Riders”: “For the bridge and solo section’s rhythms I put a mic in front of a JSX cabinet, put it in the middle of my studio and covered it with a blanket. Six tracks later, I had my wall of sound with a space traveling melody on top!” For “Crowd Chant,” he brought 35 people into the studio. Ten passes resulted in 350 voices on the recording.

In summary, Super Colossal stays well within the melodic, harmonic, and electric feel of Joe’s previous, recent releases. His playing has matured over the years, and to fully appreciate the subtleties, the listener’s attention is required. He commented, “With every song there’s a story.” Joe’s “stories” are always good and have rightly made him a respectable musician beyond the “guitar god” designation. Now if he can just bring back the extremism that made him the latter, all fans are sure to be thrilled.


  • Jason Sagall

    Jason was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born in Illinois and currently reside in California, USA, where he works in the field of Information Technology, and is a freelance web consultant His favorite Rock and Metal subgenres include Classic, Progressive, and Power. He is a guitar fanatic and listen to a lot of Instrumental Rock and Fusion. Jason has been playing guitar as a hobby for some 25 years.  

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