Review by Martien Koolen
Shockwave Supernova is Joe Satriani's fifteenth studio album and let me tell you right from the start that it is again a guitar masterpiece. The fifteen songs on this album were composed and written a couple of years ago and that is probably why you could call Shockwave Supernova an "old school" Satch album. A lot of tracks on this album remind me of Satch's old albums like Flying In A Blue Dream, Surfing With The Alien and The Extremist and they "breathe" the air of the eighties.
Shockwave is a concept album and Satriani explores the inner demons of his alter ego on this remarkable album. If you love instrumental guitar music, then this is a must have album, as Satch plays some memorable songs filled with groove laden riffs, apocalyptic hooks, breathtaking melodies and outstanding solos. I would say that there really never is a dull moment on this album, even though it lasts 64 minutes!
Satch's familiar phrasing and vibrato techniques are all there and his guitar does the talking all over, so you really do not miss vocal parts on this album. His magical, expressive guitar playing is eloquent from the first notes of the title track till the last notes of Goodbye Supernova and the album gets better with each listen; just try it out! On Peregrine Wings, one of my favs on the album, was already available on You Tube, and this song is really in the veins of Flying In A Blue Dream. Cataclysmic is another highlight and is filled with out of this world melodies and outstanding solos. Shockwave also shows Satch's groove based blues side, like for example in songs like Crazy Joey (with a very funky beat) and In My Pocket, where Joe also plays the harmonica again, and maybe that is why it makes me think of Big Bad Moon.
Every Satriani album also features ballads and on Shockwave you can enjoy emotional guitar ballads such as: Stars Race Across The Sky, Butterfly And Zebra and San Francisco Blue; the latter being a Eric Johnson-like song. On Shockwave Satriani is assisted by Mike Keneally (keys, guitar), Marco Minnemann (drums) and Bryan Beller (bass guitar) and this is probably the best band Satriani has ever had. On four tracks, Keep On Movin', In My Pocket, Crazy Joey and Scarborough Stomp Satriani is assisted by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting) and bass player Chris Chaney (Jane's Addiction). Shockwave Supernova was produced by John Cuniberti, who also was responsible for the production of Joe's debut and Surfing With The Alien. Shockwave Supernova is one of the best Satriani albums ever and it is doing overtime in my CD player; however if you are a beginning or moderate guitar player it can be very frustrating to hear this guy playing... Enjoy at maximum volume!!!!