Review Summary: Joe Satriani at his best in years, one of the best Guitar albums of the 21st Century.
There is no doubt that Joe Satriani is one of the greatest Guitar players of all time, and I still think he is the best guitarist since Jimi Hendrix. So why is he misunderstood? That is actually an amazing thing for an artist like Joe Satriani. He has been writing music for more than 20 years as of the release of Super Colossal. It’s funny that Joes Satriani has been around for more than 25 years now and is still misunderstood. How can an instrumental artist be misunderstood? It is tough (some would say impossible) to read incorrect meaning into words that do not exist. One of Frank Zappa’s records has been given a Parental Advisory sticker since they were created in 1990.
His brand of guitar music certainly has a place in the rock/hard rock/metal universe. The sound of the guitar is perhaps the most recognized and easily distinguished characteristic of the genre. Listening to the music reveals something more, something bigger. He is not someone that records a string of exercises and pass them off as songs. He is a composer as much as he is a player. All of Satriani’s songs are incredibly written, even if some on them from time to time aren’t up to par. They all contain melodies. They have hooks. They have textures.
The first time I listened to the album, I wasn’t fully taken away. It certainly did not bore me, but it didn’t have me left in awe. I love Joe Satriani and I wanted to love Super Colossal. I have been listening and studying music for my whole life and after another listen, I was very impressed.
Super Colossal contains individual songs from the album that distinguish themselves. "A Cool New Way" sounds like a conversation he is having, but with himself. The whole vibe created by the beautiful melody. "Made of Tears" reminds me of one of my favourite Satriani songs, "The Crush of Love," in terms in guitar tone and melody. "One Robot's Dream" has me thinking about the future thanks to the cool vibe and space theme. "Redshift Riders" is likely to be the shredder's anthem from this album. The mystical sounds in the intro give way to a solid, snarling rhythm where Satriani to executes some excellent solos.
"Ten Words" and "The Meaning of Love" are both really good slow paced songs. Neither of these will likely cause fans to reach for their cigarette lighters or cell phones when played in concert, but they are still worth listening to (with "Ten Words" being the better of the two).
The two songs I liked the most are the first and final tracks. "Super Colossal" may sound like "The Stroke" by Billy Squier, but who cares. The riff is the best on the album. It's a great way to start the record, it really gets me going during a listening session. The closing track, "Crowd Chant" is a quirky and goofy song that not only excites the crowd, but there are some great riffs played throughout as well.
Twenty years into his career at the time of this album and Satriani is still making compelling, if misunderstood, albums. Super Colossal works superbly for the same reason all of his best albums work. There are so many incredible songs and guitar tricks to keep the young and upcoming guitarists as well as legends today happy. His most recent albums, Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock and Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards prove that at fifty-five years of age, he will never run out of ideas.