Steve Vai
Sex & Religion



by Hatshepsut USER (13 Reviews)
May 20th, 2006 | 37 replies

Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Steve Vai. A former student of guitar legend Joe Satriani, Mister Vai has earned a reputation of being an incredible guitarist. Being influenced by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa as he grew up, including being invited to join Zappa’s band during his stay at Berklee School of Music, his main focus was the guitar.

Sex and Religion, written with the band “Vai”, has Steve Vai on guitar, Devin Townsend on vocals and Terry Bonzo on drums. This was the only album written by this group, and unfortunately it isn’t hard to see why. For a Steve Vai album, it is very focused on the vocals and lyrics. With lyrics such as “Are you ready for the here and now, so tell me are you ready"”, or “I’d crawl through broken glass to you, but it wouldn’t pay”, and maybe “We touch, and the softest kiss explodes with lust, yeah”, the theme is pretty obvious. And perhaps the topic is overused. Relationships, relationships, oh how they hurt my heart. I want you but I can’t have you. I’d do anything for you, and I have, but you’re too good for me. But I just had to find you, and we touched and kissed. It was so magical, it will live on in my heart forever; I will never forget it. I will never forget you. It’s so cliché it hurts. However, the one song with such a topic with lyrics I don’t mind is in “Still my Bleeding Heart,” with I’ll die like a soldier in your arms, and I will be brave so you can be strong. And then he looked into his lover’s eyes and he cried.” But, not all the lyrics are about relationships. Songs like “Pig” has outrageous lyrics such as “Here little piggy go, pig! Live in muck, I love my pig!”. Another song with such lyrics is the title track, Sex Religion, which takes a shot at God and questions his existence. Some more ridiculous lyrics are “ Must you make a decision, between sex and religion. Why can’t you love God in your bed"

However, the main focus of a Vai album should be the guitar work, and it is still fair on this album even though it is very reliant on the vocals. The guitars take a backseat to the vocals during the verses, but they still have chances to shine in the intros and bridges, etc. Songs like “Here and Now” have very basic and boring verses, but have very fast solos although they just sound like random shredding. Songs like “In My Dreams With You” have boring verses and hardly a solo to hear and is carried by the singing. Songs such as “Still My Bleeding Heart” has an attractive intro and a relatively boring solo. From a guitar standpoint, the album needs more songs like “Survive” and “Deep Down Into the Pain”, which contain a strong intro and solo.

But what is a Steve Vai album without a breathtaking seventh song. Number Seven on the album is “Touching Tongues”, and although the title may turn you off, like it did to me, it is actually very interesting in a good way. The beginning of the song seems very cheesy with the gong, and it really sounds like a soppy and disgusting love song. And maybe it is. But I don’t care. Guitar effects such as an octave pedal are used often, and the background guitar is very effective. It makes the song much more beautiful and adds an emotion to it. This is easily the best guitar song on the album, and the best song overall. Interestingly enough, there are hardly any vocals. The song blends in towards the end with the second guitar and it really makes for a listen.

Overall, the sound of the album is not to my liking. Mix the cheesy, cliché, lovey-dovey lyrics with the upbeat and poppy guitar work, you get a boring, annoying love song. There may be some times in the album that wake you up, like the very beginning of “Survive,” where there is a ridiculous shriek, completely out of place and hardly amusing, or perhaps in the beginning of “Deep Down Into the Pain,” which has some woman screaming for quite a while in the intro, but overall, much of the CD is weak. It seems like the album was perhaps a bit rushed because the guitars overall weren’t very creative and there are many times where I felt the riffs and solos were random shredding. Not much thought was put in the music or the vocals, as mentioned above. Hopefully I would find another Vai album to love. This surely isn’t it.

Recommended Songs
Touching Tongues
Deep Down Into Pain

Overall Album Rating: 3/5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 20th 2006


Nice review.

The only Steve Vai album I have is Fire Garden.

May 20th 2006


Why oh why didn't more of Devin rub off on Steve?
Good review.

May 20th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

What exactly do you mean?

May 21st 2006


Well I think in subsequent years, Devin Townsend has made better music than Vai.
I mean, I like quite a bit of Vai's stuff, but Devin's made some amazing albums.

May 21st 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Wow I just searched him up and just by looking at the overall ratings I wanna hear some stuff.

May 24th 2006


Some people that hate Steve Vai say that this a very good album, but only because of Devin's vocals. I've only heard "In My Dreams With You", which was terrible. On the other hand, I like Devin's later stuff very much.

March 20th 2007


Touching Tongues is amazing. I kind of like Devin's vocals on this album. I actually like In MY Dreams With You, but Touching Tongues is a song that should be heard by all.

March 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

I find this album quite hard to get into, i'm going to give it another chance soon again.

July 30th 2007


Devin owns Vai.

July 30th 2007


Vocal-wise, but not overall musicianship. It's funny because Vai offered Devin something like a four album contract to sing and play rythym guitar for the Vai band, but shortly after that, Vai had changed his mind and kind of threw Devin out of his band and started more of a solo career with himself (Vai) calling the shots. Or so I'm told. Just picture if Vai would have kept Devin with the Steve Vai band. One can only wonder.

July 30th 2007


Vai would of made better music that's for sure.

February 21st 2010


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I don't care what people say about this, I'm probably going to get it just because HevyDevy is doing the vocals.

December 24th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album. I really feel like it's underrated by most, but that may be my love of Devin Townsend coming out.

Digging: Benjamin Clementine - I Tell A Fly

September 13th 2011


woot, from the future..

I think this review sucks ass. and I think devin never sounded better.

January 1st 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Glad I finally came around this album. Digging the tunes here, and Devin of course.

January 5th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

In My Dreams with You is so good.

March 1st 2012


Steve Vai. A former student of guitar legend Joe Satriani, Mister Vai has earned a reputation of being an incredible guitarist. Being influenced by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa as he grew up, including being invited to join Zappa�s band during his stay at Berklee School of Music, his main focus was the guitar.

You definitely used the word "guitar" too many times.
I definitely can't neg this, but you seriously need to proofread a bit. Some of your paragraphs are just too redundant, you shouldn't focus on obvious stuff too much. We all know Vai plays guitar, that the guitar work should be the focus, etc. Try not to exaggerate these explanations.

March 1st 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

yep, should've read my review for it

July 28th 2012


What actually happened according to Devy is that he didn't really like playing in the Steve Vai band and did what he could to get kicked out, including sabotaging shows (going on stage in a tutu and chicken slippers), and according to a Metal Hammer interview, he said "I took a shit in his guitar case and took photos of me with every one of his guitars with my balls on them".

November 6th 2012


I love how so many people seem to hate the music on this album for no real apparent reason. This is why I hate popular or dominant opinions of music sometimes. They rarely ever make sense. Vocally, Devin is most reigned in on this album and the playing is not overly proggy.

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