Classic Rock Review

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Joe Satriani Surfing With The Alien (1987)


In the years leading up to the release of Surfing With The Alien, Joe Satriani spent his time working a studio repairing Blue Oyster Cult guitar tracks in the studio in exchange for recording time of his own. The result of these sessions was a masterpiece of virtuosity, musical genius and overall proficiency in every sense of the word.

Surfing With The Alien is THE ESSENTIAL Joe Satriani album. Joe poured his soul into every track, and it shows. Surfing With The Alien raised the bar for musical prowess, and this is how:

Surfing With The Alien
The album aptly named after this song, this is a true masterpiece. Joe shreds like hell and pushes the instrument to do more. If this is the first track you hear on the CD, you won’t be disappointed. 10/10

Ice 9
WARNING: BAD PUN AHEAD! This song, like its name, is pretty cool. It’s interesting the way Joe mixed up clean and distorted fills to make this song a definite keeper. 9/10

Crushing Day
By the name, I think Joe means he’s going to crush our skull with his extremely rock-ified rhythm and lead skills. This song contains some of the coolest rhythm/lead correlations on the album. 10/10

Always With Me, Always With You
This was the song that got me into Satriani. Joe spares shredding (for the most part) for a calm background rhythm with an emotionally grasping lead part making this, by far, the most emotional song on the album. 10/10

Satch Boogie
Joe could boogie all night with this track. Aptly named, Joe knocks in with a fast, boogie-woogie riff then pulls one of the most drastic whammy bar tricks on the album. From there, Joe doesn’t turn back, soloing for a straight minute on what is one of the best examples of knowledgeable shredding one could have. After a bout of two-hand tapping, Joe knocks the main riff in our heads again, and then leaves us out to dry. 10/10

Hill of the Skull
The shortest track on the album, this is a slow-paced death march-style piece. There is no shredding, it’s a good change of pace but just not enough for me 7/10

If you want to talk about a change of pace from Satch Boogie, this is it. With what I think is the best rhythm on the album, Circles starts out very mellow and relaxing, then pounds our heads against the wall with Joe’s inhuman soloing ability. 10/10

Lords of Karma
This is the most eastern-style track of the album, another example of Joe’s musical prowess and his mastery of music in general, not just Western rock. It’ll make you feel like you’re in (insert stereotypical desert country here). 10/10

This song is just plain cool! Joe uses two-hand tapping throughout the entire song. All this song consists of is Joe’s guitar, various percussion and a barely noticeable bass rhythm. At first listen, though, one would think Joe had enlisted an entire army to record this song. 10/10

The bass rhythm takes an extreme precedence here. Again showing us that shredding is not necessary to prove virtuosity (though it sometimes helps), Joe does some excellent lead/rhythm correlation in this track. A worthy ending.

I have not a single complaint about Surfing With The Alien. Well, actually, I have one, and that is that this album proves Joe is better than me. With his unbelievable shredding ability, and his knowledge of his music, Surfing With The Alien has something for every level of player, and it shows us what can be done with six strings placed on a block of wood. Joe is a master of the instrument, and this is the proof. Overall, 5/5

March 6, 2013 - Posted by | Joe Satriani Surfing With The Alien |

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