Release Date: Aug 14, 2012
Record label: Favored Nations Records
Genre(s): Jazz, Blues, Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Instrumental Rock, Fusion, Guitar Virtuoso, Modern Blues
Guitar virtuoso Steve Vai's music has its roots in some unknown interstellar worlds. From his earliest mid-'80s solo output, Vai's largely instrumental tricked-out guitar compositions found some strange middle ground between heavy metal bliss and space-traveling experimentalism. Released in 2005, Real Illusions: Reflection found Vai shifting from his alien undercurrents to a more spiritual vibe, with themes of new age discovery and introspection filling the album.
The Story of LightSteve Vai(Favored Nations)Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars Steve Vai’s demographic encompasses everyone from orchestra members to speed metal fanatics. The guitar wizard resurfaces on Aug. 14 with his 16th solo album, The Story of Light. Largely instrumental and epic in scope, the project is a classic concept album in the vein of “The Wall.” The 12 tracks follow the cosmic journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment and redemption.
Instrumental guitar rock is a tricky thing to do well. I’m not talking about styles like post-rock and all of its other “post” variants, which by their nature are cinematic and don’t require vocals most of the time. (Even when vocals are present, they’re usually ethereal and low or equal to other instruments in the mix.) Instead, I’m talking about guys like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, arguably the two most important musicians working in the genre today.
Beneath the impossibly fast salvos of notes and dramatic whammy bar heroics, guitarist and composer Steve Vai retains an immense understanding of music. The man wrote his first orchestral arrangements while still in his teens. However, Vai’s grasp on the inner workings of music has never really translated into records for average music fans t0 enjoy: He makes music for musicians, and he’s quite proud of that fact, even going so far as to find a record label dedicated solely to providing a place for those artists with similarly athletic styles to call home.