Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards review by Joe Satriani

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  • Released: Oct 5, 2010
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (81 votes)
Joe Satriani: Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards
4

Sound — 8
When it comes to execution, it's hard to find fault in a guitarist like Joe Satriani. Whether garnering Grammy nominations or earning accolades from his Chickenfoot bandmates (who, by the way, say he beats out Eddie Van Halen in terms of all-around playing ability), Satriani has solidified his stronghold as a guitar god. For his latest record Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards, the musician has indicated that he wrote songs that his audience probably might not expect and those tracks caught him off guard as well. It's not necessarily that the 11 new songs are completely out of left field stylistically, but they do indicate that Satriani has been drawing from a variety of world influences other than your typical rock format. Out of the 11 tracks, the opener Premonition could be considered your most standard Satriani fare. Driven by a mellower rock tempo, the phrasing of each section is tastefully done without excess showiness. While a solid track on the whole, Premonition becomes even a bit more engaging with the introduction of an engaging, groove-oriented lick (and more frantic soloing) enters into the equation about halfway through. Light Years Away begins with a calm, unassuming ambient synth sound, but Satriani quickly enters with a good dose of gain-fueled rock riffage. That particular song does take a few breathers in terms of the energy level, but it's nothing in comparison to Solitude. A quiet, almost chillingly subtle piano line constitutes the foundation of the instrumental one-minute track and makes for an uncharacteristic guitar-less interlude. Littleworth Lane was inspired by the passing of Satriani's mother Katherine, who resided on a street of the same name in Sea Cliff, New York. A down-tempo, pristine blues track inspired by Katherine's love of a variety of musical styles, it is beautifully played and is a tasteful tribute. In the latter few songs of the album is when Satriani truly thinks outside of the box. The Golden Room is characterized by a striking rhythm and Middle Eastern influences, but the big payoff comes through Satriani mixing in a metal sound within that same track. Wormhole Wizards builds upon a quiet intro and delivers one of the most memorable guitar lines on the entire album. There is a section within Wormhole Wizards that veers off to a classical tangent, but Satriani doesn't abuse this aspect and lets his soloing to take the spotlight for the remaining portion of the track.

Lyrics — 8
N/A

Overall Impression — 8
Instrumental albums can be hit or miss, but with Satriani you can at the very least know that you're receiving some of the finest feats of execution within the guitar world. Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards is certainly satisfying in that regard, but Satriani never strays too far from his typical sound. The rock and/or metal moments don't necessarily taken precedence on Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards, with mellow, sleek compositions representing a good chunk. Dramatic musical choices are kept to a minimum, which may leave some listeners eager for something a bit more edgy or dangerous. Even so, Satriani continues to impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end.

67 comments sorted by best / new / date

    BlisteringDDj
    I'm buying it when I get a chance, have been waiting for this. Satch is not about shred and technique, he's all about the entertainment and feeling og music itself. If you've listened to all of his albums you'll understand. This review is terrible, sorry.
    EpiExplorer
    Seems everyones loving a good bitch and a moan today. On the album, nice stuff but Satch is kind of losing his appeal to me..
    zaz5
    I call it Music with a purpose. That is what Joe's music is to me. Every song, not just this album, every song has a purpose. The man takes alot of pride in his work, and it shows. I appreciate that, Joe's music is a celebration of life. I connect with it. Joe, thank you!
    SamusAran
    MofoZofo wrote: Wow, Fuzz Universe, Paul Gilbert. Now Joe Satriani, Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards. VAI ? WHENS THE NEXT ONE VAI !?
    Next one's with the London Orchestra... Mark my words... Vai's albums don't have the catch Satch's has... Or at least IMO...
    edbert
    Lou_Dog wrote: looks like he make record that stands the test of time
    lol
    reloader
    Well, First of all, What a great album and Whoever said satch is losing is appeal, WHOOO, retarded people should not be allowed to post comments and Second of all UG team YOUR REVIEW SUCKS BIG TIME
    Brooky22888
    Great guitar record Satch has never disappointed me with anything he's done. Can't wait to watch him live in a couple of weeks!
    Dakkstar
    Satriani is great. I saw him for the G3 2003 tour. Yngwie and Vai opened.... Yngwie put on an amazing show because of his antics on stage. I found Vai very convoluted and kind of boring, it was more about hey look at me, I'm a techincal wizard and my hair blows in the wind as I stand here. Satriani though, his note choice and phrasing was beyond almost any lead guitarist I've ever heard. So expressive.
    SurfinWithSatch
    its nothing in comparison to Solitude. A quiet, almost chillingly subtle piano line constitutes the foundation of the instrumental one-minute track and makes for an uncharacteristic guitar-less interlude.
    Ahem, guitar-less interlude? Wrong way around UG, there is no Piano in this song, ONLY guitar (plus the odd splutter of a drum cymbal or something similar) watch the podcast on satriani.com ffs where Satch says quite clearly that it is just guitar, aswell as playing some of it at the start. An awful lot of this review doesn't make sense or add up, yes UG have given it an 8 rating which is all well and nice, but quite a bit of this review was utter bollocks.
    Even so, Satriani continues to impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end.
    NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. You're a towel!
    SurfinWithSatch
    One more thing about Solitude, to whom ever actually wrote this review. If you cannot HEAR that is a guitar and think it's a Piano then please I emplor you, see a doctor as there's something wrong with your ears.
    Rogue Hermit
    Dakkstar wrote: Satriani is great. I saw him for the G3 2003 tour. Yngwie and Vai opened.... Yngwie put on an amazing show because of his antics on stage. I found Vai very convoluted and kind of boring, it was more about hey look at me, I'm a techincal wizard and my hair blows in the wind as I stand here. Satriani though, his note choice and phrasing was beyond almost any lead guitarist I've ever heard. So expressive.
    Satch is too cool to be like Vai with the hair. Thus, he has no hair But this record would definitely be great to have.
    RoxxHunter
    Anyone else think Super Colossal was one of his best albums??? I love it man. But then I like it all from Dreaming #11 to the new one I am buying the new on just as soon as I'm done teaching a few more lessons Super pumped...The arguments about who is better is dumb. It's music, just enjoy or don't listen to it. They are all good musicians: Satch, Guthrie etc...
    RoxxHunter
    I wasn't a big fan of Professor Satch...Although out of the sunrise is awesome...Hard to follow Super Colossal.
    El Cumanés
    I'm totally hooked with his new album. The main riff of Phyrric Victoria is just mindblowind. The compositional skills of Satriani just get better and better and that's the reason of why i like every album of Satriani.
    MofoZofo
    Wow, Fuzz Universe, Paul Gilbert. Now Joe Satriani, Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards. VAI ? WHENS THE NEXT ONE VAI !?
    satch_magic
    GS LEAD 5 wrote: Tominator_1991 wrote: impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end I find it sad that this IS the only draw to young listeners these days anyway - those retarded shredhead kids with entry level jacksons Oh shut up. Stop generalizing. Or are you jealous you cant play anything harder than Greenday? PS: No offense to Greenday fans, I like them a lot myself.
    lol, that made me smile I like the new cd a lot. It's very different yet at the same time you know it's clearly Joe. Kind of refreshing. As always, phenomenal work!
    deathsquirrel
    ginger ninja102 wrote: i cant wait to get this album i wont be considering this review when i buy it thou because 1 i didnt finish it and 2 he put his own thoughts in by saying he beats eddie van halen its a review mate not your personal thoughts
    The reviewer didn't say EVH was better than Satch, the two guys from Chickenfoot who were in Van Halen said that.
    The review wrote: Whether garnering Grammy nominations or earning accolades from his Chickenfoot bandmates (who, by the way, say he beats out Eddie Van Halen in terms of all-around playing ability)
    Hells.Mascot
    Has anyone ever seen or heard him playing an acoustic guitar? I would believe that he has never even played an acoustic guitar simply on the basis that it's an absurd enough thing that only Joe Satriani could do it... except for the fact that he had a signature acoustic with Ibanez.
    stratman7
    Lol, like it's a big surprise that Satch is better than EVH. Was there any sane person that didn't already know that?
    IDoCocaine
    Hells.Mascot wrote: Has anyone ever seen or heard him playing an acoustic guitar? I would believe that he has never even played an acoustic guitar simply on the basis that it's an absurd enough thing that only Joe Satriani could do it... except for the fact that he had a signature acoustic with Ibanez.
    Tears in the Rain? Not the best example but it's the only one I can think of. I've heard a fair amount of acoustic backing in his music.
    maximumrocker
    Mr Winters wrote: Well, after listening to this album, I must say it's pretty awesome.
    i have to agree with this, better than his last effort personally. great job Satch!
    SamusAran
    IDoCocaine wrote: Hells.Mascot wrote: Has anyone ever seen or heard him playing an acoustic guitar? I would believe that he has never even played an acoustic guitar simply on the basis that it's an absurd enough thing that only Joe Satriani could do it... except for the fact that he had a signature acoustic with Ibanez. Tears in the Rain? Not the best example but it's the only one I can think of. I've heard a fair amount of acoustic backing in his music.
    Ever heard Andalusia??? The first part is in acoustic... Hell... He even has his own series of electroacoustic guitars! Check out the Ibanez page...
    Snowman388
    What the hell are up with these reviews??? UG really sucks at reviewing. He reviewed on 6 of the 11 songs, and failed to point out any flaws of the album. If you're gonna review the songs individually (which is stupid), review all the songs. But you're supposed to review the album , and comment on how it's put together and how the songs match and support each other. An album is an experience, created by an artist for you to share what they feel. This isn't some Top 40 bullshit where it's a series of singles, so don't review the individual tracks!
    hildesaw
    Anyone else think that Satch gets an almost Auto-Tune affect in Wind in the Trees with his whammy bar flutters?
    dougl126
    An awesome album. It is different from what we usually hear from him. More keys and funky rhythm to it. But it still has a story to tell and you can't help but be into it while you're listening to it. He sure can make any instrument he plays sing! I like the variety of fast and slow, funk and rock and ethnic styles. I think if any of his albums were to get outsiders into his music, this would be a good start.
    hellridermyx
    um, dude, solitude is guitar not piano. ever heard of finger picking with the rythm switch?
    Paul Tauterouff
    I love this CD. I think it has a lot of feeling to it and that is why I like it so much.
    hildesaw wrote: Anyone else think that Satch gets an almost Auto-Tune affect in Wind in the Trees with his whammy bar flutters?
    I think he used an auto tune on that song.
    DemonDante
    Dumpster510 wrote: Fantastic album! The man keeps getting better and better. 10/10 for sure.
    I agree with this man. This album is amazing. It's made one of my friends fall in love with Satch much as I did a few years ago when I first heard him.
    IDoCocaine
    Very good shit on this album. Super fun to jam along with. Though my two favorite Satch albums are still Crystal Planet and Is There Love in Space?
    Boomjosh
    mymuffisbig09 wrote: Satriani definitely rips off coldplay multiple times on this album.
    LOL
    EpiExplorer
    mymuffisbig09 wrote: Satriani definitely rips off coldplay multiple times on this album.
    Satch was there first, in every sense of the word and context. Well, apart from radio airplay and legions of much needed hate, Satch probably wont go that high into the realms of shit.. mostly because he isn't shit.
    Tominator_1991
    impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end
    I find it sad that this IS the only draw to young listeners these days anyway - those retarded shredhead kids with entry level jacksons
    GS LEAD 5
    Tominator_1991 wrote: impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end I find it sad that this IS the only draw to young listeners these days anyway - those retarded shredhead kids with entry level jacksons
    Oh shut up. Stop generalizing. Or are you jealous you cant play anything harder than Greenday? PS: No offense to Greenday fans, I like them a lot myself.
    Daarikon
    I find his music absolutely amazing. I am probably what you class a "retarded shredhead with entry level jacksons" not that I am. I greatly appreciate his music. Not just his skill. Though his talent is absolutely amazing
    sammo_boi
    Tominator_1991 wrote: impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end I find it sad that this IS the only draw to young listeners these days anyway - those retarded shredhead kids with entry level jacksons
    If you wanted to listen to technicality and extreme shred skills you wouldn't listen to Joe Satriani
    seemeel
    "Lyrics and Singing: N/A // 8" This is absurd. How can something get 8/10 in a category when that thing has none of them? This was a promising review too, until I came to that. What a typical UG review.
    benrochlin
    seemeel wrote: "Lyrics and Singing: N/A // 8" This is absurd. How can something get 8/10 in a category when that thing has none of them? This was a promising review too, until I came to that. What a typical UG review.
    If you ignored that category you would get the same average score, thus giving it the same rating? what difference does it make? if it had a 0 it would distort the final rating.
    sammo_boi wrote: Tominator_1991 wrote: impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end I find it sad that this IS the only draw to young listeners these days anyway - those retarded shredhead kids with entry level jacksons If you wanted to listen to technicality and extreme shred skills you wouldn't listen to Joe Satriani
    Exactly what i was going to say. There are more technical players than Satriani, but i listen to satriani precisely because he CAN do more than shred. I would also like to point out that i dont own a jackson...
    wasted41
    Tominator_1991 wrote: impress with his playing skills and that is probably what will be the biggest draw for his fans in the end I find it sad that this IS the only draw to young listeners these days anyway - those retarded shredhead kids with entry level jacksons
    open your goddamn eyes man instrumental guitar is for all ages and yes i own a jackson and im quite proud they are an extremely versitile guitar
    wasted41
    GS LEAD 5 wrote: Oh shut up. Stop generalizing. Or are you jealous you cant play anything harder than Greenday? PS: No offense to Greenday fans, I like them a lot myself.
    sorry i just found this kinda funny cause more than likely its true =] ha ha
    FaLLibaneZ
    it's definitly a fine album! to be serious pyrrhic victoria almost made me cry! this line at minute 1:36 is just epic! awesome how the songs can take you away in another world - he still can do it!
    ginger ninja102
    i cant wait to get this album i wont be considering this review when i buy it thou because 1 i didnt finish it and 2 he put his own thoughts in by saying he beats eddie van halen its a review mate not your personal thoughts
    BlisteringDDj
    ginger ninja102 wrote: i cant wait to get this album i wont be considering this review when i buy it thou because 1 i didnt finish it and 2 he put his own thoughts in by saying he beats eddie van halen its a review mate not your personal thoughts
    Sorry for triple posting here, but I had to reply to this. I agree about the way he mentioned Eddie Van Halen was pointless and irrelevant, but you're wrong. A review is subjective, it has to be.
    Shredx
    listening at the mo and nothing has made me go WOW (probably because I'm so familiar with his style now) but gota say he keeps churning out these good songs.