Unstoppable Momentum review by Joe Satriani

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  • Released: May 7, 2013
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (103 votes)
Joe Satriani: Unstoppable Momentum

Sound — 9
Guitarist Joe Satriani has been dominating the world with his unique and expansive instrumental rock sound throughout the past four decades. His powerful form of instrumental music, which he has powerfully expressed throughout his broad collection of now fourteen studio albums. His pure love of the art inspired him to teach other musicians, who went on to similarly star as the riff masters behind a multitude of prestigious bands. Some of his students include Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett, and David Bryson. In his solo work, he proved you didn't need a lead vocalist to create captivating rock songs, and with his more recent work in the supergroup Chickenfoot, he only continued to showcase his captivating playing styles.

With his new solo outing, appropriately titled "Unstoppable Momentum", it proves to be no different. This album is comprised of 11 new pulsating compositions that boast Joe's dominative playing and songwriting abilities. From the get-go, it proves to be yet another instant classic from Satriani, beginning with the monstrous self-titled track. While formative percussion and playing makes up the backbone of this song, Joe seems to use his instrument as a way to channel his voice, the same way a lead vocalist typically would. He helps drive forward the rhythm in this way, and helps make for a much broader listening experience.

No matter where you set the needle on this record, whether it's the bluesy "Can't Go Back" or the moderate paced riff racer "A Door Into Summer", Joe always gives a standout performance. Between the smooth sounding arpeggios and flawless guitar tricks proudly showcased from start to finish, it's too easy for you to become comfortable and get lost in the music. This isn't an album to nitpick, pick and choose which tracks to listen to. "Unstoppable Momentum" is just one of those albums that you need to push play and enjoy.

Lyrics — 9
As aforementioned, Joe Satriani doesn't recruit a lead vocalist for his solo material. Which entirely works out, because when it comes to "Unstoppable Momentum", a singer would only take away from the musical complexity and passion that Joe brings to this new outing. It's a bit difficult to judge an instrumental album on it's lyrics and singing, so that being said I feel that this album deserves an overall "9" score.

Overall Impression — 9
All in all, "Unstoppable Momentum" is a continuously thrilling addition to the Joe Satriani catalogue, that continues to show Joe pushing the boundaries on guitar playing, creating new playing techniques and expanding upon his existing style throughout a proud collection of new compositions. For any fan of his past work, as well as instrumental music in general, should definitely pick up this album for themselves.

58 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is such a great record ! Props to you Joe! Always bringing new stuff to the shelf !
    Very good album, as always Satch exhibits many unique tones and progressions. A part of me misses his heavier stuff though. I would love to see him bring back Stu Hamm and Jeff Campetelli for his next album.
    Okay i've listened to it many times now and also without headphones, so what i said up there - i take it all back. It's a great album indeed, and i'm lovin it to the full now. "Jumpin in & out" standing out as the perfecto ones, i thought "The Weight Of the World" smells quite like Mike Kennealy, as i really find it hard to call it a plain Joe tune, at all.(hope Joe gets rid of that guy ASAP) Overall it's pretty awesome, solos out of this world as always. Sure is a different album, it's just that at first i was like where's my new "Ten Words" ha! i probably expected a new "Time Machine" as well maybe Cause i've found them in Black Swans you know ? Most of this stuff is sorta different compared to what i'm used to, but sure will embrace'm in no time and i guess it's gonna take a little time to master and play these babies Overall it's a great CD so.. Gotta thank Joe for the hard work, and wait on the new record! UNSTOPPABLE MOMENTUM = 9.9/10
    MyPlayDirect.com offers an autographed version (and different items, like guitar straps, etc.).
    As much as I want to get it, Im not forking out $45 for it.
    $45? You can get an autographed copy for $13.99 (unless there's some ridiculous overseas shipping charge).
    the solo of Jumpin Out is legendary!
    Gotta admit on my first listen through I had my iPod on shuffle through the album and that song was last and it is my favorite from the album. Nice!
    Good, solid album. I am not blown away as I was with Surfin of Flyin but enough to discover and enjoy. I really hope he will make a groundbreaking album one day, an album that makes you call in sick and listen to it all day and night. That said, I wish I had 0,1% of his talent and I would be as happy as a dog with seven dicks.
    He should really stick to his solo stuff, Chickenfoot is not all that great.
    They have potential, they just haven't had time to really establish their sound yet, it'd help if the band members didn't have other acts to be a part of.
    I also feel like whoever wrote the review for this article, is just trying to advertise it. Because the terms he used to describe some of these songs is a bit ridiculous. Even if you liked the album, none of the songs were "pulsating" "riff racer" and the title track wsn't "monstrous" at all, it was actually the complete opposite. The album definately wasn't "one of those albums that you need to push play and enjoy." Nor was it a "thrilling addition to the Joe Satriani catalogue" So stop the advertising. Reviews should be honest, not means of convincing people who haven't picked it up that its something worth getting, nice try
    I know that Joe is an great guitar player but to me his music just seems to sort of... vanilla. So samey and uninteresting despite having a few nice tunes.
    yeah, he has some great songs. I mean really great. but I feel like a lot of them just have that pattern to them. clean riff and a solo over the top for the whole 5 minutes.(phygian scale b***!!!!)
    That's how pretty much all the late 80's uber-shredders were. Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Michael Angelo Batio, all phenomenal guitar players technically, but there was no musicality or worth to what they did. Although, I consider Satriani the best one musically, he has quite a few songs that do stand on their own.
    I doubt you've listened to much Steve Vai beyond Bad Horsie or For The Love of God if you think that's the case.
    I agree. I think they just fall into a trap of always feeling like they need to be technical to appease their fans, so they never grow as players or songwriters.
    I've liked this guy since I heard him for the first time, and when Wormhole Wizards came out, it was an instant thing for me. There took no second, third or forth listen to really feel that it was something great, it just happened immediatly. Everysong on that album is histoical (yeah Satrionic, I know what you mean!) But with this album, I'm a little disapointed honestly. I've listened to it a few times already, really trying to listen to it. I don't find anything here that really feels great. Not to try bashing Joe by anymeans at all, and I hate even writing a bad review about something he did, but I'm gonna be the first one to say, and maybe some of you can agree with me, this might be his first, unfortunate, bad album. I just felt it lacked character, I didn't get any sense of atmosphere like his catalog (for me) is known for. I felt the songs were poorly thought out, or just put together because someone told him he had to put an album out. I don't see myself revisiting any of these songs, and I hate that I feel that way, because all of his stuff has been fantastic to me, but sorry Joe, not this time. I don't even have a "well its ok, but so and so song was still good" I can't even do that. Ultimately, a big disapointment
    SarwTheGreat, I agree 100%... Wormhole was clearly solid well before it was released... Joe was releasing short clips previewing the songs and you could clearly see it was going to be a great album. This new album is just not there. I think Joe needed more time to put a new album together... consider time spent with Chickenfoot...etc. Also, I'm not sure about the drastic band changes... I thought the wormhole tour band was solid!
    Good...not spectacular. You can definitely tell that it's Joe, yet a little generic. I am a bassist, so as far as guitar goes I will critique from a music fan's point of view, not a guitarists'. As a bass player...turn up the damn bass!
    Certainly nothing bad to say about it but stylistically speaking more instruments than just guitar and more variety of tones would be breath of fresh air from Joe. A Vai record is a much broader sonic palette than one of Joe's. Even a project with a top flight vocalist (sorry, Sammy's well past his prime) would be cool.
    Excellent album, maybe better than the previous album. Great work on drums by Colaiuta. To me, Satriani is the architect of the guitar-based instrumental rock music. He has made A LOT of great albums, more than anyone other guitarrist.
    Satch's live show is unforgettable. I really wanna see him again with these songs
    Joe is a bit of an enigma himself. I was a bit underwhelmed by UM but I'm on the front row for the US Tour with Steve Morse! Great to see Joe playing Joe music again even though I miss Jeff, Galen, and Stu/Matt/Dave. Having been a rabid Satch fan since '87 it's clear that this is not a Surfing With The Alien or Flying In a Blue Dream kind of record but I'm thankful for what we got. I think this was just a therapy session of relaxation in between extensive G3 and Chickenfoot touring and recording. I consider my self a 'Foot soldier 1st class, but it's nice to see Joe return to the instrumental expression that made him famous. Stand outs are Jumpin' In, Jumpin' Out, and my new favorite A Celebration. This may not be the most elaborate project but it is worth having.
    Well. It's sort of an expected record for me, as i knew Joe would eventually blast this futuristic fetish off, but first i have to say "Wormhole" is a better album. Although Joe is the only thing i listen to, i haven't managed to connect to the new record yet and i'm feeling Joe is not interested in making deep/moody/soul music any more. Lately he's been into funk/experiemental kinda stuff A LOT and it sure makes me miss likes of Crystal Planet, Flying etc. Although "Wormhole Wizards" has godly tunes, the new record has no historical songs in it, if you know what i mean. Don't get me wrong though, the new tunes are surely great, all of them. It just doesn't sound like the Joe i know any more, except for the style, i'm gonna say musically Joe has to turn back and get away from this FUTURISTIC sound, and i don't mean it like musically. Just the sound which is not satisfying for someone like me probably. And i'd strongly suggest Joe to reunite with his old crew, that is Jeff and Stu. Still a great album, but i wish it had songs in it like Secret Prayer, Love Thing, Motorcycle Driver, I Believe Souls of Dist. etc. Anyways, i'm still in love with it and will listen to it like crazy. :
    dont know about lessons, but i think doing compilation albums with other musicians (and guitar duets and stuff with other instrument groups etc..) would be awesome. at the moment all of his stuff, like this whole damn album, is just dead predictable.
    This is just getting better and better... Joe is a unique gem... He's just awesome... Every record, song by song just keeps getting better... Unstoppable Momentum just shows his mastery.
    Just looked, and yeah UG did this review. Must be getting paid for a good review. How sad.
    I agree edbert... Hamm and Campetelli would have notched this album up a bit. As much as I love Joe, this album seems too basic. A step back from Black Swans which contained several masterpieces (Light Years Away, Wormhole Wizards, and Wind in the trees to name a few... Upon first listen to this new album nothing jumped out, maybe Can't Go Back... not much else so far :-(
    This album is so extremely compressed.. really sounds bad when songs get busy. Like some old tape from 80s with very high levels.
    Ask Sflogi why he plays covers of Satriani. Or why Govan learns how to play like Satriani. Watch for yourself on youtube.
    he just linked this at his facebook page ;D ordered it already, it's awesome
    So far i'm enjoying this album. Some of joe's best work is on this record in my opinion. Unstoppable momentum, can't go back, a celebration, a door into summer, and weight of the world are standouts. Joe's last album had around 5 AMAZING songs that i would listen to all day, the rest was mediocre and boring. This album, i find i can listen all the way through and enjoy every song
    I don't quite know what to say about this album. It's good but not as great or unique as his previous work. Maybe I need to listen to it more but so far, while it is good as satriani's albums always are....there isn't that 1 or 2 songs that I feel compelled to play over and over again.
    I love Satriani but like others have said his music is just very.. predictable. I still like it and it's as always technically impressive but nothing really stands out. I think I enjoy Paul Gilbert more these days because to me his stuff is just more fun to listen to.
    tito vai
    this is such a great album of satch enjoyed every track of this album
    This album was good and it had its moments (Jumping In and Jumping Out) but for me personally, his previous effort- Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards was very innovative in terms of tones and compositional elements. I will write a review for this album when i get the time.
    This album is like a 90s Metallica album: the guitars sound great but you can't hear the bass. Joe's albums usually have a great bass presence but all you can hear on this album is Joe's guitar and the drums. I feel deprived