Passion And Warfare review by Steve Vai

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1990
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (58 votes)
Steve Vai: Passion And Warfare

Sound — 10
This Steve Vai album is innovative in many ways. The album is entirely instrumental, except for short dialogues and samples. The only song that could be considered to have vocals is "The Audience Is Listening", but even that one is almost entirely dominated by the instrumentalists. There are guitar solos present in every song, which is what you get when you buy a Steve Vai album. To me, the album sounds like a heavy metal instrumental album. There are a few experimental songs also, like "Ballerina 12/24", "Alien Water Kiss", and "Love Secrets". Those songs make this album very unique. Overall, this is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Lyrics — 9
There are no lyrics here, except for short dialogues. The only song that could be considered to have lyrics would be "The Audience is Listening". The lyrics to that song are quite funny, and they reflect Steve's sense of humor. 01. Liberty - this two minute song is a cool way to kick off the album. This immediately hooked me because of the two words at the beginning: "Heads up!" Then the music kicks in, and it's pretty much a guitar solo until the end. 02. Erotic Nightmares - this one starts off with a cool, fast riff, and a guitar solo starts within the first 20 seconds. Some great whammy bar effects on this track. 03. The Animal - has a badass riff to get things started. The first guitar solo of many kicks in around 30 seconds. This is one of my favorite whammy bar oriented songs. Seriously, this song revolves around the whammy bar. The effect Steve makes with it at around 0:52-0:54 is insane. 04. Answers - kind of a funky song. Starts off with some spoken word gibberish. Not all that memorable of a song, though. Segues into "The Riddle". 05. The Riddle - one of my favorite songs on the album. There are some incredible artificial harmonics in this song. The interlude where a man and a woman discuss making love is kind of weird, but it makes this song unique. Steve also switches over to clean guitar a few times during the course of this song. The solo starting at 3:47 is one of his best on the album. And the harmonic from 4:11-4:14 will nearly break your eardrums. 06. Ballerina 12/24 - Steve uses a weird effect on this song. The back of the CD case says he used a guitar with an Eventide H-3000 guitar harmonizer. It's a pretty cool, unique song. 07. For The Love Of God - this is the epitomy of what Steve Vai is all about, this is one of the best guitar solos ever recorded. He fasted for ten days during the making of it, and on the fourth day, he recorded the guitar track. This proves that Steve is one of the best guitarists to ever live. The whammy bar plays a huge role in this masterpiece. 08. The Audience Is Listening - this is an awesome heavy metal song. It's got a great riff with a wah-wah pedal. The battle between Steve's band and the teacher is pretty funny. I always laugh at the lines: "If this is my final flip-out, you guys are gonna go with me. Ah, shut up.", and "We're not gonna have another incident like Mildred!" You have to listen to this song to know what I mean. 09. I Would Love To - this is a cool track, some more great soloing by Mr. Vai. This one actually gets your toe tapping, it's really upbeat. 10. Blue Powder - this is slower ballad, but gets faster as the songs progresses. Great use of the whammy bar and harmonics on this track. 11. Greasy Kid's Stuff - this song is short, but it's still great. At the beginning, some guy lists what is apparentely the volumes of all the instruments. 12. Alien Water Kiss - another song that uses the guitar harmonizer, it's kind of cool. 13. Sisters - this is a song Steve dedicated to Pamela and Lillian Vai. Steve uses clean guitar only, and doesn't shred at all. I really like this song. 14. Love Secrets - Steve plays all instruments on this track, except for the drums, which is a drum machine. This song is really weird, and kind of a bizarre way to finish the album, but I still think it's interesting. Some of the sampled voices are funny.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this album is one of the best instrumental albums ever recorded, and is my favorite of the ones I own. This album is based around the guitar, although the bass does contribute a couple of solos also. The whammy bar effects on songs like "For The Love of God" and "The Riddle" are incredible. I could compare this album to Joe Satriani's Surfing With the Alien. Passion and Warfare still has that album beat in my book. It has the element of uniqueness, like by adding weird effects to the guitar ("Alien Water Kiss") or by including some funny spoken parts ("The Audience is Listening"). Satch's album is just more straightforward instrumental rock. If someone stole this from me, I would be devastated. Then I would find them and kill them, and take my CD. If you would like to hear some great guitar-oriented music, give Steve Vai's Passion and Warfare a shot.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    the cd is my first steve vai album and its good but there is a lot of unneccesary talking in it, but audience is listening is killer anyway. all the songs exept alien waterkiss and gresy kids stuff are amazing!!!
    armadildo wrote: probably the best instrumental rock album of all times IMO.
    actually i like joe satch's anthology better but this is still one of the best instrumental albums in the world.