Sound — 4
When I first heard about Steve Vai I was really excited. If this dude can really play like they said he could, his album should be amazing. I went to HMV to buy it the next day. I was very surprised when I listened to it. Most of the songs suck, and go on for way too long. The bassist seems to be playing a different song on a couple of occasions - 'In My Dreams With You' and the title track being the most notable. Vai can clearly play the guitar amazingly well, but on many songs you get the feeling that he's just showing off. In this sense the album, for me, was more like jazz-it seems the band themselves are having fun but aren't letting the audience in on it. Some songs however, do shine through as being great tracks - 'Deep Down Into The Pain' and the sitar driven 'State Of Grace' are awesome. But many tracks are marred by recordings of other things - Deep Down Into The Pain has a woman screaming in agony constantly throughout, and the incredibly bizarre-and also crap - 'Pig' ends with a shedful of the song's namesake squealing like mad. Devin Townsend vocals on this record, yet his voice seems lost amidst the bassist going on some freaky funk trip, Steve Vai playing seven guitars at once, and the drummer occasionally hitting the snare to make it look like he's doing something.
Lyrics — 2
I like Devin Townsends voice. He wails, he moans, he screams, but he really is out of place on this turgid album. I was appalled at the lyrics - Strapping Young Lad's lyrics are always fine, until I read that Vai wrote them too. Now I understand. The album's art is full of Buddhist paintings, and Vai seems to be trying to express Buddhist style poetry in these lyrics. He also seems to be trying to rip off SOAD by using surreal imagery 'those creatures, evangelist preachers, the one that takes money, in the promise of hope' but he's failing. Big time.
Overall Impression — 4
Steve Vai sure can play that guitar. Devin Townsend sure can sing. But somehow, the two just don't mix. Vai should try playing simpler songs, and not rying to stick every riff in the galaxy into one ten minute bore-a-thon, and Townsend should just run away and concentrate on his other groups. The problem with Steve Vais music is, he's so good it's obscene, and he shows off a lot. I hear he was taught by Joe Satriani, but if you have to choose between the, go for the wiser mentor, not the excitable protege.