Sound — 8
The first half of the album is Vai doing his older material, with the Metropole Orchestra playing all the other parts. This section of the album features classics by Vai such as The Attitude Song, Liberty, and the awe-inspiring For The Love Of God. Listening to the tracks with an orchestra really is a treat for Vai fans, and is an interesting break from the rock aspect of Vai's music. The second half of the album are all classical compositions written by Steve. His true musical genius shows, and I now have a whole new respect for him as a composer. There are many classical elements, ranging from modern classical on tracks like Shadows And... as well as jazzier tunes like Bledsoe Blvd. There is even a violin solo on the track Sparks. Overall, though, I am thoroughly impressed. It's true that I won't listen to this album millions of times, but the tracks are thoroughly enjoyable. Give it a shot if you like Vai or classical music. The tracks are great, and are very listenable. The work of a genius is clearly apparent. Either way, though, the album will not remain in constant play as often as other Vai CDs, with the exception of the hardcore fans. Worth a few listens, though, definitely.
Lyrics — 8
Well, for one thing, it's all instrumental, so there's not much to hear in this category. However, I am a fan of Vai's voice, and would have liked to hear it. Though, I guess, his vocals would not have been appropriate in a classical setting.
Overall Impression — 8
When I heard about Sound Theories for the first time, I just knew I had to have a copy. Being a guitarist, I am absolutely stunned by both his incredible technical skill and his songwriting skills. He has truly bridged a gap between two musical worlds that I love, classical and instrumental rock. Vai brings both his chops as a guitarist and his work as an accomplished musician to the table. Let us not forget that Vai has been composing since at least high school; he recounts in high school that he had a teacher that would have him compose one piece a day. He then furthered his studies at Berklee College, studying music theory and in the process meeting some of today's most technically accomplished musicians and eventually transcribing music for the late Frank Zappa. The inner genius/freak (in a good way) that is Steve Vai truly bears all in this musical masterpiece; he has taken the core aspects of his songs and not only portrayed them in a softer, classical light, but has also added his own touches here and there on guitar, sounds that are unmistakably Steve Vai. I will admit, I was taken aback at first, as it is not the traditional Vai-esque music I am used to. But, after a few listens, the tracks grew on me. Once again, it's not addictive to the point where you can't get the tracks out of your head, but it will definitely make at least occasional appearances in your playlists.