Sound Theories: Vol. I & II review by Steve Vai

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jun 26, 2007
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (71 votes)
Steve Vai: Sound Theories: Vol. I & II
0

Sound — 10
Well, this is just more than a first for Steve Vai. This is a bold step for any musician to take. To team up with one of the world's greatest orchestras (Holland's Metropole Orkest) is an accomplishment for anyone, but especially for Mr. Vai. He does brilliantly here. The first disc are his classics done with an orchestra and him on guitar, and the second disc are compositions he wrote for an orchestra being performed (Without him on guitar.) The feel of and sound is epic. From the epic take on "Kill the Guy With the Ball" to the dark "The Murder" and to the brilliant, peaceful "Gentle Ways," this has got it all. And the second disc has got the nice orchestra feel that is big and bold.

Lyrics — 9
As I and many hardcore Vai fans have said, Steve doesn't need lyrics, the guitar paints the lyrics for itself. However, that doesn't go without saying that some of his vocal selections should have been chosen for this album. Could you imagine his brillaint songs like "All About Eve" or "Firewall" done with an orchestra? And better yet, his peaceful ballad "I'll Be Around" would have been a nice peaceful selection. But above all of this, the song that should have truly been on here is "Under it All." One of Vai's boldest, brashest epics done with an orchestra? Now that's real music right there!

Overall Impression — 10
For the first disc, I'll go track-by-track: 01. Kill The Guy With The Ball - this song is good, but disappointing. The actual "Kill the Guy With the Ball" part lasts only 1:38. The first two minutes or so are just a warmup. Plus, the song doesn't feel the same without the crazed vocals in the beginning. But, for the 1:38 of the song, it rocks. 02. The God Eaters - it's OK, it's a little too short. 03. The Murder Prolouge - unecessary, in my opinion. They should have just made "The Murder" ten minutes long instead of wasting a track for a short 1:18 intro. 04. The Murder - better than the original. The original was a little too much of a dark jam session, and this orchestrated version really adds to it. 05. Gentle Ways - this track has grown on me, and I have come to conclude that this is the best song on the first disc. It is brillaintly done, far better than the original. This should have been the seventh song, in my opinion. Strong track. 06. Answers - awesome! This is one of the major highlights. The original is a top ten Vai classic, and this orchestra version absolutely rules (The G3 with Eric Johnson contains the best version of this song). 07. I'm Becoming - this is the seventh song? This is just Steve noodling around on his guitar for two minutes. It's cool, but for the famed seventh slot it's a lot less than expected. 08. Salamanders In The Sun - great; better than the weird original track. This gets rid of the Zappa feeling that was prominent in the original. As many have said, this sounds like it was first made for an orchestra. 09. Liberty - this song is MADE for an orchestra; this version is great. It sort of loses the "New National Anthem" feel but it's still very good. 10. The Attitude Song - the orchestra adds a whole new great feel to this Vai classic. This isn't as good as the originial version, but it's still great. 11. For The Love Of God - good finish and the best version of this song. I wasn't a big fan of the original (I know saying that is like pure evil to all of you diehards like me, but hey, everyone has their different taste), so this is truly a great improvement. Now, for the second disc, I will just sum up. Steve is a brilliant composer. This whole disc is amazing. This shows that he is truly the best musical genius in the world. These songs are so brilliantly performed but they are also brilliantly written. All of the songs are good, with the exception of "Sparks" (the song is basically just a violin playing the whole time). The highlights here are "Shadows And..." "Frangelica Pt. 2" and "Bledsoe Blvd." "Shadows And..." is probably the best song on both discs. If you notice, the song has a main melody, but it also goes off into some Vai classics. It's truly an amazing track. The only negatives are that the second disc, while amazing, slightly lacks without Vai's playing, and on the first disc the orchestra sometimes overpowered Vai. Overall, it's far from Vai's best, but as originality goes this is probably number one. The orchestra is brilliant as is Vai. I paid far too much for this CD off of the Seenon preorder, but after getting the meet and greet pass and listening to this disc in the end it all was worth it. I hope, however, the next disc by Vai is a studio album.

57 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The Gloob
    I thought I was saying something purely common sensical that nobody with said sense could possibly dissagree with, but no, I should've anticipated that there would be too many hair-triggered dips***s roaming these forums for that statement go under the proverbial radar. Now if you will stop sniffing paint for a moment and read my comment again it is neutral, if you don't know what that means and don't have your educational video of choice to refer back to, that means I did not attempt to say whether Vai or Metallica is better. All I said was that complexity is not symnonomous with good, and if you can't wrap your mind around that instead of posting you should be in remedial summer school 24/7 until I decide that you are fit to rejoin society. And as much as it pains me to agree with somebody as intellectually devoid as yourself, I believe Vai is a better musician than Hammett, but in all of your idiocy you managed to interpret my comment to the contrary. This is dedicated to PlayMeSomeG3 of course.
    kylendm
    I just got this in the mail today and got one of the backstage passes and luckily i have a ticket to see him at Atlantic City In Sept. So it was totally worth the buy plus i got a T-Shirt lol. But the cdps are great 10/10.
    HardCandy
    I agree with just about everything the second review has to say. The songs from Gentle Ways on to the end of the first CD are great. Personally, my favorite song on the album as a whole would probably be Frangelica Pt.2, that jazz jam was just awesome.
    RockInPeaceDime
    The guys an unbelievable artist and really really musically gifted (both in understanding and capability).....but I don't like him Just doesn't suit my interests
    The Gloob
    laxslinger : I'm sorry but anyone who claims to be a guitarist that finds Vai boring is pathetic. You might not like his style but boring he is certainly not. As far as writing 'riffs' like Metallica, anyone who can play the 12 bar blues can do that. It's like a genius choosing to speak only in words you learned in grade 3, why would you bother? With that said any moron with a dictionary can use complex words, but what takes intelligence is saying something with substance, and if you can say something substantial with two syllable words why not. Same applies to music, if with simplicity the desired effect is obtained why not be simple. Metallica sound how they want to sound with relatively riff based songs, so why would they want to do otherwise.
    PlayMeSomeG3
    Vai>Metallica. Steve Vai is twice the guitarist and a way better musician than Hammet will ever be. Of course, anyone who plays guitar knows that now don't they? So I'm supposing everyone who's putting down Vai is a rebellious thirteen year old who finds gratification from whining. To even compare Vai to Hammet is rediculous, and "I'm the hell outta here" is more badass than any Metallica song you'll here. Fun Fact: Metallica voted no more solos as a band...So I guess you'll be enjoying a lot of repetitive riff-based music from now on wont you "The Gloob".
    sum41freak8733
    well who ever said his music isnt that great , first of all thats not really much of an opinion , imo lol ,his music is great if you say "well i think that there are things that sound better and appeal to my liking more THAT is an opionion , " but his music is great if you dont like it , thats ok , but saying what this album is , and that its not great , well i find that sad , since this piece of ass kicking work , is great
    the agony scene
    god you little bitches shut the hell up 1.vai is a greatly talented musician and you should respect him for that fact whether you like deathcore rite the way through to blues. 2.do not complain because he does not play "awesome riffs". His music tells storys via the emotion conveyed in his playing aswell as showing his amazing technical ability. 3.what does this album have that metallica dont? innovation and experimentation.Metallica have been playing the same generic riffs for ages.They are no longer 20 year olds they need to realize that.
    Guitar_Poet
    The Gloob wrote: Fall Out Boy: Frank Zappa as Steve Vai: Actual Classical Composers(Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Stravinsky, Beethoven) But with that said it was a respectable attempt and I will not say that he should've stuck to what he is best at but when compared to legitimate classical music it falls far short.
    maybe because classical music is not something he writes often. =)
    Bazilisck311 wrote: It's definitely got one of the coolest Steve Vai covers.
    hahahaha... yea the cover is kickass.
    22acacia
    Who is dissing Vai lol. Pupil of Satch; one of the most genuine human beings and innovative songwriters of our time. Sorry but bashing Vai is just bad form.
    MonsterOfRock
    Who in the right mind would ever compare Metallica with Vai? They're both cool in their own ways. Vai is a effing composer, where Metallica is a band. Vai plays his music the way he does it, which is absolute genius. Hammett and Hetfield play as a duo, along with lyrics bass and drumwork, involving 4 individuals. How on earth do you compare them? Metallica is one of the greatest metal bands, and Vai is one of the greatest composers in modern history. LEAVE IT AT THAT!!!
    TC1223
    I never really listened to Vai, but if he is this big legendary guitarist why can't he sell out this simple little club in Jersey which holds about 2000 people max and tickets have been on sale for about 2 months ??
    PigBenis69
    TC1223 wrote: I never really listened to Vai, but if he is this big legendary guitarist why can't he sell out this simple little club in Jersey which holds about 2000 people max and tickets have been on sale for about 2 months ??
    because people don't want anything new, and therefore they don't look for anything new and stick to their "awrsum falloot bouy L@LZ". I ventured out into the world of music and came across steve vai. and he is awesome, truly one of the greatest guitarist/composers ever. plus he isn't mainstream, and it doesn't look like he is gonna sell out anytime soon. oh, and whoever is getting their jem signed by vai, that is like getting god to sign your bible. envyx1000
    BadBishop
    PlayMeSomeG3 wrote: Vai>Metallica. Steve Vai is twice the guitarist and a way better musician than Hammet will ever be. Of course, anyone who plays guitar knows that now don't they? So I'm supposing everyone who's putting down Vai is a rebellious thirteen year old who finds gratification from whining. To even compare Vai to Hammet is rediculous, and "I'm the hell outta here" is more badass than any Metallica song you'll here. Fun Fact: Metallica voted no more solos as a band...So I guess you'll be enjoying a lot of repetitive riff-based music from now on wont you "The Gloob".
    Even though its true Hammett is nothing compared to Vai, the rest of the post is nonsense. Specifically comparing Vai songs to Metallica songs.
    Jonny92
    _3Lm0_ wrote: Crossroads (1986)... he has only been beaten once though!
    haha yer and u can see its hard for him not 2 do it amazingly perfect lol
    Dnalrafcmb3
    postiejim wrote: just his usual crap, boring boring boring.....
    pfff what a sh!t head
    spoonylove90
    i heard he notated every intstruments parts. now that is impressive even if you are not a fan, which btw i most definatley am!!!
    zigz407
    steve vai is pretty good, definitly not boring, but not as good as joe satriani imo
    Guitar_Poet
    22acacia wrote: Cant go wrong with Vai, a really nice chap in real life too. Very selfless. Not that that should make someone like his music more, just a plus.
    agreed. this album is awesome... you just cant go into it expecting the usual vainess, as it is a different side of him. no one can deny that he is truly an artist, not just a musician. brilliant music... cant really go wrong listening to vai! i hope to see him in concert later this year.
    simonjw87
    i saw vai for the first time a few weeks ago, he was amazing, and it was a great treat to watch him play with violinists, it added a nice touch.
    |\puto_rodas/|
    Well, I saw him too, in Lisbon, at Aula Magna! This guy is good, but the guy, the violinist, just kicks any ass you put in front of him, I mean it!!! rock on!
    DougC84
    a beautifully-assembled collection of songs by the genius himself. i wouldn't say it's his best, but probably top 3.
    justine0393
    postiejim wrote: just his usual crap, boring boring boring.....
    O.O vai's music = BORING?! omfg...
    iplayguitaralot
    justine0393 : postiejim wrote: just his usual crap, boring boring boring..... O.O vai's music = BORING?! omfg...
    yea..uh hate to break it to you but his music isn't that great
    laxslinger
    I'm sorry but anyone who claims to be a guitarist that finds Vai boring is pathetic. You might not like his style but boring he is certainly not. As far as writing 'riffs' like Metallica, anyone who can play the 12 bar blues can do that. It's like a genius choosing to speak only in words you learned in grade 3, why would you bother?
    Decembero
    I MUST GET THIS! Vai is AWESOME! I cant understand why some people cant admit his abilities are worth GOD status, which they definately are.
    flame843
    iplayguitaralot wrote: yea..uh hate to break it to you but his music isn't that great
    What's not great about it? His playing is full of emotion and his technical ability is uncanny. Have you ever heard For the Love of God? Tender Surrender?
    sakos
    that guy plays awesome, but its ****in boring. why dont write riffs. cheers Metallica is better
    postiejim
    Yes i admit technically brilliant but his music is mediocre to say the least.