An instrumental rock album released in 1992 by Joe Satriani on Relativity Records / Sony Music.

Wholly instrumental, as is usual for Satch. One of my favourite albums, because it seems so timeless, and because their isn't a track on it that I don't like. The tracks don't especially flow together, rather each one showcases Joe's talent in a different way, not only as a guitarist, but as a composer.

With some modern instrumental music, it may sometimes feel like there is something missing, due to the lack of singing. But not so on this album, as Joe manages to let his guitar do the singing. This is most noticeable on Cryin' and New Blues, but is there an element of this on all the tracks. I think this is because the tracks generally have a good rhythm set with drums, bass and rhythm guitar, and then Joe seems to lay a quasi-solo on top of that all through the track.

Track List:

  1. Friends (3:27)
    Nothing too fancy here, just a great feel-good rock tune, quite uplifting.

  2. The Extremist (3:42)
    Title track, wherein the tempo moves up a notch. Slightly less feel-good, slightly more rock out. The guitar is backed up in this by some impressive solos on what sounds like a harmonica, but is credited in the liner notes simply as an organ.

  3. War (5:46)
    The tempo goes up another notch. A very solid rhythm backs up some soaring guitar soloing. The guitar playing seems to have an urgency and desperation about it that justifies the title. Good for a bit of headbanging and footstomping.

  4. Cryin' (5:42)
    A slow and beautiful tune, quite melancholy. As noted before, it really seems like the guitar is singing. Quite reminiscent of While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles.

  5. Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness (6:10)
    Ok, if you're feeling a little down after Cryin', then this song is just the thing. Again quite slow, and including a banjo and a mandolin, this track is IMHO the best on the album. It always makes me feel happy, which can only be A Good Thing. The second last minute is especially elation inducing.

  6. Summer Song (4:52)
    Back to some more solid rawk. A thumping rhythm on the drums drives this tune, backing up some great twiddly solos from Joe. Footstomping ahoy!

  7. Tears In The Rain (1:16)
    More of an interlude than a full track. Joe goes acoustic on this one, backed up only by some reverb effects. A nice quiet break from the rawk.

  8. Why (4:45)
    My other favourite track of the album. Very funky tune, helped along by a wah-wah pedal for the rhythm guitar. An interesting effect makes it seem like two guitars are playing the solos at the same time, perfectly matched.

  9. Motorcycle Driver (4:56)
    Pretty standard (for Joe anyway) solid rawk again. Good rhythm, great solos, but nothing to make it really stand out. Still good though.

  10. New Blues (6:55)
    This is probably the most unique track on the album, and quite unique for Joe in general, from what I've heard. A jazzy, bluesy sorta tune, building up quite slowly to a very funky middle section, then slowing down again for some quiet jamming. A good closing track all around.

All in all I think this album is a classic and I would recommend it to anyone who likes guitar music or classic rock, and probably to those who don't as well.

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