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Steve Vai - Fire Garden CD (album) cover


Steve Vai


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3.87 | 100 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Will this soothe my aching hunger?

Steve Vai: guitar wizard, fret master, all around virtuoso composer and player. Here he is in 1996 on this effort, originally meant to be a double album, but thanks to the wonderful invention of CDs, just an album split into two parts. On this album you'll find everything that you'd expect from Mr. Vai: blinding guitar work, catchy hooks and melodies, and a little bit of evil. As stated before, the CD is split up into two halves - the first being entirely instrumental, and the second being all ''songs'' (with vocals). Really, buying this disc is like buying two completely different albums.

The instrumental half of the album opens bombastically with an explosion, an air raid siren and a couple of chunky riffs before it explodes into full motion. There's A Fire In The House indeed as Steve races to get out of there on his guitar. Frantic and quick, the opening track is one of the best on the album. The rest of the disc is mostly like this as well, screaming riffs allow for a good amount of humming and headbanging. The biggest standout of this half, however, has got to be the second track The Crying Machine which is likely the most subdued of the songs (and starting to sound a bit like mentor Joe Satriani) but with a killer bass riff that drives the melancholically fast guitar to it's highest peaks. This must be one of Vai's best songs in his discography.

Of course, what are prog-heads going to like about this half? Well, the instrumentals are structured in a way to keep things rolling so that the momentum never slows, even with quick into/outro tracks, but the most appealing thing about this half of the disc is likely going to be the last song. Fire Garden Suite paired with it's intro Bangkok offers up a very progressive track as it goes through multiple speed and mood changes without becoming scattered. A heavy eastern influence also makes this one a very unique track.

Coming into the second side we're onto the vocal tracks. It's mostly about rock and roll here with a number of good songs that are all quite enjoyable. Aching Hunger has a nice riff split between vocal pieces that makes it noteworthy and All About Eve is a nice slow track wrought with emotion, but they're not the best tracks on the album. While the intro When I Was A Little Boy is very. interesting and quirky the song it leads into is the one that has interest to it. Genocide is the best vocal song on the album. Slow and mechanical in beat with a very well done chanting chorus in the background, this is a surprisingly amazing song that is a welcome surprise coming to the end of the album.

Those who love Steve are going to love this album. Those who love shredding guitar are going to love this album. Prog heads will likely enjoy the first half over the second, but it's still good all around. 3 stars for a good album with a couple of serious gems.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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