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Steve Vai - Real Illusions: Reflections CD (album) cover


Steve Vai


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3.84 | 93 ratings

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5 stars This is not the shred-solo album one would probably expect from the name Steve Vai. It is an instrumental concept album, part one of three. The concept is difficult to follow because, while Steve has explained the part of the narrative that each song corresponds to in the liner notes, the songs are intentionally out of order. However, what we know so far is that Captain Drake Morgan experiences a spiritual epihpany and an angel named Pamposh builds a giant church named Under It All. Doesn't make much sense to me either. But I'm expecting that it will eventually.

There are a couple technical displays on this album, mainly in Building the Church and in Freak Show Excess. But that isn't the point of this album. Instead, he focuses on evoking atmospheres and emotions with his playing. I've always considered Steve Vai to be one of the more tasteful shredders, and it shows on this album. There's enough wankery to impress and remind you who you're dealing with, but it's made more effective by the way he holds back most of the time. He also does quite a bit of singing on this album, as Dying for your Love, Firewall, I'm Your Secrets, and Under It All are all based around lyrics. I personally think Steve has a great voice, perfectly on key and knowing to stay within his limits (no doubt this is due to his having perfect pitch.)

All in all, I think this is a great album. There are many who say it's the worst thing he's ever done. The key is to approach with an open mind. This is not necessarily a guitar hero album, despite the large quantity of instrumental tracks and amazing guitar playing. The flashy solos take a back seat to the songwriting, and if you're willing to accept that, hopefully you can enjoy this album as much as I do. (Just as a warning though, my idol as a guitarist is Steve Vai, so there may be some bias playing in here.)

MrEdifus | 5/5 |


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