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Steve Vai - Vai: Sex & Religion CD (album) cover

VAI: SEX & RELIGION

Steve Vai

 

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3.17 | 102 ratings

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EvilGnome
1 stars I was just a kid in high school, learning to play guitar when I first heard Steve Vai's Flex-Able and it was an instant favorite. The guitar work was stunning, the compositions fascinating, and the quirky sense of humor made it an incredibly entertaining album I still enjoy to this day. Passion and Warfare came out six years later and somehow he had managed to build on his previous style and make it even more grandiose. Then came the eagerly anticipated Sex & Religion. I was so sorely dissapointed I ignored his subsequent releases for the next 8 years.

I have pulled out this album from time to time over the years and even though I despise it slightly less than I did at first, it is still my least favorite Steve Vai release. Even though there are moments of brilliant guitar work peppered throughout each track, the vocals, and especially the lyrics, typify the worst of the late eighties and early nineties heavy metal this album aspires to emulate.

It's not that Devin Townsend is a terrible vocalist. He's pretty solid when he's not outright screaming (which he does a little too often), it's that the material he is working with is so trite. Had any of the vocal sections appeared on an Extreme or Mr. Big album, nobody would have found them out of place.

The solitary island of relief from the overall misery of this album is "Touching Tongues", a mostly instrumental track with a short, wordless vocal part that actually compliments the composition rather than destroying it. It might make this album worth picking up used or out of a bargain bin if it wasn't included in "The 7th Song", a very strong compilation highlighting Vai's otherwise fascinating career.

Given Steve Vai's monumental talent, it is stunning how miserably he fails to create anything memorable or compelling in this 13 track trainwreck. By the time we get to "Down Deep into the Pain", the second-to last track on the album, we're already there and the song does nothing to ease our suffering.

The only redeeming qualities in this release (other than "Touching Tongues") are Steve Vai's guitar work and Terry Bozzio's drumming. Perhaps if this album was processed through a karaoke filter, it might make for a halfway decent instrumental record.

Overall rating: Poor. Only for completionists.

EvilGnome | 1/5 |

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