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Steve Vai - Sound Theories Vol. I & II CD (album) cover


Steve Vai


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3.81 | 26 ratings

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3 stars In 2007, Steve Vai realized a dream he'd harbored since his youth of composing for an orchestra. Recording live with the Metropole Orchestra, Sound Theories shows updated versions of some of his classics as well as some original compositions. Vai always did strive to be more of a composer than shred guitarist. In fact, many of his older songs played here sound fully realized with orchestral backing, as if they'd been missing some key element.

The album/concert is effectively split into two sections: the run through of Vai's hits, and then the original tracks he crafted with the orchestra in mind. What is incredibly surprising is how he wrote scant guitar parts for these tunes. For once, the hired orchestra is the center of attention, not merely a device to display the neo-classical leanings of the artist. The only problem is that the first disc doesn't really pick up until the second half, with masterful adaptations of Liberty, The Attitude Song, and For the Love of God (the latter shows Vai's dedication to the music and not just himself by replacing some key passages with clarinet). The second disc is where the real meat is, and that's what makes this worth buying. Vai's selfless, understated guitar throws out the rule book for shred. Even though shredders like Vai and his mentor Joe Satriani had learned to curb mindless soloing in favor of actual songwriting skill, Steve takes it to a whole new level.

Fans of the more straightforward shred might find this boring, but those who enjoy depth in their music would do well to check this out. I would say it's vai's most progressive work to date, although Passion and Warfare is still his masterpiece.

Grade: C+

1800iareyay | 3/5 |


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