Steve Vai’s quirky artistry has evolved light years beyond David Lee Roth’s first post-Van-Halen band. From his tenure with Frank Zappa to a stint in Whitesnake, Vai has continually expanded his melodic sensibility without sacrificing his brand.
Created as the seventh installment of Vai’s 10-disc Secret Jewel Box collection from 2001 and included as a companion CD to last year’s 25th anniversary release of Passion and Warfare, here, it gets its day in the sun as a stand-alone.
The album expands ideas written just after Vai’s 1984 solo project, Flex-Able, bringing closure to that not only with technological recording advancements but a wider scope of mind-boggling guitar techniques and use of harmony.
Using the mellifluous sounds of the human voice, Vai injects sound bites and extraterrestrial melodies over relentless grooves. Highlights include “The Lost Chord” featuring Devon Townsend, “Pink And Blows Over Parts 1-3,” and “Mighty Messengers” featuring the mighty Stu Hamm on bass.
This article originally appeared in VG December 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.