When people talk about good instrumentalists, it is often Joe Satriani comes up when guitar is associated. When Satriani first started his music career, he held his ground in the 1980s and the 90s as the guitarist kingpin of the rock world. Those days, however, are but long gone. Joe has been replaced by other comparable guitarist icons such as John Petrucci, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Johnson, and Steve Vai, Satriani’s own student. Even so, he really never left the rock stage and still continues to try to get his veteran influence across to the fans and the music critics alike. Unstoppable Momentum is the most recent attempt by the guitar wizard to regain attention and is in some ways, a mixed album.
There is already one thing about this album that might become a negative in certain criteria; it is that Unstoppable Momentum sounds very similar or almost the same to the past few recent albums done in the past five years. Satriani may change-up the guitar solos, melodies, and the rhythms, but even so, the structures, songs, and ideas are still generally speaking similar or even alike to that of his previous works. So, if most of J-Satch has been making is almost all the same, has anything changed? Yes, but it’s only the background music, and it does help.
The background music really shouldn’t be serving as a literal-life preserver for Satriani’s failingly old solos and riffs; this, however, is an unusual exception. In cases such as Unstoppable Momentum, the background music (cheers to Mike Kenelly [keyboards], Vinnie Colaiuta [drums], and Chris Chaney [bass]) has helped keep the music sounding modern and fresh to the high advanced ears of music fanatics. It also prevents the constant showmanship and guitar playing of Satriani from fully becoming dull and boring. This is one of the few cases where the rest of the band saves the soloist from drowning. But, isn’t the soloist supposed to work by himself, stand out as the star and steal the show? Some cases, yes; this situation, however, is different. This time, the members of the group should be hailed as the new stars. On the other hand, that means J-Satch didn’t present himself as great of a virtuoso as he did in Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards.
Looking on the bright side; Joe Satriani still does a halfway decent job of creating and executing glitzy, hair rising, spastic, and edge of your seat guitar solos. Best part: since they’re usually presented in the same/similar format, not much action is lost. You still get a “jalapeno ghost pepper” in what could’ve easily been spoiled “soup”. Now there’s a positive perspective of the album.
In the end, Unstoppable Momentum was just like any other given Joe Satriani album: heavily instrumental, glitzy, crazy, spastic, and…well…mostly the same as the last album and the album before that one. It’s not that it had bad results, but it didn’t really have an excellent outcome, altogether. For Prof. Satchafunkilus, that only means one thing: keep moving on or just try something different. It’s pretty obvious how that should end.