Guitar virtuoso Steve Vai can never be accused of recording the same album twice or giving his fans new material that lacked excitement and mesmerizing musical explorations. His eighth studio release, and second installment in the planned trilogy 'Real Illusions', is titled The Story of Light, a rock fable/concept album containing spellbinding guitar instrumentals, scorching blues/gospel, Broadway styled show pieces, jazz, prog,and high-octane rock 'n' roll. With a cast that includes bassist Phillip Bynoe, drummers Jeremy Carlson & Mike Mangini, keyboard players David Rosenthal, Bob Carpenter, and Mike Keneally, rhythm guitarist Dave Weiner, and an assortment of vocalists, Vai has created a varied and enjoyable platter of music here that once again proves he is one of the most gifted and important guitar players on the scene today.
Who would have expected the scorching blues-rock/gospel take on the classic "John the Revelator", as Vai's searing licks combat the powerful vocals of Beverly McClellan & The Story of Light Choir, and the sophisticated jazz/prog of the engaging title track? Two completely different songs but they work so well here. For those who love Vai's guitar based instrumentals, there's the sizzling "Velorum", the tender, more jazz based "Creamsicle Sunset", and the scalding heavy rock of "Gravity Storm", the latter being one of the most exciting things he's done in quite some time, as nasty riffs, screaming pinch harmonics, and crazed whammy bar excursions fly about the mix. " Mullach a' tSí" shows Vai's deft touch, as tender melodies accentuated by harmonics and the whammy bar tug at your heart, while "Weeping China Doll" features some crushing riffs, atmospheric keys, and no shortage of fiery Vai guitar solos. "Racing The World" is one of the catchiest straight ahead rock instrumentals to ever come from the guitarist, and will certainly appeal to Joe Satriani fans, which to a degree can also be said for the upbeat closer "Sunshine Electric Raindrops", another catchy rocker with plenty of hooks, colors, and textures.
Though some of Vai's material might go over the head of the casual music fan, if you have any appreciation for adventurous guitar based music, there's no denying the genius of this guy. Since the early '80s, Steve Vai has consistently delivered top notch material, whether it be through his fine solo career, or as a member of Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, or Alcatrazz, and The Story of Light is no exception.Without a doubt, he's one of our true treasures, plain and simple.
1. The Story of Light 6:15
2. Velorum 6:09
3. John the Revelator 3:40
4. Book of the Seven Seals 3:56
5. Creamsicle Sunset 3:30
6. Gravity Storm 5:33
7. Mullach a' tSí 3:56
8. The Moon and I 7:18
9. Weeping China Doll 6:11
10. Racing The World 3:45
11. No More Amsterdam 4:15
12. Sunshine Electric Raindrops 4:15