Joe Satriani – Shockwave Supernova (Sony/Legacy)

Genre: Instrumental Rock

Instrumental or plain mental? Satch continues to divide opinion and within the rock and metal community he’s the Marmite of fretboard wizards. But love him or loathe him there’s an incredible level of consistency underpinning every record the bona fide guitar hero has ever made.

As a consequence reviewing a Satriani opus is like watching a Michael Jordan clip, tasting fish and chips with salt and vinegar and diving naked into Caribbean – you know it will be good but just how good.

Of course, comparing and contrasting Satch’s back catalogue requires a university thesis and so let’s save the debate surrounding Shockwave Supernova‘s place in the pantheon of widdly-diddlyness for another day.

Judged on its own merit it’s another meticulously conceived and produced example of technical prowess and natural talent.

There’s the full fury rock, the jazzy twists, bluesy roots and spaced out solos – all familiar fare to the Satriani aficionado. But then there’s the short but deliciously sweet Butterfly And Zebra and the meandering Stars Race Across The Sky – both feature in the albums’ final third but it would be a crime to hit pause before Shockwave Supernova‘s undoubted highlights have their day.

There are some who criticise Satch for lacking emotion, others for lacking direction.  Then there are those who know that whatever the style of his music, the vibe he creates, the speed at which he plays or the direction he chooses to take there’s one inevitable constant: every Satriani album is a lesson in the versatility of the electric guitar and its power to change perceptions. Simon Rushworth

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Shockwave Supernobrainer