Joe Satriani – The Elephants of Mars (Album Review)

Release Date: April 08th 2022 - earMUSIC

Joe Satriani - The Elephants of Mars

The absolute legend that is Joe Satriani is at it again with his 19th studio album (yes, you’ve read that right – 19!), The Elephants of Mars. This is a great offering from the guitar God and one of his best in a long time. The album was released on April 8th on earMUSIC records.

It takes a special ability to combine extreme guitar talent and songwriting into an album that’s enjoyable from start to finish. Joe Satriani has achieved that and then some. Before I go too much further, I’ve got some things I need to get off my chest…

Unpopular opinion #1: Mindless guitar wank sounds like garbage. What I’m talking about here is guitar complexity for the sake of it. I can appreciate something that’s technically difficult to play, but if it doesn’t sound good then I’m sorry you’ve failed. Joe Satriani, despite being considered one of the most technically proficient guitarists of all time, has walked that fine line with this album. There are moments where he pushes into mindless guitar wank, but it’s ever so brief and in general, the album is very enjoyable.

Really unpopular opinion #2: Instrumental albums, those without vocals, can be boring if not done well. An entire album without vocals? You’ve got to really pull out all the stops to prevent boredom. This is where songwriting is so important. Again, Joe Satriani has managed to do just that. Produce a somewhat long album that at no point will you get bored listening to. His range of sound and depth of the tracks will keep you entertained.

OK, now that I’ve got that off my chest, onto the review!

Dance of the Spores is the stand-out track for me. The sounds that Joe Satriani has pulled off in this song alone prove that he doesn’t need a vocalist. The guitar literally sings! It’s an amazing track that is representative of the album as a whole. Go have a listen here.

Through a Mother’s Day Darkly is another excellent song. The voice-over is an interesting touch, as are the heavy bass elements of this song. There’s so much going on, again it’s much more than guitar noise. Joe’s ability to contain such complexity in the song however remain enjoyable to listen to is a true skill.

For someone who’s been a mainstay of the scene for 4 decades, the fact that he can continue to write and produce an album like The Elephants of Mars is a testament to who he is as a person and musician. An excellent album from start to finish. Go check it out!

Tracklist:

  1. Sahara
  2. The Elephants of Mars
  3. Faceless
  4. Blue Foot Groovy
  5. Tension and Release
  6. Sailing the Seas of Ganymede
  7. Doors of Perception
  8. E 104th St NYC
  9. Pumpin’
  10. Dance of the Spores
  11. Night Scene
  12. Through a Mother’s Day Darkly
  13. 22 Memory Lane
  14. Desolation

Joe Satriani: Facebook

Release Year: 2022
Label: earMUSIC
Category: Album
Country: USA

Reviewed by Phil Bergersen