Picks and Pans Review: The Extremist

updated 01/11/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/11/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

Joe Satriani

In this age of dainty disembodied synthesizer music, it's a relief to know there are still some flinty guitar gunslingers like Satriani, Steve Vai or Eric Johnson slouching around.

Instrumental rock guitar just doesn't offer sustained enjoyment unless the player has a fluid and forceful style. Satriani does. His lyricism is nearly the match of Jeff Beck, the father of this form. But, you ask, can Joe jam? Does Ozzy Osbourne munch bats? There are a host of gale-force gut checks here, and the overall sound is richer and fuller than on, say, Satriani's 1987 Surfing with the Alien.

Guitarists like Satriani are the audio equivalent of centerfolds: In their own way they inspire fantasy. And the arrangements on The Extremist have drama and grandeur enough to excite the most showy air guitarist. Gentlemen, pretend to plug in your instruments! (Relativity)

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