Joe Satriani – What Happens Next review

I know I’ve heard Satch write interesting guitars hooks in the past, but they are mysteriously missing on a majority of the tracks here. Most tracks on this album are at least decent. Joe is still amazing at whipping out really interesting, emotional, and often insane guitar solos, but he really tends to falter in the general songwriting department sometimes. Too many times the hook on a song isn’t strong enough to warrant the amount that it is focused on or played around, and with the backing instrumentation being simplistic and completely non-assertive, these mediocre hooks are left alone and can fall pretty flat. Joe seems to actually address a few of these problems in the second half, with songs like “Invisible”, and “Super Funky Baddass” having both interesting hooks and backing parts. The last complaint is that despite the more energetic songs working quite well most of the time, Joe opts to take most of the album to a much more mellow and laid-back place, which works against him more often than not, with a particularly weak closing track to drive that feeling home. Overall, What Happens Next is an album with some killer solos that do give the songs some nice appeal for other guitarists, but I can’t recommend it that highly otherwise.


Highlight: Headrush


Tribulation – Down Below review

This is not a bad album. I do like what they’re doing but what bothers me is there is very little variety. The guitar gets very repetitive pretty quickly (outside of the solos, which are quite good). The bass and drums play their parts in the mix well enough but rarely deviate from their core duties. I’m glad the album isn’t too long, as it keeps this repetitiveness from ever becoming too tedious. The songs are well written and I do like the way the progressions and melodic changes keep the ball rolling, but these melodic changes happen so often all over the album, to the point where they become predictable. The ambient and piano intros and outros that appear on some songs are EXCELLENT and in my opinion these elements aren’t used nearly as much as they should have been. The harsh shrieked black metal vocals sound fine but they are very samey and don’t really add much to most songs. My final complaint is the mixing, which has a tendency to bury some of the most interesting parts during a song. Down Below is still a decent metal album, with a haunting and melancholy atmosphere. I just wish they delved outside of their comfort zone more than they did.


Highlights: Purgatorio, Lacrimosa

Pink Floyd – A Saucerful of Secrets review


Alright, here we are with our first album review! We are starting off with one of my favorite bands: Pink Floyd, but we shall not be doing one of the famous albums just yet. Everyone already knows about Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, and Wish You Were Here. Instead I wanted to do one of the lesser known albums, their second outing “A Saucerful of Secrets.”

Even among their early work, this album seems to be forgotten by a lot of people; overshadowed by the psychedelic blast of “Piper” and the overwhelmingly strange “Ummagumma.” The people that do seem to remember this album only seem to remember it because it’s the only album that both Syd Barrett and David Gilmour played on. This is a bit misleading. While both of them do play guitar on the album, they are only actually playing together on one song, and you would never have even realized it. That being said, I think this is one of the better non-70s Pink Floyd albums.

Saucerful retains much of the psychedelic rock sound the band crafted on their first album, but they also add in a very lavish, creepy, space rock sound to many of the songs. Songs such as “Let There Be More Light,” “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” and the title track really define what space rock sounds like to me. The way the band uses synths behind the guitars, pianos, and vocals to create an uneasy atmosphere gives the songs a character you don’t hear on many of their other releases. The vocals also add to the space on this album, as they are very soft on all songs but one, which I will get into later. For the most part, these are definitely moodier, darker songs than on their debut album.

The album’s first three songs flow very well and are probably my three favorites from the album. “Let There Be More Light” alternates back and forth between creepy, quiet verses and louder more eclectic choruses. “Remember a Day” treats us to some rarely heard Richard Wright vocal work over a blissful and playful piano. “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” is a very quiet and ambient track with soft vocals by Roger Waters. This is the only track in Pink Floyd’s entire discography that all five main members played on, but again there really isn’t anything in the song at all to indicate that. It’s still a very good song though.

Despite the fact that I actually quite like the fourth track, “Corporal Clegg” sticks out like a sore thumb and completely breaks the flow of the album. It is a much more upbeat song than the others and even contains an obnoxious kazoo part. I personally like the song and think it’s quite fun, but I know a lot of fans that disagree entirely, so take that how you will. After this, we get to the title track. This is an 11-minute instrumental song and it’s one of the first times we see Pink Floyd get very experimental. It goes through three main sections. The first is an extremely creepy and ambient synth build-up that is bound to give some children nightmares if heard at night. This then goes into a pounding drum pattern with dissonant piano banging and crazy synth explosions. The third part of the song slows back down for a very peaceful and beautiful resolution. It’s a cool song but definitely overstays its welcome quite a bit. There are far better versions of the song on their live albums but I certainly don’t think this one is bad.

The last two songs for me are a very unsatisfactory ending. “See-Saw” is another soft, playful song, but after the title track it almost puts me to sleep. Again, not a bad song, just not a great one. I’ve often heard people say the last song is their favorite from this album, but I actually don’t really care for “Jugband Blues.” This is the sendoff for Syd Barrett and the lyrics definitely reflect that, but musically I think the song is just a little too sporadic and ends too suddenly to leave much of a lasting impact, but I guess that is reflective of Syd Barrett’s time in Pink Floyd: very sporadic and ended dramatically, as he was officially kicked out during the making of this album. All in all though, it doesn’t feel like a great album closer, especially if you know nothing about Barrett.

Now this isn’t a bad album but it does have quite a few flaws. It doesn’t flow very well from front to back and some of the songs can drag on for a little too long. This album also came out around the time when bands were experimenting with hard stereo panning, so that can be very strange and off-putting as well. I would definitely still recommend you listen to the album if you’re into Pink Floyd or enjoy psychedelic rock music. At the very least this should be something unique that you probably haven’t heard before.

Rating: 73/100

Highlights: Let There Be More Light, Remember a Day, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

Lowlights: Jugband Blues