Experimental, Fusion, Groovy, Guitar-Hero, Happy, Hovering, Instrumental, Technical
"Passion & Warfare is the album that will consecrate Steve Vai to the rank of absolute genius and that will represent the quintessence of modern instrumental music."
NUNO777 (26.08.2009)  
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Steve Vai's young career was just beginning when "Flexable" was released in 1984. The solicitations will follow one another for the virtuoso and from 1985 to 1990 he integrates successively Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth Band and Whitesnake. These experiences will give him the opportunity and the financial manna to give life to a project that he matures for years. It is the masterpiece released in 1990, Passion & Warfare, an album that consecrates Steve Vai to the rank of absolute genius and that represents the quintessence of modern instrumental music. 

What better entrance than "Liberty", a short introduction of two minutes followed by "Erotic Nightmare", a groovy instrumental which leaves a large part to the sound effects. In its center, a multitude of sounds can be heard, including a flute that is not a flute, since it is a quirk obtained by Steve by blowing the air near his guitar pickups. "Animal" logically follows "Erotic Nightmare" with a raw opening riff and a Vai who perfectly manages to capture the effect of the animal roaring, growling or howling.

"Answers", very fast and rich of its percussions, comes to calm the ardors. This construction is typical of Vai's work and we will find similar tracks scattered throughout the genius' albums. "The Riddle" deploys on more than six minutes a very progressive instrumental with multiple phases. The introduction installs the music as a ballad and this one is transformed during the minutes into a surge of notes. Worthy heir of Frank Zappa, he draws from his guitar and his multi-effects sounds of a great originality. He makes the wah-wah pedal his best companion, thus perpetuating the tradition inaugurated by one of his masters, Jimi Hendrix.

"Ballarina 12/24" is an odd title for this short 1'45 interlude, which again demonstrates Vai's mastery of technology with a very clear sound. But this track is forever associated with the masterpiece it precedes. The famous seventh track is here the most famous composition of Steve Vai, always covered in concert and having occupied many hours to the guitarists in search of thrills. "For The Love Of God" is an offering of all that Steve Vai is capable of as a guitarist. All the techniques of the perfect modern musician are employed in this work that starts out as a ballad with an ethereal melody, and slowly builds to an explosion of triple and quadruple eighth notes.

Half of the album has just passed and we are not at the end of our surprises. Another classic from this album, "The Audience Is Listening" follows "For The Love of God". It is the return of the theme of childhood that is personified in this track. "I Would Love To" is very lively and is in the great tradition of the satriani's instrumentals, while the ballad "Blue Powder" shows the incredible touch of Steve Vai with an esoteric sequence taking place in the middle of the track and many effects of neck and vibrato. The end approaches slowly with the playful "Greasy Kid's Stuff" and its very technical final part. "Alien Water Kiss" is very experimental and quite anecdotal as well as the closing track "Love Secrets". Then comes the magnificent ballad entirely acoustic "Sisters" dedicated to Steve's two sisters. Rare enough to be noticed: the use of the only acoustic guitar in a composition of Vai.

As you listen to Passion & Warfare, the work seems to have surpassed its creator and to exist on its own like all the masterpieces of art in general. Vai has put his whole self into it by being extremely endearing and generous (a must-see in concert), and his album is just as much. Passion & Warfare will never be surpassed by any other Steve Vai album for two reasons. First of all, because of the quality and the brilliance of the compositions. And secondly, for the simple fact that the artist will never make the same album twice. Here is a rare album that is part of the few works that really count in a life and that mark you forever.

More informations on

01. Liberty - 02:02
02. Erotic Nightmares - 04:13
03. The Animal - 03:55
04. Answers - 02:41
05. The Riddle - 06:22
06. Ballerina 12/24 - 01:45
07. For The Love Of God - 06:02
08. The Audience Is Listening - 05:30
09. I Would Love To - 03:40
10. Blue Powder - 04:44
11. Greasy Kid's Stuff - 02:57
12. Alien Water Kiss - 01:10
13. Sisters - 04:07
14. Love Secrets - 03:35

Bob Harris: Claviers
Chris Frazier: Batterie
David Rosenthal: Claviers
Jamie Firlotte (8): Chant
Nancy Fagan(8): Chant
Pia Vai (4): Claviers
Steve Vai: Chant / Guitares / Basse / Claviers / Batterie
Stu Hamm: Basse
Tris Imboden: Batterie
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