Steve Vai: Real Illusions



finally, a new studio album by Commander Vai. it's good to know Vai retained most of his Live in London Astoria line-up, but there's a new drummer on-board...

if this is your first Vai experience, your jaw will drop after hearing the commander's unbelieveable technical capacity. however, although a new offering is in store, much of the materials in here sound jaded.

the album opener will leave you awestruck. this instrumental has an incredible synth/ guitar doubling this side of Dream Theater. i'm not too keen with the tracks involving vocals. yes, Vai's vox is more than decent but they aren't captivating to say the least. nevertheless, it's good to hear peculiar guitar blips & squeaks which are signature Vai peculiarities peppered all over this release. there is also much more dabbling in synth, sitar & accoustic tones this time round.

after listening to this album 3 times, i'd say that this offering saw Vai having no obligations to over-dwell on shred. there were lush moments when passages were stretched to good measures. but all the technical intricacies are still present in this album, further stamping his status as an undisputed guitar authority. the guitar tones on offer here are very polished, i hear lots of Breed tones in action- that's the new Bad Horsie JEM maybe? however, the low notes aren't as well captured on record IMO, they are more fuzzed out rather than being sweetly driven. 8)
+1 regarding the vocals...he should try singing less often.
and it's always disconcerting to hear Mr. Vai do a beat-box.

but track 7! oh my god that's a killer.
and I would still recommend Passion & Warfare for beginners to Vai.

I thought the Anthology album would be a better choice for starters.

Anyway i got the cd few days after it landed on SG shores. And i really like it. I really think track 8, Yai Yai is cute :D
these are Gramophone outlets you can check out:

*Capitol (city hall)
*Phoenix Hotel (Somerset)
*Paragon (basement, next to M1 shop)
*Raffles Place
This album is stuck in my car's cd player and I've listened to it over n over with most Vai and Dream Theater albums...still haven't got sick of it yet..Building The Church is still my fave track..some heavy rhythm shit man..
I love his tone on this album... Like what Subversion said, it sounds like he's using the Breeds a lot and I'm a sucker for fat, vintage tone... :)

And he has that wonderful, sweet phrasing...

I don't think Mr Vai has a bad voice... he does sound better than Joe and IMO, I prefer his voice to Malmsteem's on the G3. He might not have the vocal range but he sure knows how to hit a tune in a different way... just check out the last track's chorus. And really, when he did the beatbox, that was just wacked! Wonder how he'd pull it off live. Hehe...
I don't think Mr Vai has a bad voice... .

His voice is pretty decent, but as always, i would have preferred if the album was solely instrumental. A little sidetrack here, Vai certainly does sound better than Satriani in terms of vocal quality. But i like Malmsteen's too, very nice match with old classic songs.
Try Paul Gilbert's singing. The guitarist whom I've heard sing and think should stick to guitar playing is...


Andy Timmons.

Not that his singing sucks, but it just doesn't quite cut it.

I think Vai made a right choice in doing vocals. You see, Vai has a history of doing the unexpected. So this fits right in.
i think vai's voice always suits the song where the song benefits from his singing...
his compositions such as "under it all" and "dyin for your love" from real illusions show much more than his guitar playing..

and of course the song "yai yai" :p
I have a feeling Yai Yai was played using an Autowah, to get that effect, plus of cos all that heavy effect processing Vaiyen mentioned.