Out Now: Take a Ride with Steve Vai on ‘Inviolate,’ the Guitar Wizard’s New Studio Record


Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Guitar icon Steve Vai recently announced he had to postpone the start of his 2022 tour to the fall due to a surgical procedure, but that setback didn’t affect the release of Inviolate, Vai’s first studio album since 2016’s Modern Primitive and his 10th solo album overall.

The record was unleashed today, Jan. 28, via digital streaming platforms and on CD, with a vinyl edition coming later in the year.

Click here to pick up Inviolate on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Inviolate on LP from our Rock Cellar Store (Release date: March 18)

Vai previewed the record in recent weeks with a few tracks, and each promised one thing: Inviolate would be a wild ride of guitar precision from the championed axe man. Take “Teeth of the Hydra,” the album’s opening number, for example:

That song, by the way, features Vai using an especially creative guitar, which he refers to as the “Hydra.”

Built in conjunction with the designers at Hoshino and based on a “steampunk motif” idea of Vai’s, the Hydra is a beast of an instrument – a one-bodied, two-headstock-ed, three-neck-ed creature that encompasses, among other things: 7 and 12-string guitars; a 4-string ¾ scale length bass; 13 sympathetic harp strings; half-fretless necks; single-coil, humbucking, piezo, MIDI and sustainer pickups; floating and hardtail tremolo bridges; phase splitters; and much, much more.

Take a look at this thing:

Said Steve Vai of that creation:

“It’s an incredibly-built machine. I told the guys at Hoshino, ‘Anything that you think is conventional, don’t do that.’ This was an opportunity to exercise brutal creativity. And they went beyond.” As did Vai in his performance. Throughout the track he employs the Hydra’s full range of tone and timbres to craft a guitar part that sounds, in its expansiveness and expressiveness, positively alive. “The interesting thing about the song and the guitar is that it all came at the same time,” Vai says. “It was one of those ‘inviolate’ inspirations – boom! I knew that I needed to create something with the Hydra that sounded like a real piece of music. It couldn’t be just a novelty. Because if you knew what my hands were doing, and how I’m using my left hand to create phrasings that work when I can’t pick a note because my right hand is off somewhere else…my god. But the finished piece had to stand on its own. It couldn’t sound like I was just trying to juggle stuff.”

This is the sort of guitar wizardry on display throughout Inviolate, an ultimate showcase of Vai’s top-tier talents, the very skill set that has made him a living legend among the guitar scene.

But enough words. Listen to the record below and take a trip.



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