Song premiere: Steve Vai unleashes Velorum

An epic journey of self-discovery, this seven-string workout par excellence

Steve Vai scores an epic victory on Velorum, from the upcoming The Story Of Light. © Larry DiMarzio

Next week, on 14 August, master guitarist Steve Vai releases The Story Of Light, his first studio solo album since 2005's Real Illusions: Reflections. It is the second installment in the Real Illusions trilogy, an epic conceptional narrative (or "rock fable," as Vai calls it) that concerns self-realization, spiritual renewal and redemption - answers that are revealed as characters gaze into a reflecting pond that holds magical powers.

Scientific truths and existentialism collide in the story of Velorum, and as a piece of music it's no less complex. But the beauty of Vai - a musician so keyed into his emotions that his feelings literally leap from his skin - is how he can unravel elusive, heady and metaphysical conceits and render them with sweeping, palpable urgency and body-rocking punch. For guitar fans, Velorum is six minutes of sustained bliss: smoldering riffage, hauntingly beautiful melodies and cloudbursts of overwhelming, rapturous fretboard virtuosity. Vai is hopped up by the hot spiel in his blood, and his frenzy is downright contagious here.

Be sure to read our recent interview with Vai, in which he walks us through The Story Of Light track by track. And for even more Vai goodness, the guitar king discusses his solo studio recordings, from Flex-Able right on through The Story Of Light.

You can pre-order The Story Of Light and special, limited-edition items from www.vai.com.

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