The last 15 years of guitar-based music, from grunge to nu-new wave to pop-punk to indie rock to grindcore to garage rock, have done wonders for the art of power chords and riffs.

The last 15 years of guitar-based music, from grunge to nu-new wave to pop-punk to indie rock to grindcore to garage rock, have done wonders for the art of power chords and riffs. Unfortunately, the time-honored craft of finger-tapping, or shredding, has since taken a back seat to simplicity. And while the birth of this leaner, meaner six-string landscape was a direct effect of the overindulgent grandosity of such arpeggiating wanksters as Reb Beach of Winger, White Lion's Vito Bratta and Yngwie Malmsteen, the fact that the core art of this most excellent strain of guitar wizardry has been wholly ignored by the younger generations outside the work of Buckethead is criminal to say the least.

Those of you young guitar students, however, who are looking for more of a challenge would be wise to discover this unsung masterpiece by Mr. Joe Satriani. Having taught the likes of Kirk Hammett, Steve Vai, Primus' Larry LaLonde and jazz virtuoso Charlie Hunter, Satch is essential the Yoda of post-'70s guitar heroes. And while his own career as a recording artist is paved with more cheese than gold, 1987's "Surfing With the Alien" painted an all-too-perfect portrait of exactly why guys like Hammett and Vai looked to him for proper schooling on their respective instrument.

This is 10 tracks of no-holds-barred instrumental guitar rock. Songs like the phenomenal title cut, "Ice 9" and "Satch Boogie" made kids go "Eddie Van Who?" back in 1987, many of whom picked up the album on sight of the killer Silver Surfer cover alone. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of "Alien," Legacy has given this most crucial classic a proper remake, remastering the original 10-track LP and adding a DVD of Satriani's performance at the 1988 Montreux Jazz Festival along with the videos for "Satch Boogie" and "Always With Me, Always With You."

Some more bonus tracks ("One Big Rush" from the "Say Anything" soundtrack in particular) would have been nice, but this wonderful package should have old shredheads air guitaring like they never took that old Ibanez shirt off their back. -- Ron Hart