Joe Satriani always stood apart from the legions of guitar virtuosos who surfaced in the late '80s, largely because he had a sharper ear than his peers. He didn't limit himself to hard rock or heavy metal, preferring to draw in elements of pop and jazz as well. At his best, he stood head and shoulders above his peers, many of whom were his former students. However, his records were a little uneven, especially those featuring his vocals, and it seemed like he had painted himself into a corner by 1995's eponymous effort. Remarkably, moving to Epic revitalized his career. Recording wih longtime bassist Stuart Hamm and drummer Jeff Campitelli, Satriani turns in an all-instrumental record with Crystal Planet. It's an instrumental record with a difference, finding the guitarist taking more chances than ever. There are some familiar hard rock and ballad workouts, but what's astounding about the album is that it shows his technique continuing to develop and deepen, reaching into new, uncharted waters. It's his finest all-instrumental effort since Surfing With the Alien.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine