September 29, 2021, 2 months ago

(Music Theories Recordings)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.0

review riff notes yngwie malmsteen


Yngwie lovers rejoice, his latest opus jumps right into the deep end of the pool, laying down a speedy, trademark neo-classical flourish (initially set on repeat) for more than a minute of "Wolves At The Door" opener. No pretext or foreplay, just right to the act! It is not an instrumental though, the Swede (sparingly) adds his voice atop the remaining three-quarters of said track, which incorporates some familiar symphonic work, adopted to the guitar. Honestly, the track feels like some of his best ‘80s material. "Presto Vivace in C# minor" follows, with little let-up in the riffing notes-per-second stakes, accompanied by a thumping drum/bass beat. 

"Relentless Fury" begins as a full band sound, complete with vocals, plus a mid-tempo guitar break midway through. Dare I say it sounds like an older Alcatrazz number, in that it shrouds a knowingly talented player, given only moments to glimpse his handiwork.

Alternating between song and showcase, another blazer, "(Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum", essentially the title track, is up next: a complex twist of seemingly endless arpeggios and hammering drums. Knew it was bound to surface sooner or later (given the consistent dose of speed unleashed thus far), but "Eternal Bliss", halfway through the running order, is the first attempt at a ballad. Restrained and played fairly straight, it's not recognizable as Malmsteen, the only "ego section" is an acoustic coda, come the final few seconds. "Toccata" (3:16) sees the engine revving, full-out, once more: at times, double tracked, twin leads. Initially more pizzicato than rapid strumming, the "God Particle", a second instrumental in succession, hails a sporadic rainfall of acoustic notes, eventually morphing into traditional Yngwie sweeps, albeit of the low intensity variety.

A third voiceless cut in-a-row, "Magic Bullet", as the name implies, is rapid firing fretboards. Acoustic guitar returns, to introduce "(Fight) The Good Fight", an otherwise electric, mid-paced, rumbling bumble bee, fist pumper. Plenty of room to strut his stuff, the titular chorus should make it an easy, in-concert sing-along. A heavier, steady drizzle of acoustic rainfall greets the eight minute "Sea Of Tranquility" finale. Ultimately an indulgent, fleet-fingered rollercoaster ride up and down the scales. Interestingly, it fades out, sort of like Yngwie didn't want to stop, but the album had to end. No matter: Final tally: 1 ballad, 3 additional songs, 6 instrumentals.

Available from the Mascot Music sub-label, there's also a limited edition box set. While not providing any additional music, it does offer a trio of picks, a couple of beer mats/coasters, a postcard and sticker.

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