Yngwie Malmsteen

YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN’S RISING FORCE – Spellbound

Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force - SpellboundBefore I write anything else, I must stress that I have always been a huge Yngwie Malmsteen fan. I always stood up for him when people around me told me that he was a bad songwriter, emotionless, dull and that his playing was all about technique. I still believe that albums like Rising Force, Marching Out, Trilogy, Odyssey, Eclipse and The Seventh Sign are brilliant pieces of music and only a tone-deaf person would state that his skills as a guitar player are anything but world-class. That said, Malmsteen has shown in recent years that something has gone terribly wrong. The last time Yngwie released anything worth while was back in 1999 and the very underrated album Alchemy. After that one everything has gone downhill fast with some very uneven albums and his last efforts have been more or less bad. CDs like Unleash The Fury, Perpetual Flame and Relentless have shown a Malmsteen that stopped developing and in best cases repeating himself and in worst cases stealing from himself or just rewriting old tunes. Also, the production on these albums is just horrible, making them sound both unfinished and un-produced. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that he just released his demos as a finished product….! And his new album is not an exception to the rule.

In fact, on this album thing has gone even further down the drain. Out of the 13 songs we’re given here, only three have vocals on them, leaving the rest 10 songs as instrumentals. Not that that is a bad idea itself, his debut Rising Force was an almost all instrumental album and that one was great, but since Yngwie doesn’t show any signs on moving forward at all, I would go as far as calling this album unnecessary. I mean, who in their right mind would listen to this when you could pick up his debut? He also has ditched the idea of working with a drummer as this album (and other albums before this as well) only contains programmed drums, which is too bad as the programming isn’t that well done, everyone can hear the use of machines here. Yngwie’s latest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex Judas Priest, ex Iced Earth) seems to have gotten the boot (or maybe he left) and Yngwie hasn’t even bothered to recruit a new singer, he simply sings on the three vocal tracks himself. If you can call what he does behind the mike singing. Yngwie can’t sing to save his life. Yngwie can still play the guitar like a mother f**ker, but he simply can’t sing!

But funnily enough, the album starts out really good, the opening title track is actually a great tune, but sadly it ends there. The rest of the instrumentals go from ok to boring. The three vocal tracks aren’t exactly bad, but they are complete trivialities. “Repent” is a real dull one that would get its ass kicked by even the worst tracks of Yngwie’s heyday, “Let’s Sleeping Dog Lie” is a Yngwie blues, an ok song and “Poisoned Mind” goes in one ear, out the other. Do I need to write that the production is a mess on this album as well? Ok, then, it’s a mess.

It truly breaks my heart to once again have to write off a Yngwie Malmsteen album, but this is just too bad. Does he even listen to his music before releasing it? Sounds harsh, but lately it seems like quantity is more important to him than quality. The truth is, Yngwie needs a producer and he need to start listening to other people than himself. He is also in need of an equal song writing partner and he really, really needs to reinvent his song writing. Unfortunately I don’t think that will ever happen and that is a crying shame. For every release I have been hoping that Yngwie would give us an album that would prove everybody wrong and blow us away like he used to, but for me it ends here. I give up! I have to realise that the days when Yngwie was inventive, exciting and always striving to move forward are long gone. Now where did I put my copy of Facing The Animal…?

Jon Wilmenius (2/10)

Tracklist:

01. Spellbound
02. High Compression Figure
03. Let’s Sleeping Dog Lie
04. Repent
05. Majestic 12 Suite 1,2 & 3
06. Electric Duet
07. Nasca Lines
08. Poisoned Mind
09. God Of War
10. Iron Blues
11. Turbo Amadeus
12. From A Thousand Cuts
13. Requiem For The Lost

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2 comments on “YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN’S RISING FORCE – Spellbound

  1. From what I read, I think Ripper was busy with Dio Disciples.

    Nice review. Always good to know what albums NOT to spend money on. I haven’t purchased an Yngwie disc since Inspiration, which I think was 1996. At least you’ve given me some ideas on some I may have missed.

  2. I recommend you give Facing The Animal a spin. It features Swedish singer Mats Levén, easily the best vocalist he has ever recorded with. Also, Alchemy is a real killer that you might wanna give a go.

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