A review from sting-ray has been overdue, so here we go. I'll try to keep it short.
Yngwie Malmsteen and Derek Sherinian cross-collaborated on each other's latest solo albums (Attack!! and Black Utopia). The album was recorded and mixed from April 2002 to June 2002 in Miami, Florida. It was then released in early 2003.
Yngwie Malmsteen said in an interview with GW that music nowadays lacks melody. Yngwie is here to change that.
Fast Facts About Yngwie
Lars Johann Yngwie Lannerback was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on the last day of June, 1963.
Yngwie's parents divorced shortly after Yngwie was born
At age 10, Yngwie adopted his mother's maiden name: Malmsteen
Yngwie officially "broke through" in 1983
Malmsteen's first solo album "Rising Force" made it to #80 on the billboard charts
The Lineup Yngwie Malmsteen - lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, bass, fretless bass, synthesizer guitars, sitar, cello, keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Freedom isn't Free" Dougie White - vocals Derek Sherinian - keyboards Patrick Johansson - drums
Razor Eater:(3:27) - The perfect opening song. Yngwie wastes no time; the album kicks off with Yngwie shredding. This songs transmits a great deal of energy to the listener. The lyrics, guitars, and drums blend perfectly together.
Valley of Kings:(5:44) - After a slow, erie start, the song quickly loses these properties. It becomes more of an emotional song with Yngwie taking a significant portion of the track to showboat. Consistancy in mood may lack, but its a very nice song.
Ship of Fools:(4:16) - Great song. The intro is very well composed. The consistancy with mood and melody is present and well. This is yet another fast-paced song. This is also one of the fewer songs on this album that has the rhythm parts almost as attractive as the lead parts.
Attack!!:(4:25) - Can you say speed? The speed of the song is amazing, yngwie shredding, patrick tearing up the skins. With rather agressive lyrics as "you must die now" this song is bound to supercharge you for the day.
Baroque & Roll:(5:56) - Although this is an instrumental, you feel no loss. You'll probably buy this album to hear Yngwie anyway. You can sense a hint of baroque in this track as well as the occasional power chords. A nice song to listen to once in a while.
Stronghold:(4:17) - This is one of my favourite songs on this album. You get great lyrics, drums are nice and easy (for once!), and Yngwie really focusses on the rhythm parts. Its a good catchy song, one of the few songs that would be instantly liked throughout the song.
Majestic Blue:(6:03) - A break is surely needed after listening to over 40 minutes of shredding. This is a beautiful song; the melody is very soothing. This is ideal to listen to when trying to relax.
Valhalla:(6:45) - This is also one of the tracks that catches your attention quickly. The song kicks off with the sound of thunder and shoots into a cool riff. The vocals in this track are very well done. There are also 2 great solos that fit in perfectly, both in the second half of the song.
Battlefield:(3:27) - This is an awesome track. If you haven't heard of Yngwie's earlier stuff, this song is a good sample. No time is wasted before you get some nice, melodic, neoclassical riffs. This song has some catchy parts to it, and is one of the better songs on the album.
Dreaming [live]:(9:17) - It starts with the crowd chanting "YNGWIE!, YNGWIE!" which is bound to send chills down your spine. Then Yngwie starts playing sitar. Very cool sounding; he starts off slow and dull with a single note per second and builds from there. It takes a long time to take off, but once the vocals kick in, its just the icing on the cake on an amazing song. The verses get quite emotional, and Yngwie knows exactly how to match it. If not the best, this is surely one of the best songs on the album.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Album
- The overall sound of the album is very good
- Yngwie's guitar playing is flawless
- The vocals and lyrics are strong
- Recommended for metal fans
- If you don't like one song, chances are that you wont like the rest
- Not much variety in sound and structure; most of the songs are fast-paced with Yngwie shredding every other minute.
- It really starts to break you down if you listen to the album for too long
Well........ I mean the songs themselves are good. The vocals are pretty good. I was just looking for some good instrumental stuff, and this album really didnt deliver that. I do enjoy listening to it though.