YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - Unleash The Fury - 2005 - Steamhammer
1. Locked And Loaded 2. Revolution 3. Cracking The Whip 4. Winds Of War 5. Crown Of Thorns 6. The Bogey Man 7. Beauty & A Beast 8. Fuguetta (Instr.) 9.Cherokee Warrior 10. Guardian Angel (Instr.) 11. Let The Good Times Roll 12. Revelation 13. Magic And Mayhem (Instr.) 14. Exile 15. The Hunt 16. Russian Roulette 17. Unleash The Fury 18. Paraphrase (Instr.)
I always regarded the music of Yngwie Malmsteen as the perfect fusion between classical and rock music. While others had already experimented with this concept before him, Yngwie spawned a whole new legion of neo-classical musicians and fans.
I'm thus quite proud of my Yngwie record collection, which kicks off with the Steeler L.P. of 1983. The truth is, alas, that album after album he seemed so unwilling to elaborate on his trademark guitar-sound. At times he seriously risked losing the interest of fans - metaphorically speaking, it was as if he had wounded himself by his own sword.
The new album, called "Unleash The Fury" (Yngwie's 16th solo album, not considering anthologies or tributes), succeeds his previous album ("Attack") and contains no less than 18 tracks. For sure no-one can complain of the Swede's lack of productivity. Well, in spite of what I've said above, I confidently feel that "Unleash The Fury" is an improvement from his last 3 or 4 albums. The production and overall feel strongly reminds me of "Trilogy" (1986) - which in my opinion continues to be one of Yngwie's best releases. But let's take a closer look at this album's traits.....
In 'The Bogey Man', 'Revelation' and 'Let The Good Times Roll' Yngwie tries to contain his high-speed legato solos by featuring a good dose of riffs.
In particular 'Revelation', with its dragging but catchy riffs and sombre lyrics, goes vaguely close to doom territory. At the same time, this song seems to be taken out of the aforementioned "Trilogy".
'Cherokee Warrior' is musically another cool song and sounds different. There's just one aspect of this song I didn't quite digest - but more about it later on.
'Guardian Angel' is a great instrumental ballad - one of the album's highlights in fact. Try imagining the melody of 'Crying' (from "Trilogy") and the melancholy of 'Save Our Love' (from 1990's "Eclipse"). Then complement some magic keyboard sounds courtesy of Joakin Svalberg - and you should get the overall picture of this song.
'Russian Roulette' is probably the magnum opus of vocalist Dougie White, at least as regards his recordings with Yngwie.
Other tracks I haven't singled out are fairly standard Yngwie material.
Regarding the other band members, well Yngwie is always known to have recorded with high-class, talented musicians and "UTF" is definitely no exception.
A few minor gripes: 1) I can't understand why Yngwie insists on singing on 1 or 2 tracks in several albums of his including this one (check out 'Cherokee Warrior'). Uli Jon Roth and Jimi Hendrix - 2 of Yngwie's idols - are/were terrible vocalists just as they remain brilliant guitarists, so he should have learnt the lesson by now; 2) the sleeve of "UTF" is not one of the most exciting I've ever seen.
I keep noticing that Yngwie has developed a 'habit' of snatching up ex-members of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow....vocalists Graham Bonnett [in Yngwie's late 1980's band Alcatrazz] and Joe Lynn Turner [in the album "Odyssey"], drummer Cozy Powell [in "Facing The Animal"]. More recently "Unleash The Fury" and "Attack" feature the lead voice of Dougie White, the last vocalist to sing with Rainbow before Blackmore went at a tangent to Rock music with his Blackmore's Night.
Although "UTF" is quite long and the songs quite diverse, it doesn't sound disjointed. Quite a few tracks in "UTF" would adapt quite well to a more liberal use of orchestral sounds. Ultimately "Unleash The Fury" is a return to good form of the Swedish maestro. Love him or hate him, this album should perpetuate his myth.