Yngwie Malmsteen - Unleash The Fury - 2005 - Universal/Spitfire
1. Locked And Loaded 2. Revolution 3. Crackin’ The Whip 4. Winds of War (Invasion) 5. Crown Of Thorns 6. BogeyMan 7. Beauty And A Beast 8. Fuguetta (Instrumental) 9. Cherokee Warrior 10. Guardian Angel 11. Let The Good Times Roll 12. Revelation (Drinking With The Devil) 13. Magic And Mayhem 14. Exile 15. The Hunt 16. Russian Roulette 17. Unleash The Fury 18. Paraphrase
Those who frequent this page know that I was not very impressed with Yngwie Malmsteen’s last album, "Attack!!". As much as I have always admired the Swedish shredder’s work, that album suffered from a distinct lack of fresh inspiration, in my humble opinion. "Attack!!", in fact, confirmed for me the conviction long held by Yngwie’s detractors that the man had become a redundant artistic self-parody.
Thus it was with considerable trepidation that I removed the shrink wrap on the luxuriously packaged Japanese edition of "Unleash The Fury". And while I generally believe that old truism about judging a book (or CD) by its cover, the embossed sleeve and big fold-out booklet enclosed proved appropriate for this album, which I found surprisingly robust and satisfying. Sure, the speedy opening cut “Locked and Loaded” is pretty much devoid of finesse or dynamic, and Dougie White’s vocal style is once again ridiculously self-serious. And yes, “Revolution” is only somewhat better in this regard. But with eighteen tracks, clocking in at a generous 72 minutes, there is still plenty to chew on here, and much of the rest ranges from fine to delectable, thank you very much.
For those of you who love neoclassical metal guitar, but feel that Mr. Malmsteen has been stuck in a rut as of late, let me assure you that Yngwie and Co. use the album’s generous length to try on a few different hats, many of which fit quite comfortably. “Winds of War” is slow, majestic and elegant in the grand tradition of Rainbow, Silver Mountain and of course, Malmsteen himself. “Cracking The Whip” and the throbbing, bass-driven “The Bogeyman” are gloriously successful attempts at simple, hard groove-based rock, with deft fretwork throughout. “Magic and Mayhem” is an aptly titled and gloriously over the top instrumental workout in the tradition of Yngwie’s best shred-fests. At the other end of the spectrum, “Fuguetta” and the blandly-titled “Paraphrase” are superbly inspired variations on music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Yngwie even repeats one of the cooler moves from his last album by taking the mic for a nifty, traditional blues-based semi-ballad called “Cherokee Warrior.” As is often the case with long albums, there is unfortunately some filler, in the form of “Crown of Thorns” and “Beauty and the Beast.” But again, with so much music on offer, and so many different ideas being tried, there is thankfully plenty of stuff here that sticks.
It was with a heavy heart that I gave Malmsteen’s last effort a less than glowing review. So, while "Unleash The Fury" is not godlike, it is a vast improvement over "Attack!!" on almost all fronts, particularly songwriting and production. Maybe Yngwie realized in retrospect that all was not right with that unfortunate album- I don’t know. In any case, "Unleash The Fury" is a small, but significant and welcome step in the right direction. And while I don’t believe in rating based on song quantity, the generous helping of music enclosed, plus the enhanced CD portion (with lessons!) goes a long way toward assuring good value for money. On top of that, the album is finally available outside of Japan, with the worldwide release apparently including most of the same goodies. Treasure ahoy, shred heads!
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
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