Some artists need no introduction, whether due to their prodigious talent or larger than life personality. There are a rare handful who have defined their genre for years, if not decades, and blazed a trail for others to follow. Yngwie Malmsteen is just such a guitarist.
Yngwie Malmsteen – Parabellum (Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Kahmel Farahani
Defined by his now-famous quote that “more is more” when it comes to guitar, he is the ultimate polarizing figure in the guitar-playing world. Now the maestro has returned with a rather brilliant new album.
While his last album, 2019s blues flavoured Blue Lightning, may have left some diehard fans wanting more, Parabellum sees a real return to form and arguably the closest Yngwie has come to his classic mid 80s output.
Yngwie told MetalTalk this was a natural process for him. “It was completely natural,” he said. “The thing is, the last album was kind of bluesy, and that was on purpose, but I never meant to divert from my true self. This is maybe the purest record I’ve done since I can remember.
“Even on my early albums, I did compromise. I did consider airplay and what other people thought and so on. On Parabellum, I didn’t consider any of those things. It just came naturally. It’s more like the way I played when I was 17 – just making the best music I could make.”
The album opens with the furious shredding of Wolves At The Door, which sets the pace for the rest of the album.
It should also be noted how strong Yngwie sounds singing the track. It is followed by the virtuoso show-stopper of the album, Presto Vivace in C# minor. A track that could come from no other guitarist feels almost like a successor to Far Beyond The Sun as the ultimate shredding instrumental.
Relentless Fury does exactly what it says on the tin. A brooding, mid-tempo track with another lightning-fast solo, it doesn’t disappoint. The album’s title track (Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum is another highlight. While this style of music is certainly not for everyone, it is impossible to deny the almost surreal level of talent on display here.
Yngwie told MetalTalk that there were no concessions given when it came to writing and recording this new material either. “A lot of times in the past, I’d do records with riffy stuff, that would be accessible, and that’s not hard to play,” he said. “But to do stuff like Parabellum or Toccata from this new record, that is extremely difficult to play, so I guess I pushed myself even more. The way I see it, music has to be a natural thing, so when something comes to me that’s challenging, I find it interesting to go there”.
It could be argued that the album does lack some variety in its makeup, and only a true diehard fan or maniacally dedicated guitarist would sit through the whole thing in one session.
On the other hand, when your musical style is as identifiable as Motörhead or AC/DC, it’s hard to criticize a lack of change.
The album finishes with the stunning classical guitar workout Sea Of Tranquility. With its orchestral wall of guitars and lengthy solos, it sounds bombastic enough to soundtrack the most epic of final boss fights.
With Parabellum, Yngwie Malmsteen has delivered one of his strongest records in years and, indeed, one of his best full stop.
Parabellum is available on CD, Red Transparent LP and digitally and can be ordered from http://smarturl.it/Yngwie_Malmsteen