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I have been thinking to do this for a long time and I have read the previous reviews for this album. This was in fact my second album from the Mr. Ego himself. At first I was quite impressed but once I started to dig deeper into Malmsteem’s back catalogue I became absolute bored of this album. It is not anymore in my collection shelf and in the end I am writing this review because I want to say something about it but be fair enough with it as a metal album. I want to cast out my demons and piss off a friend of mine who is nothing but a close minded sodo-wanker moron-in-love guitar player whose suffocation with Yngwie’s pestilence stinks’ every time I am around him. He is a good guy but his excruciating blindness with Yngwie made me hate the guitar hero. As of today I vomit this neoclassical genre because of the overwhelming fingers stunts at warp speed and because of assholes like my friend.
So, being as objective as I can I must say this album has some good songs (3 or 4 top), plenty of good heavy metal all over referring to those songs. There are some serious kicking ass riffs in ‘Leonardo’, ‘Legion of the damned’, and ‘Playing with fire’. That does not mean they are fast because they are not. They are solid and make the songs interesting. Of course the instrumental is what drags this album to shit. Why? Simply: as with ALL Yngwie’s albums he repeats the same shit over and over, on and on to boredom. My asshole guitar friend says he can truly appreciate each album because he distinguishes all different things the guy plays (I say masturbates) on the fretboard. That is of course the mind numb of a copycat guitar worshipper.
Mark Boals does a good job in the vocal department and I really like him. His high pitch is actually really cool and his voice fits the song really cool although in some instances the riffs are a little heavier for his melodic voice (i.e. Legion of the damned).
There is nothing to say bad about the guitar solos. We all know they kick ass and taking into account just the intro for ‘Playing with fire’ well, you can certainly be impressed and enjoy it every single time you listen to this song.
The problems arise just passing this. 1. Take for instance the instrumental ‘Blue’ where Mr. Neoclassical father plays blues. Ok, so far so good, but once you analyze the song you realize immediately that he plays the same thing, the same notes, the same pattern throughout the entire song. This of course made me nauseous by the third time I listened to it. Then I realized listening to more of his albums that he does this hundreds of times through the album, album after album. Thus, this is the perfect opportunity to state: ‘Hey pity learners, I am the guitar god and I am going to show you how fast I can play and technical skills I have, even thou I cannot even write an interesting solo of 3 minutes because, well, I can only play fast’’. That my friends is what Yngwie is all about.
2. This is also the main reason why shredding metal stays reserved only in the underground metal world for guitar players. I am sure Yngwie did not plan to be reserved only for guitar players and he wanted to have success (which he accomplished with his first 3 or 4 albums), otherwise his albums would not be found on regular music stores these days.
3. The difference between being objective about an artist and being a moron who thinks he is the guitar god just because he masturbates the guitar on each album and ‘think’ every album is different is that you can identify a good song writer whenever you see it and certainly this guy is not a good song writer. This is, to put it simple: fucking boring crap by all means.
4. This is the other freaking reason he is no longer a driving force in the metal community. Him burnout with around 3 albums and got out of ideas, and I mean interesting ideas. He can still write good songs but he thinks playing at warp speed makes an album cool. No my friends, that is just playing boring show off that could last for a couple of minutes before you take the damned cd out of the player. Filling in every single inch of space with guitar solos does not make you a good musician; on the contrary, it demonstrates your lack of ability to compose a good song. It doesn’t matter how much classical music you are into, know of or can translate into an electric guitar.
So, I am giving a 50 score because of 10 points for 3 or 4 songs we have that are cool although not heavy metal anthems and the rest of the points because of Mark Boals job on the vocals. The production is, as you have come to expect, not crystal clear (even though this was put out in 1999) but listening to the last album ‘Perpetual flame’ I have come to realize that Yngwie cannot get a decent sound as of today because, well, he thinks that playing fast and putting current famous singers (poor Ripper Owens who felt into Yngwie’s trap) will make a good album. But since this is about Alchemy it sounds good yet not stellar. The curtains have fallen and thank the gods of alchemy, this fucking crap show off is end. I think I’ll go to listen to Petrucci, Satriani or Tony Hernando who are by far good song writers, now that it is interesting. I played with fire and I got burned with this artist.