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Good album, fire the producer - 68%

The_Ghoul, January 28th, 2008

I find this album impossible to enjoy. It, like its follow up, The War to End All Wars, has some incredible songwriting and blazing neoclassical leads that rip your head off. It also reintroduces some fury into the Malmsteen sound. However, all of these accomplishments are null and void if the production doesn't allow us to hear it properly. The production here effectively ruins the music, pushing the lead guitar WAY out in front of everything else, and with a piss poor guitar tone too. The drums, like all albums after this, are muted and thin, and are in stark contrast to the thundrous boom of drummers like Mike Terrana, Anders Johansson, and even Bo Werner. Thank god the musicianship is still good (unlike the newest turd) and Mark Boals can sing.

This album is a turning point, because it marks a path that would eventually turn Malmsteen's great name into a joke. It started with this muddled production, (which contrasts to the crystal clear productions of albums Odyssey through Facing the Animal,) and then it eventually consumed the songwriting and performance, as Yngwie grew sloppier with each album, and his compositions became less and less memorable. Oh well. While not as stale and embarrassing as his newest efforts (with the horrid singer Doogie White), these two albums I sense are going to continue to be a fans-only affair, as they're not going to make new listeners. For that, you need his 80's Rising Force albums. Those were the real classics. This could've been a classic, too, if the production had been better. Given the direction that Yngwie chose to pursue with this album, it doesn't surprise me that Mark Boals left after the War To End All Wars.