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So-so - 75%

The_Ghoul, August 9th, 2008

Honestly, I expected more out of this. I was getting tired of listening to all of his post-magnum opus rock/metal albums (listen to Hangar 18 and then Crucify and tell me you can tell a difference) and I wanted to hear his more classical side.

The problem is, they're not much different. Sure, the medium might be different, as instead of a backing band, he has a symphony behind him. Unfortunately, he still treats it like a backing band. He uses the same tired phrasings he's done many times before and does the same tired lines that he's done many times before. I honestly love most of the material he made up to 1997, and after close examination, there's really nothing to like about the material made after that crucial date. This is no different; there's nothing to really hate about it, either, but no song stands out.

One thing I find distracting about this is that this is too free-form, wankish, and classical in format for the metalhead, but too simple and derivative for the classical music fan. Even being both (I listen to the local classical station as well as my collection of metal CD's), I still have a hard time listening to this. The thing is, when you attempt to make classical music, there's a whole different set of standards and judgments that you have to follow, and Yngwie is making a classical album with the mindset of a metalhead. So what if there are no rock drumbeats or typical rock formats and instrumentations, this is still a rock album, whether Yngwie's fat, bloated ego admits it or not. And when you judge it by the rubric that one judges rock albums by, this is a bland and forgettable rock album.

So when you get down to the nitty gritty, this attempts to be a classical album, but it's made with a rock-oriented mindset, and when judged as either a classical or rock album, it's mediocre. Would it be possible to judge it as both? Absolutely. But there's yet another different rubric to judge this by, and when taken into account, this is STILL mediocre. And this lays at the heart of the matter: it's attempting to be rock and classical, but instead of seamlessly blending the two and combining the best of both worlds, it just carelessly mashes the two genres together, ignoring good taste and inspired songwriting and crassly using it as an opportunity to show off how good he is at the guitar (as if we didn't already know.) When you want to make a good classical/rock album, what you do is write music that is BOTH rock and classical at the same time, instead of crudely laying rock guitar over classical music and hoping nobody will notice the conspicuous lack of inspiration. As such, this comes off as oil and water, a failed opportunity of sorts. I guess you could get this if you're a die hard malmsteen fan, but short of that, you could very well avoid this and be none the wiser. It's possible to combine rock/metal and classical, but Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E flat minor, Opus 1 falls well short of that goal, and at the end of the day, like I've said in previous reviews, this is Yngwie doing what Yngwie does, and he makes no effort to distinguish this from past efforts.