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A Must Have - 94%

KingMoo, February 27th, 2005

With the exceptions of perhaps Teaser, this is another Yngwie epic, but I shall go into that later, so lets begin.

Perpetual, track one, is without doubt the best instrumental of Yngwie's career, to best describe it would take too long so I will attempt to sum up the track within a few sentences. If you liked Black Star, imagine something around 20 times better, with 20 times more effort put into it. Perpetual has so many layers I still doubt if I have heard them all yet, from the clockwork chimes to the relentless & to die for riff, Perpetual shreds through with it's Black Star style note bending and dies out fulfilling it's own title to create the imagery of living forever.

Dragonfly kicks in with a bluesy intro very very similar to Bedroom Eyes from this album's predicessor. But somehow, this track is alot better than Bedroom Eyes, it feels less empty and you can feel the atomosphere which is to enter the album soon being built up around the chorus. An uplifting song but after track one, you are left with the feeling that this album may be heading in the downwards direction Eclipse went after track one.

This feeling is unfortunately not destroyed as Teaser kicks in. I don't want to totally knock this track because it's catchy but it just isnt Yngwie, it's not rock its not classical and in no way is it anything in comparison to track one. It sound's like some sort of glam rock release which would gain radio airtime at christmas (which apparently was Yngwie's aim here). If he had made a separate album and put tracks such as Bedroom Eyes and Teaser on alongside more similar styles I probably wouldnt have minded so much and seen it as Yngwie trying something new (which I have nothing against whatsoever). But tracks like this on an album with the world's best front cover (bar 'Trilogy' of course) and such an atmospheric introduction track just shouldnt have this sort of stuff anywhere at all.

How Many Miles To Babylon? Not sure, but that isnt the point. This track, it's instrumental epic genius and it's metaphorical lyrics line it up on the same scale as track one. Lolo Lannerback plays flute in the long instrumental introduction which is perfectly relaxing to say the least, until the church organ explosion into the main riff lets us know this track is the business. Goran Edman's vocals can be tedius at points and I tend to cringe as he makes an indescribable strange noise on the higher notes with in my opinion too much vibrato, but it still suits the track very well in other manners such as is perfectly in tune smooth tone. The Epic song of this album, How Many Miles To Babylon is as complex as it is relaxing.

Cry No More is to me a filler track, but it still carrys on the atmospheric feel and has a pretty nice riff to go along with it. Goran is clearly more relaxed and confident in this album than Eclipse and this track does well to prove it as he seems to enjoy himself and add his own emotion to the track. It is simplistic and although I would call it a filler track, its a damn good one at that.

I think that this track could have been produced better to give the effect Yngwie was searching for (which he easily finds on his album Alchemy from 1999). Its a fast metal track carrying the same atmosphere, here created by the keyboards as the guitar tends to concentrate on the speeding metal more. Now, I have searched the booklet all over (and maybe I'm stupid) but I cannot find anywhere stating the interlude is by J.S. Bach, because to my own knowledge it is a short suite from his Brandenburg Concertos (my knowledge of classical music not brilliant), and Yngwie still includes ''All Compositions By Yngwie Malmsteen'' in the booklet which I find rather amusing. A good track which I enjoy to listen to, but perhaps with a better mix this track could have been a true headbanger.

I purchased The Seventh Sign and Magnum Opus before this album so I had beleived that Pyramid of Cheops from The Seventh Sign had introduced us to Yngwie the sitar player and this had continued into Time Will Tell from Magnum Opus. But of course I have just discovered I am incorrect upon my purchase of this album, C'est La Vie opens with the sitar and is continued throughout parts of the track here and there. Edman is at his best in this track, fantastic ranges and shows off how quickly and brilliantly he can switch between keys and the speed he switches between even separate notes with his vocal chords often rivals Mr Malmsteen's guitar abilities.

Leviathan is another strong instrumental, the riff is again fantastic and the emotion involved is brilliant, I do however feel that this track could have been better named. It feels more like 'Marching On' if you will excuse the slight pun those of you familiar with 'Marching Out'. It feels more like an adreniline raising pre-war song to me. But still, title aside, this track is fantastic is does very well to keep flowing the atmosphere, with Yngwie introducing a dirty tone at points. Extra Note - I like this short flick to blues at the end of the solo - works quite well considering the next track is a brilliant blues scaled song.

Fire & Ice, the title track and what a track it is. Opening with a long stream of arpeggios and reaching the blues riff. Now despite this being a blues track which I sort of ditched earlier, Fire and Ice still maintains this brilliant feel the album creates. There can't be a person who doesnt sing along to the chorus, it is so drenched in blues and enjoyable to sing. The solo brings us closer to Yngwie's natural style and is as every other track basically ass kickingly brilliant. An allround gorgeous track with a really cool name.

Forever is a long time begins what is my opinion is a 3 track filler section. Three tracks in a row which I always skip because I'd rather here Golden Dawn which lasts 1 minute if this tells you how I feel about it. Yes they maintain the feeling of the album but no they don't have that extra boost that makes tracks such as Fire & Ice and How Many Miles to Babylon so great, so in saying this I am going to miss out reviewing the following tracks:
Forever is a Long Time, I'm My Own Enemy, All I Want Is Everything.

Golden Dawn in contrast to the last three tracks is a gorgeous acoustic track, very short but perhaps had it lasted longer woudlnt have had the same effect as it has at its short length. It's very baroquey, if that is even a word, reminding me slightly of music from the reign of King Henry 8th of England.

Final Curtain is a fantastic epic track with severe use of a string section to emphasise the 'The End is Nigh' feeling to the track. It sums up feelings of desperation, seriously aided by the brilliant vocals of Goran Edman. Mats Ollaussen's keyboards are vital in this track and create the explosion of the atmosphere which I have referred to so often. You really feel as if this is what the album has been building up to. A great end to a great album.

And Thankyou for taking the time to read this.