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A Strong Followup - 95%

corviderrant, April 3rd, 2004

To my surprise, when I bought it, this was primarily a vocal album, but I was thrilled to see that the awesome singer who appeared on Yngwie's classic first album, Jeff Scott Soto, was on this album. This album, in fact, got lots of airplay on the college radio metal I was listening to at the time (mid-80s), and made me want it even more since the songs were stronger and more fully-realized on this album.

The production is pretty much classic mid-80s style; big, booming drums and ambient guitars, and the vocal is king. But it works for Yngwie's bold and dramatic style of writing, and the following are my fave tunes on the album:

"I'll See The Light, Tonight"--Yikes! That gripping opening riff and the intense opening howl from Jeff signals the beginning of a real rollercoaster ride of a tune. One of Yngwie's best riffs on the chorus, simple as it is, and chorus in question is sooooo catchy, and made even better by Soto's deep, masculine wailing. And whatta solo! One of his best in that realm as well.

"Don't Let It End": A fabulous performance from Soto on this tune, emotional and convincing, matched by Malmsteen's work of course. Another catchy number for sure.

"Disciples of Hell": The first goofy set of "metal" lyrics on the album, and while the chorus lyrics are silly in particular ("Nobody knows who's Disciples of Hell/Father's a priest, and he's casting a spell"), Ybgwie makes up for it with his usual fine standard of playing and Jeff even manages to make the chorus sound meaningful with his passionate vocal deilvery.

"I Am A Viking": More goofy metal lyrics a la Manowar (only Manowar were first and better at it--and they're American!) , but damned if this isn't a right little crusher. Killer chorus, with its singalong feel. "Dragon ships are charging through the waves/Just want to sail away, far away, into the sea, YEEE-AAAAHHHHHH!!!!"

"Anguish and Fear": Great opening riff that precedes the verses as well, a nice classical-sounding part with a tricky-sounding unison guitar and keyboards bit. Another excellent chorus from Meister Soto!

"On The Run Again": Yet more excellent vocals and playing, just a standout tune for me in the first place.

"Marching Out": The only other instrumental on the album, and a beauty it is. It has some of Yngwie's most tender and emotional playing in the beginning and it builds to full shred mode in a plausible manner, with dynamics and taste. The latter is not normally something you'd associate with him, but Yngwie indeed demonstrates considerable taste and restraint on this song.

This was the last really good album he made before he started, well, repeating himself and writing the same stuff over and over. And he ran Jeff out of the band to be replaced by the annoying Mark Boals--bad move! But I still love this album to this day, and my worn vinyl copy still has a prominent position in my collection alongside his debut.