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Since Yngwie Malmsteen released Attack!! in 2002 and proved he was on
the right track to improving his music and returning to his former glory, I have eagerly awaited what we now know to be called 'Unleash The Fury'. Whether or not the title is a humorous reference to the incident so often brought up is irrelevant, the point is Yngwie Malmsteen has indeed returned and with Fury.
Yes okay, I was so eager I purchased the Japanese release and will also be purchasing the British release when it is finally out, sad maybe, but since this exciting revival in 2002 I have been bursting with anticipation to hear what the maestro of neoclassical metal was to present us with next. And what we are presented with enters Lockedand Loaded. A typical metal track which, while still signature Yngwie, left an unsure feeling in my mind by its demise, was Yngwie heading down the track of War To End All Wars? Substituting music and melody for heavy drums and over hyped metal? Such thoughts escaped my mind after literally the first few seconds of track two, Revolution.
This to me is where the album finally sets in, Malmsteen to me has always been the best at conjuring feelings of 'desperation' throughout his music which to me makes a metal track, and he sticks to this feeling through the majority of the album. Revolution's solo is amongst the best in Malmsteen's career, so brilliantly melodic, shifting through scales easily and with such speed it leaves a smile upon your face at just how delicately placed some melodies are within his solos which perhaps have gone amiss in the past, this incredible improvement in soloing is continued throughout the album.
When Cracking The Whip's riff kicked in I could do nothing more than turn up the volume and sit back in awe. Of course now head banging is clearly in order now that such a beast of a riff has impressed me for a good few weeks. The chorus to this track is coolly presented by the voice of Yngwie himself, and suits the riff in a rough manner which I think Dougie White's vocals would not do to such an extent. Not to take anything away from Dougie White, already after 3 tracks it is clear his vocal pipes can go far beyond what they
were challenged to in Attack!! and is perfect for this album as a whole.
Neoclassical themes are carried throughout the whole album, and tracks such as Crown of Thorns (a Ship of Fools style track) and Fuguetta the short-sweet Malmsteen-esque classical guitar solo. The oddball track for this album once again nails the job of one of the best tracks in there, (It is actually hard to name the best track there are so many). The Bogeyman, which was said to have 'A Riff That Just Wont Quit' lived up to this quote perfectly, the rough, oily bassline could be played for hours on end to me before pressing stop.
I was a bit disappointed upon listening to one track which I see to be a bit of an 'Ill see the light tonight' rip-off, namely 'Let the Good Times Roll'. It still was a fantastic track with an utterly different verse to the Marching Out opener, but I still found myself singing the chorus the old fashioned way. The album begins to climax with this feeling of desperation heightening courtesy of tracks such as Russian Roulette and Exile until its final and inevitable presentation, as the Fury was to be Unleashed. As a standalone track or placed anywhere else in the album, I feel this track would be less appreciated, but due to this album effort building up gradually, the track comes across (to repeat myself) inevitable and seems a requirement to complete the album. The Black Sabbath style introduction into the heavy drum beat which has been consistently brilliant throughout (don't wish to
neglect congratulating Patrik on another fantastic Rising Force effort) is merely the tip of what is to erupt as the chorus closes, the massive parochial deep-wails send shivers down the spine. This track really sums up what I find myself saying all too often: 'Turn it up, this track sounds better really loud', as does it sum up the album brilliantly.
Before closing, and without wanting to jump into the cliche Malmsteen review by stating the phrase: 'We can't have a Malmsteen album without instrumentals can we?', I fear I must use words to such an effect in order to continue, so here we go:
We can't have a Malmsteen album without instrumentals can we? There, I got it out of the way.
While fuguetta is acoustic and far too short, Magic & Mayhem provides us with the blistering technique shown in tracks such as Blitzkreig while incorporating fantastic baroque tunes and themes which I really havn't seen Yngwie use so strongly in previous instrumentals, a very solid track from Yngwie proving that he really is the king of instrumental electric guitar. Guardian Angel basically sounds like Brothers and Like an Angel mixed together which is a bit disappointing but nevertheless still a track I wouldnt skip. The closing track is a jovial yet somewhat smooth instrumental and a good way to end the album, without straying from the feeling of power and ''Fury'' yet managing to drift off nicely.
On a whole, this album isn't a step forward for Yngwie Malmsteen's
Rising Force, but it feels like unfinished business which Malmsteen
probably felt he owed to his genius 1980's records which he left behind to persue more melodic metal and radio ready material in the early 1990's.
I recommend this as 100% Rising Force music for those who may have strayed since his early works. Old fans and new fans alike can enjoy how he can return to his early form so smoothly, whilst still cleverly incorporating new ideas he has picked up along the way, tracks such as 'The Bogeyman' and 'Cherokee Warrior' (to which he sings the latter himself).
I recommend this album to long lost Yngwie fans, newfound Yngwie fans,
and anyone with a taste for heavy metal orientated by clever composition. Please give us more of this Yngwie Malmsteen, your best effort since your debut Rising Force album, top marks, thank you.
(Highest Points: Revolution, Crown of Thorns, The Bogeyman, Cracking The Whip, Russian Roulette, Magic & Mayhem)
90%, 10 percent dropped for abusing your earlier works in the tracks: Let The Good Times Roll and The Hunt.
Thanks For Reading,
Post script, I think if the album cover had 3 claw slashes through it it would look better :)