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Good to a point - 87%

The_Ghoul, January 10th, 2008

Fire and Ice came at a critical time in Malmsteen's career and the world of metal as a whole. As many have pointed out, grunge had just come into play and metal bands were either folding or defecting and breaking ranks in droves, and Yngwie had just done the album Eclipse, which was a stain on his career after the 4 rising force albums. So he either had to make a good album, and define the next decade of his career, or he would burn out and jump on the wagon of the has-beens.

Obviously, it worked, because the early-mid nineties were a great time for Malmsteen, and he released scorcher after scorcher. However, this album, in itself, is not that memorable. Sure, the songs are all catchy. Sure, the guitar playing is spot on. However, as I said, this album is good to a point. That point is Goran Edman, who technically doesn't fail as a singer, since he does hit the notes, fails as a successor to Joe Lynn Turner. His voice is thin and voiceless, losing power as he hits the higher notes, sounding like a teenager just getting into his new manlier voice. Thank the metal gods that Yngwie booted Edman and replaced him with Michael Vescera. The singing isn't bad, as I was led to believe, it just adds nothing to the album, and strikes the listener as extraneous and unnecessary. However, on songs like Fire and Ice, where he avoids the higher range where he loses power, and Leviathan, where he doesn't sing at all, the album works. From this, it can be deduced that Goran detracts from the overall listenability of the album.

However, the drums are good, shining in the aforementioned songs, being wonderfully technical but not stealing the spotlight from the almighty Yngwie. The bass, as always, is inaudible most of the time, but that it doesn't detract from the fun of Fire and Ice. The songwriting is a preview of what's to come, namely catchy, melodic, and aggressive power metal/shred, with blistering guitar solos and plenty of neoclassical influence, as well as influences from hard rock and blues rock. It expands slightly upon Yngwie's repertoire, as well as rectifying the mess that was Eclipse. So yes, it succeeds as an album. Get it if you like Malmsteen, chances are it won't change your opinion.