June 18, 2024

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TMD Rocks!

Legendary Swedish guitar hero, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, is perhaps the most well known of the Neoclassical shredders since Randy Rhoads. In 2016, the wizard of the fretboard has returned to set the world ablaze with his six string talents once again. I was always a real big fan of Rising Force album back in 1984 – and as the years have passed I have tried to keep up with what this guitar great is up to. Does he really still have the goods at his advanced age of 52? World On Fire is his new collection of rockers, and let me make it clear that this is some of his finest work ever – and is sure to find its way onto many critics “Best Of The Year List”. I am very much impressed by the effort – and feel others will agree with my overall assessment.

Let me first start out by saying that Malmsteen’s guitar is haunting as he jams like a musician possessed on cuts “World on Fire”, “Sorcery” and “Abandon”, the latter song offering some of the most technical playing with his trademark arpeggio-heavy solos that will have your head spinning for sure. The vocals by Nick Marino, who also plays the keys – are par for the course, but the masterful drumming by Mark Ellis sounds really cool and totally helps elevate the music to another level. Bassist Ralph Ciavolino does a solid job with some really grooving bass lines. But let’s be honest, the real star is the man, the myth, the legend himself, right? Malmsteen absolutely kills it. What else can I say?

Up next are the dazzling “Top Down, Foot Down”, “Lost in Machine” and my personal favorite “Largo”, that left me not only speechless but wanting more. The incredible momentum does not falter either when followed by the jaw dropping “No Rest for the Wicked”, “Soldier” and “DUF 1220”. This dude continues to blow me away with his uncanny ability to move his fingers faster up and down the frets than anyone on the planet today. The album concludes with tracks “Abandon (Slight Return)” and “Nacht Musik”, both of which somehow manage to keep up the intensity. Any fan of true guitar shred will definitely want to add this gem to their collection.


four stars

(Rising Force Records/2016)

01 – World on Fire
02 – Sorcery
03 – Abandon
04 – Top Down, Foot Down
05 – Lost in Machine
06 – Largo
07 – No Rest for the Wicked
08 – Soldier
09 – DUF 1220
10 – Abandon (Slight Return)
11 – Nacht Musik