YNGWIE MALMSTEEN – Parabellum (2021)
On July 23, 2021 legendary Swede YNGWIE MALMSTEEN will release his new album ‘Parabellum‘ via Music Theories Recordings, the Mascot Label Group sublabel that focuses on the best that progressive rock and metal has to offer.
The name Yngwie Malmsteen has always stood for uncompromising excellence. In a career that now spans more than 40 years he has proven himself to be one of the greats. You can try to categorize him in any way you want, but the manner in which Malmsteen has continually developed his craft allows him to transcend any definition you attempt to impose.
Unlike some of his more recent outings, Yngwie explores his neoclassical roots again on ‘Parabellum’, and if you are a fan of his first Rising Force LP, you’ll enjoy this new CD like a madman.
With a catalog of 21 solo studio albums, Malmsteen’s artistry has always incorporated a healthy dose of virtuosity, but his talent goes well beyond a comprehensive control of the guitar. One aspect of his approach has always shone through, and that is an abidingly deep respect for the music he plays.
Malmsteen has constantly done whatever it takes to bring out all of the colors, shades and hues embedded in each of his songs. And you like it or not, he’s doing it his own way…
According to press release, Yngwie put to death 19 guitars during rehearsal and 74 in the making of ‘Parabellum’. All deaths were the result of friction from his finger-play, setting them on fire.
And then the vocals…
For those not in the know, Tim Owens used to sing for the man. And, if as many fans, you stopped listening to his albums when that happened, you probably didn’t know that Malmsteen himself has been the lead vocalist for the last couple of releases.
He may never dominate vocalists like Owens, Mike Boals, or Jeff Scott Soto, but he’s competent. Especially in a power metal kind of way. The way he approaches his vox here is like he did for 2016’s World On Fire. Though he digs deep and tries to yank on your heartstrings with the six-and-a-half-minute ballad, “Eternal Bliss.”
On the flip-side, Malmsteen brings the rock with songs like opener “Wolves at the Door” and “(Fight) The Good Fight.” The former is a fun mix of power with the neoclassical, and it’s an enjoyable way to start the album. Then “(Fight) The Good Fight” is plenty of rocking moments, but the show-off solos take over, driving the song in a completely different direction.
My favorite of the vocal tracks, though, is “Relentless Fury.” It’s the most classic metal number on the disc and mixes a killer groove with some tasty melody.
The rest of the album is instrumental. Much like how things were in the old days with debut LP Rising Force. And, as one would expect, the guitar work is f@cking insane.
Unlike the phenomenal Rising Force, the problem here is that the man cannot edit himself. When he gets going, there’s no stopping. Interestingly enough, the two songs that are the most in common with each other are the two that need some trimming.
Again, “(Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum” and closer “Sea of Tranquility” have some remarkable fret play that makes me wish I hadn’t spent so much on a good guitar. “God Particle” is over six minutes, with a clean guitar intro and some sick soloing. The reason this song works is that it’s, well… a song. It builds throughout and introduces some memorable moments along the way.
If I didn’t care to analyze every moment of this record, I’d say it works just fine in the background. You can read to it, do yard work to it, you can drive to it. But that means it doesn’t capture my attention like other Yngwie Malmsteen albums do.
Another pass through the editing chamber would do Parabellum good. That said, the dynamics are fantastic, and you won’t miss a single guitar pluck, drum hit, and bass line.
For those excited to hear some Malmsteen unload some of his neoclassical past, ‘Parabellum’ is a feast.
01. Wolves At The Door
02. Presto Vivace in C# minor
03. Relentless Fury
04. (Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum
05. Eternal Bliss
07. God Particle
08. Magic Bullet
09. (Fight) The Good Fight
10. Sea Of Tranquility
Yngwie Malmsteen – All Instruments, Vocals