Unleash The Fury
8/17/2005 - Review by: Vinaya Saksena
Yngwie Malmsteen - Unleash The Fury - 2005 - Universal/Spitfire
Thus it was with considerable trepidation that I removed the shrink wrap on the luxuriously packaged Japanese edition of "Unleash The Fury". And while I generally believe that old truism about judging a book (or CD) by its cover, the embossed sleeve and big fold-out booklet enclosed proved appropriate for this album, which I found surprisingly robust and satisfying. Sure, the speedy opening cut “Locked and Loaded” is pretty much devoid of finesse or dynamic, and Dougie White’s vocal style is once again ridiculously self-serious. And yes, “Revolution” is only somewhat better in this regard. But with eighteen tracks, clocking in at a generous 72 minutes, there is still plenty to chew on here, and much of the rest ranges from fine to delectable, thank you very much.
For those of you who love neoclassical metal guitar, but feel that Mr. Malmsteen has been stuck in a rut as of late, let me assure you that Yngwie and Co. use the album’s generous length to try on a few different hats, many of which fit quite comfortably. “Winds of War” is slow, majestic and elegant in the grand tradition of Rainbow, Silver Mountain and of course, Malmsteen himself. “Cracking The Whip” and the throbbing, bass-driven “The Bogeyman” are gloriously successful attempts at simple, hard groove-based rock, with deft fretwork throughout. “Magic and Mayhem” is an aptly titled and gloriously over the top instrumental workout in the tradition of Yngwie’s best shred-fests. At the other end of the spectrum, “Fuguetta” and the blandly-titled “Paraphrase” are superbly inspired variations on music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Yngwie even repeats one of the cooler moves from his last album by taking the mic for a nifty, traditional blues-based semi-ballad called “Cherokee Warrior.” As is often the case with long albums, there is unfortunately some filler, in the form of “Crown of Thorns” and “Beauty and the Beast.” But again, with so much music on offer, and so many different ideas being tried, there is thankfully plenty of stuff here that sticks.
It was with a heavy heart that I gave Malmsteen’s last effort a less than glowing review. So, while "Unleash The Fury" is not godlike, it is a vast improvement over "Attack!!" on almost all fronts, particularly songwriting and production. Maybe Yngwie realized in retrospect that all was not right with that unfortunate album- I don’t know. In any case, "Unleash The Fury" is a small, but significant and welcome step in the right direction. And while I don’t believe in rating based on song quantity, the generous helping of music enclosed, plus the enhanced CD portion (with lessons!) goes a long way toward assuring good value for money. On top of that, the album is finally available outside of Japan, with the worldwide release apparently including most of the same goodies. Treasure ahoy, shred heads!
8/13/2005 - Review by: MetalKnight
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - Unleash The Fury - 2005 - Steamhammer
I'm thus quite proud of my Yngwie record collection, which kicks off with the Steeler L.P. of 1983. The truth is, alas, that album after album he seemed so unwilling to elaborate on his trademark guitar-sound. At times he seriously risked losing the interest of fans - metaphorically speaking, it was as if he had wounded himself by his own sword.
The new album, called "Unleash The Fury" (Yngwie's 16th solo album, not considering anthologies or tributes), succeeds his previous album ("Attack") and contains no less than 18 tracks. For sure no-one can complain of the Swede's lack of productivity. Well, in spite of what I've said above, I confidently feel that "Unleash The Fury" is an improvement from his last 3 or 4 albums. The production and overall feel strongly reminds me of "Trilogy" (1986) - which in my opinion continues to be one of Yngwie's best releases. But let's take a closer look at this album's traits.....
In 'The Bogey Man', 'Revelation' and 'Let The Good Times Roll' Yngwie tries to contain his high-speed legato solos by featuring a good dose of riffs.
In particular 'Revelation', with its dragging but catchy riffs and sombre lyrics, goes vaguely close to doom territory. At the same time, this song seems to be taken out of the aforementioned "Trilogy".
'Cherokee Warrior' is musically another cool song and sounds different. There's just one aspect of this song I didn't quite digest - but more about it later on.
'Guardian Angel' is a great instrumental ballad - one of the album's highlights in fact. Try imagining the melody of 'Crying' (from "Trilogy") and the melancholy of 'Save Our Love' (from 1990's "Eclipse"). Then complement some magic keyboard sounds courtesy of Joakin Svalberg - and you should get the overall picture of this song.
'Russian Roulette' is probably the magnum opus of vocalist Dougie White, at least as regards his recordings with Yngwie.
Other tracks I haven't singled out are fairly standard Yngwie material.
Regarding the other band members, well Yngwie is always known to have recorded with high-class, talented musicians and "UTF" is definitely no exception.
A few minor gripes: 1) I can't understand why Yngwie insists on singing on 1 or 2 tracks in several albums of his including this one (check out 'Cherokee Warrior'). Uli Jon Roth and Jimi Hendrix - 2 of Yngwie's idols - are/were terrible vocalists just as they remain brilliant guitarists, so he should have learnt the lesson by now; 2) the sleeve of "UTF" is not one of the most exciting I've ever seen.
I keep noticing that Yngwie has developed a 'habit' of snatching up ex-members of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow....vocalists Graham Bonnett [in Yngwie's late 1980's band Alcatrazz] and Joe Lynn Turner [in the album "Odyssey"], drummer Cozy Powell [in "Facing The Animal"]. More recently "Unleash The Fury" and "Attack" feature the lead voice of Dougie White, the last vocalist to sing with Rainbow before Blackmore went at a tangent to Rock music with his Blackmore's Night.
Although "UTF" is quite long and the songs quite diverse, it doesn't sound disjointed. Quite a few tracks in "UTF" would adapt quite well to a more liberal use of orchestral sounds. Ultimately "Unleash The Fury" is a return to good form of the Swedish maestro. Love him or hate him, this album should perpetuate his myth.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Yngwie Malmsteen: guitars / vocals
Dougie White: vocals
Patrik Johansson: drums
Joakim Svalberg: keyboards.
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