Yngwie Malmsteen – Parabellum Review

Focus on the words here. There’s nothing to see to my left. And even if you wanted to make fun of Yngwie Malmsteen’s portrait, the artist is auctioning the original to support foster children. Feel like a dick now, huh? Trust me, just focus… on the words. At the ripe age of old, Yngwie Malmsteen is back with his 873rd full-length release. But, unlike some of his more recent outings, the man explores his neoclassical roots. This means it took him 3.5 more days than usual to write the album. He also 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. But even though the man has been releasing albums before the invention of the calendar, no one has reviewed any of his albums at AMG.1 So be it, I said. To make matters worse, I think I’m the only cunt here that’s even mentioned him in a review. Maybe it’s because we’re still beefing with Tim Owens? Nah, that can’t be it. That was ages ago. I wonder what it is…?

That’s right. For those not in the know, Owens used to sing for the man. And, if you’re like me, you stopped listening to his albums when that happened. So, 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 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.” This unnecessarily long piece is like Malmsteen metalfying The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” and playing it at your wedding.

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. The wanking isn’t out of control like some of the other tracks, and it’s an enjoyable way to start the album. But you can’t say the same thing about “(Fight) The Good Fight.” It’s got 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 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 fucking 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. But the former, in particular, just won’t end. But I can’t say that the shorter instrumentals are the only ones that work. “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, and even fuck 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, you’ll enjoy most of this. I just wish he had taken all his ideas and spread them out over a couple of discs and a couple of years.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Music Theories Recordings
Websites: yngwiemalmsteen.com | facebook.com/officialyngwiemalmsteen
Releases Worldwide: July 23rd, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. This a lie! – Steel
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