Friday, December 7, 2012

Yngwie J. Malmsteen - Spellbound (2012)

I wonder why the swedish guitar virutuoso Yngwie Malmsteen even bothers to put the words Rising Force in his project any more. This is more of a solo album to me, not an album by a band. Yngwie writes all his music himself and he even sings on this album now that Tim "Ripper" Owens (Ex-Iced Earth, Ex- Judas Priest) has left Rising Force. Anyhow, "Spellbound" is Yngwie's 18th studio album and the first album with yours truly on vocals. A wise decision? I am not sure. Yngwie is not a terrible singer but he does not have the same strengths in his voice like Owens have. But one pro with Yngwie being a singer is that we may finally have some continuity when it comes to the vocals. The singer that lasted the longest was Doggie White and he lasted only 6 years (about 1/6 out of Yngwie's musical carrier).

But do not expect Yngwie to wear himself out on the vocals. Just like in "Relentless", the instrumentals has the majority of space on this record. A pretty big majority. Only three out of the thirteen songs have lyrics in them. In other words, Yngwie is letting the riffing do the talking instead of the vocals. A seemingly good decision since Yngwie is not so familiar with the singing. But I got to say that he does a really good work on the singing section, especially on the slow and delicate "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie". His voice is ruff at some spots but with some work I think that Yngwie will master that too. The other two songs ("Repent" and "Poisoned Minds") are good but nothing really special.

Well, how good are the instrumentals then? They are what you would expect from Yngwie. A solid mix of crazy ass shredding and slower, but more well composed, song structures. And the sound is, as usual, a neo-classical sound. A sound that Yngwie masters extremely well. But overall there are 3 instrumentals that is standing out from the rest. The title track has probably the best and unique riff in the entire album and the speed on that song is nice. Then we have "Majestic 12 suite 1, 2 & 3", a nine minute long epic that holds surprisingly well for a song of its size. Otherwise instrumentals that is around this length tends to be pretty boring and repetitive. The third and last instrumental on "Spellbound" that deserves a recognition is the album closure "Requiem For The Lost Souls". This song ends the album in a brilliant way with its beautiful sound and well organised structure. But there is one more instrumental that I would like to point out. "Iron Blues" is something I wish was never even in this album. I mean really? Blues? You may have taken a bit more than you can chew Yngwie. Please, no more of that kind of music in the future.

All in all I feel that "Spellbound" is the best album Yngwie has done since "Perpetual Flame". "Spellbound" has some really interesting instrumentals and the fact that Yngwie made literally everything for himself makes this album even more impressive. It is not a fantastic album but clearly above average. But for next album I would like to see less instrumentals and more of Yngwie's voice (if he is going to sing more in future albums).

Songs worthy of recognition: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, Requiem For The Lost Souls, Spellbound

Rating: 7/10 Repents


  1. You like "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" but suggest Yngwie avoid the blues? What kind of music do you think LSDL is?

  2. Okay I have to admit I was wrong there. This review was written pretty hastily but yeah, LSDL is blues and I would not be mad if Yngwie would be writing more blues song like this. What I am trying to say is that "Iron Blues" is not an acceptable song for me because the blues is taking over way too much here, which it do not do on LSDL. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  3. To me the production is horrible, the songs are weak, and the voice of Yngwie - realy sucks.
    I´m a die hard fan, but to me this is the worst crap ever.