CD review YNGWIE MALMSTEEN ‘Blue Lightning’

(8/10) To introduce guitar wizard Yngwie Malmsteen feels like carrying sand to the beach. In case you never heard of the iconic guitarist, you probably ended up on a wrong blog. Malmsteen is one of the most influential axeman and started his career in 1983 with a band named Steeler (not the German one with the same name). An album with Alcatrazz followed before the guitar virtuoso focused on his solo career.

Malmsteen is a pioneer when it comes to a neo-classical style in metal that he evolved to perfection. His roots though are in blues and the new album, ‘Blue Lightning’, kind of closes the circle. The newest delivery of the charismatic guitarist pays attention to blues and classic rock.

An album like ‘Blue Lightning’, with a lot of cover versions, always needs to bridge the poles of being close to the original on one side but also giving individuality enough space to make the cover version to something more than copying a song. Now, the latter is something that for sure is the approach of a creative mind like Yngwie Malmsteen. He doesn’t copy, he interprets. The master of the six-string guitar added a personal touch to each of the songs on the album, which is the spice for tunes like The Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. What works very well for some songs feels partly also a bit too much with some other track. It’s hard to maintain the maintain the original magic of songs like ‘Paint in Black’, although technically there’s all done very well.

‘Blue Lightning’ features a wide range of songs. ‘Smoke on the Water’, originally by Deep Purple, became part of this longplayer as well as the blues classic ‘Blue Jean Blues’ (ZZ Top) and Eric Clapton’s ‘Forever Man’, the latter, due to vocals, being an extra challenge for Malmsteen. The result though is a reward for the effort and is a treat for ears of metallized rock music. Last but not least, and not to forget, the own songs which are a an acoustic pleasure too.

‘Blue Lightning’ is Malmsteen first album in three years and it shows why the guitarist belongs to the spearheads of rock and metal. Good music, good songs, good entertainment.


(8/10)

Tracklist:

  1. Blue Lightning
  2. Foxy Lady
  3. Demon’s Eye
  4. 1911 Strut
  5. Blue Jean Blues
  6. Purple Haze
  7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  8. Sun’s Up Top’s Down
  9. Peace, Please
  10. Paint It Black
  11. Smoke on the Water
  12. Forever Man

Label: Mascot Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 29th, 2019

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