Yngwie Malmsteen: Relentless

Yngwie Malmsteen
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Yngwie Malmsteen is back with a vengeance…though the neoclassical guitar god never really went anywhere. His latest, Relentless, balances between the two worlds always present in his work: classical learning mixed with blisteringly fast and super-heavy guitar styles.

Featuring the masterful growl of Tim “Ripper” Owens (though Malmsteen sings on a few tracks) Relentless features some very grooving, heavy tunes, like “Critical Mass” and “Into Valhala,” a great staccato piece. There is some very commercial-sounding stuff here that sounds like it could be from the 80’s hair band era, like “Look at You Now,” “Caged Animal,” and “Shot Across the Bow.” However, things get truly amazing with the instrumentals, like “Knight of the Vasa Order” and the title track. In fact “Relentless” features Malmsteen at his most pressing, as if the guitar is fighting for prominence or for its life actually.  On “Knight” there is a real poignancy that is rarely heard with guys playing with this heavy of a sound.

Speaking of heavy, things get nice and heavy on tunes like “Enemy Within” and “Axe to Grind,” in which Malmsteen plays an especially good bass guitar. While the man gives us the requisite classic workout on the last tune “Arpeggios from Hell,” the second-to-last track, “Cross to Bear,” is about as good of a guitar-sonic-boom tune as you’re likely to hear all year.

Relentless is just that…and great to boot.

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