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Yngwie Malmsteen - Fire & Ice CD (album) cover


Yngwie Malmsteen

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Fire & Ice" is the 6th full-length studio album by Swedish heavy metal artist Yngwie Malmsteen. The album was released in January 1992 by Elektra Records.

"Fire & Ice" features Yngwie Malmsteen's characteristic blend of traditional heavy metal, power metal and equilibristic guitar solos. Yngwie Malmsteen's strong love for Deep Purple and especially Rainbow is as evident as always. The heavy metal style played on the album features lots of keyboards and generally belong in the softer end of the heavy metal spectrum. The most soft tracks can even be tagged AOR (albeit of the heavy kind) IMO. The musicianship is as always excellent but most of the time the band is just used to back up Yngwie Malmsteen's fiercely fast-paced neo-classical guitar shredding or the melody lines sung by Goran Edman. It's quite a shame that the band are not given more room and opportunity to show off their high level playing skills.

The production is rather weak and thin sounding and I miss bite and depth. But that's not the worst. The songwriting on "Fire & Ice" is rather generic compared to the best output by Yngwie Malmsteen and I'm even tempted to call most of the material on "Fire & Ice" the most bland output ever by the artist. The fact that the album is 68:42 minutes long means that it's quite the trial for me to get through the full album when the material is as generic as it's the case here.

So overall I don't enjoy "Fire & Ice" one bit. It's only during the solo sections that I'm at times reminded of how great an artist Yngwie Malmsteen actually is. His guitar playing is of course phenomenal. If you're new to Yngwie Malmsteen I suggest you pick up just about any other album release by him than this one. Preferably the stunning debut album. I'll play nice and give a 2 - 2.5 star rating but I really can't recommend this album.

Report this review (#533080)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Malmsteen is his own enemy!

Fire & Ice is, in my opinion, one of Yngwie J. Malmsteen's very best albums featuring some of his best ever compositions both vocal and instrumental. Indeed, there is only one bad song here and that is the awful Teaser which was another misguided attempt at achieving commercial success. I always skip this syrupy and cheesy Pop song every time I listen to this album and I strongly recommend you to do the same! The rest of the album is, however, less commercial than the previous two of Malmsteen's albums and more rooted in the Neo-Classical Metal that made him famous in the first place. And this means that the progressive touches are back!

The opening instrumental Perpetual is an excellent piece of music and it is clear that Symphony X picked up more than a few tricks from this one. Though very much better than the awful Teaser, Dragonfly too is a bit too commercial for my taste. How Many Miles To Babylon, on the other hand, is an excellent song with a great verse, chorus and solos. Cry No More and No Mercy are very good Neo-Classical Metal songs. The latter has a hilarious (in a good way!) Classical interlude that will make Prog fans sit up from their listening chairs! C'est La Vie features Yngwie on sitar and an acoustic middle section. Leviathan is another instrumental and it is again a great one with a somewhat heavier sound than we are used to from Malmsteen.

Ironically, the title track is one of the lesser songs of the album, but still a very good song. At this point I usually feel that I hear more of the same and I almost start wondering whether the rest of the album is going to be a tedious experience. But no, some of the best songs are yet to come! The pace is once again picked up in a big way with the Power Metal-like Forever Is A Long Time, the fastest track on this album and with great guitar and keyboard solos and a symphonic interlude. The keyboards are here played by Mats Olausson and not Jens Johansson (who had left the band at this point), but on this song it sounds very much like if it was Johansson playing again.

Next up is a sublime symphonic ballad called I'm My Own Enemy. The vocals of Göran Edman are strong throughout the whole album but especially so on this song. Edman also contributes lyrics to many of the songs, either alone or together with Malmsteen. All I Want Is Everything is a decent song but one of the least interesting on the album. Golden Dawn is a lovely acoustic guitar piece and the album closes with the heavy, symphonic Final Curtain which is another great song. It functions as an album closer as perfectly as Perpetual fits as opener.

Even though all the songs (except Teaser) are good, I still feel that the album would have benefitted from being a little bit shorter than it is. A running time of over an hour is slightly too long to keep the listeners full attention throughout. However, it is not very easy to pick out just which tracks should have been left off. Still, my choices would be Teaser (obviously), Dragonfly and All I Want Is Everything. Without these songs this album would have been even stronger as an organic unity than it is and it would certainly have gotten another star from me. Indeed, I truly wish that I could give this underrated album four stars, but the existence of Teaser makes this impossible I'm afraid; it has to settle for a solid three stars.

This album is certainly recommended if you like Neo-Classical Metal with some overtly Classical and progressive touches. A very good companion to the first three Malmsteen albums.

Report this review (#535403)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yngwie J. Malmsteen is of course a legendary guitarist along with Joe satriani and Steve vai that were all the rage in the 90s. I remember this album well back in the 90s as everyone was getting hold of it and I had it on cassette back then. It is a pleasure to finally get the CD but it is not hard to find in bargain bins so it appears many decided to ditch it. Understandably this is very dated and sounds like the 90s neo-classical period.

There are very poppy moments such as 'Teaser' and overall the Whitesnake style power metal, merged with melodic soft rock. I was into it at the time but have since grown completely out of the style. It is not complex music, apart from the lead breaks by maestro Malmsteen. The prog on this is rather hard to find, though occasionally there are interesting orcestrations such as the intro to 'How Many Miles to Babylon'. This is a definitive highlight of the album. The flute and violin with acoustics is quite enchanting. The problem I always had with Malmsteen's albums is the choice of vocalist. On this occasion Goran Edman is actually quite good, adequate at the least but he is always staying on that typical metal note. He can reach a high falsetto and sounds great on the heavier songs.

The best moments for me are the instrumentals such as 'Perpetual', a standout fast lead solo, 'Leviathan', an atmospheric piece with fret melting lead work, and 'Golden Dawn', an acoustically driven piece. Of all these I prefer 'Leviathan' especially the screaming lead break with the odd time sig and constantly shifting tempo. I remember seeing this on video and being amazed at Malmsteen's ferocity on the Fender. It kind of annoys me how the songs fade as Malmsteen continue to shred, it would be better to finish on a huge power chord.

Malmsteen is a genius guitarist and he shreds brilliantly. The lead breaks are incredible, creative and virtuoso as one might expect having a band named after you. He looks great on stage too, and I always enjoyed when tracks from "Fire and Ice" appeared on concert performances. The liner notes of the CD includes that the album was "dedicated in loving memory to Bjorn Malmsteen" which is a nice touch. A clue to his influences are in the personal thanks as Malmsteen mentions the likes of Erika Malmsteen, J.S.Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix, H.P.Lovecraft, Enzo Ferrari, Leo Fender, Dinsdale, and Monty Python's Flying Circus. An interesting line up there showing where the music stems from. Indeed the classical influences are prevalent among others. Listen to the intro of 'C'est La Vie' with Malmsteen on sitar for an example of Indian Raga.

There are fast metal moments such as 'No Mercy' with a traditional shredding rhythm, and then an orchestra plays Vivaldi or Bach-ian music for a while till Malmsteen performs a blistering lead break. He loves those high string bends and speed picking sweeps as well as massive hammer ons and arpeggios. The album songs are forgettable, indeed I had to listen to the whole thing to remember a single melody, but at the time of listening it is enjoyable. 'Fire and Ice' is a rather pedestrian hard rock song sounding more like glam. At 2 ˝ minutes in though we are treated to a brilliant lead break with ferocious arpeggios and classical inlfuences. It leads to a wah-wah sound for a change and it fades out again.

There is huge diversity on the album such as the speed power metal of 'Forever Is A Long Time' which includes symphonic keyboards by Mats Olausson. Edman sounds great here and the violin section is appropriate to usher is another super fast killer lead solo. He trades of with some equally fast keys too and this is fantastic. Malmsteen loves his ballads and here is no exception with 'I'm My Own Enemy' giving Göran Edman a chance to shine though it lasts for 6 minutes and is hard to sit through. This is perhaps one of those lighters in the air concert moments and Malmsteen can relax on 12 string. The string section is a nice embellishment though. 'All I Want Is Everything' follows, and it is okay but the album is tending to drag a bit at this stage and needs a real kick in the guts to bring it up to standard. After the beauty of the acoustic section it ends with 'Final Curtain'. There is a cool riff to begin and thunder rolls across the heavenly striking violins. The pace is slow but the music is intriguing. The obligatory lead break hammers in once more and she is all over with a thunder clap.

This is a long slog to get through the whole album, especially as it sounds so commercial. It was the album that a lot of my friends had in the 90s and I ended up with it but I rarely played it due to the lack of interest in the neo classical feel, but it is a bit more enjoyable these days with the prog references. Though I admit I won't be returning to this often as there is so much better out there, that leaves this outdated music for dead.

Report this review (#623199)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fire and ice from 1992 is another worthy album from Malmsteen catague, ok is not among their best offers, but still enjoyble to my ears. I'm a moderate fan of his guitar work, and almost all album released over the years has something to offer, at least for me. Is understandable that this album was not so well recived then as today, because almost on every release he ususes his typical guitar signature, sometimes many pieces sound the same only with diffrent voice. Well, Fire and ice has some good moments like Perpetual, Dragonfly, the excellent How many miles to Babylon, the rest are ok nothing more. I like it, Malmsteen is a big influence to many bands like Symphony X, Stratovarius and more and continue to make albums in his own style. 3.5 stars to this one, I like it.
Report this review (#872091)
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2012 | Review Permalink

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