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Yngwie Malmsteen - Fire & Ice CD (album) cover


Yngwie Malmsteen


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2.94 | 48 ratings

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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.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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