Yngwie Malmsteen – Blue Lightning
”Yngwie Malmsteen Sings The Blues” would be a fairly appropriate subtitle to Yngwie’s new album, in which he does not only croon some bluesy vocals himself, but also play what sounds like one trillion blues licks per song. Yngwie, who of course coined the famous phrase ”How can less be more? More is more!”, is clearly on a mission to challenge the fundamentally sparse nature of Blues as a genre by not scaling back the Yngwie one bit.
The listener is predictably assaulted with enough of Yngwie’s guitar playing to last a lifetime, this time however in the form of a blues rock style rather than his usual neoclassical heavy metal. In some songs it works, like in the pumping ’1911 Strut’ in which he clearly display competent blues chops. Sometimes though, it is pretty comical in Yngwie’s typical non-intentional way, like in the not at all ironic cover of The Beatles ’While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ which sounds about as gentle as Eric Clapton on cocaine at 20 times the speed.This is only one of many covers, all of which seems like they were chosen to be played at an after ski.
His blues originals also go so fast that you start to wonder if Yngwie even has the time have ”the blues”. The lyrics also do nothing to convince anyone that Yngwie has actual feelings. Listen to the title track ’Blue Lightning’ for reference , which is supposedly about having the blues, but Yngwie can only relate to having a bad day as in getting hit by lightning or being bitten by a snake.
If you are a Yngwie fan, then this record do have the goods though. Yngwie’s guitar tone is fat and full, his playing is as good as ever and the blues styling do add some new variety, and we all know that variety is not exactly what he is known for. Of course none of his new songs are even close to being as impressive as a song like ‘Black Star’ was in the 80’s, but it’s a comfort to know that after all these years and regardless what you think of him, Yngwie Malmesteen unapologetically still bring the thunder with guitar skills most people could only dream of.
Artist: Yngwie Malmsteen
Title: Blue Lightning
Label: Mascot Records
Date of release: 29/3-19
Stand out track: 1911 Strut