Album Review: Yngwie Malmsteen, "Fire And Ice"

I'd imagine that perhaps the only person I've met who believes Yngwie is God would be the man himself. Conversely, there's plenty of people around all too ready to describe him as a pretentious prat! Fire And Ice will do much to spread that view.

In my opinion Malmsteen is a supremely talented guitarist. Somewhat lacking in soul, yes, but a virtuoso performer nonetheless. His brief assignation with current DEEP PURPLE vocalist JOE TURNER providing his strongest and most accessible waxing to date. Unhappily 1992 sees a return to the classically-inspired compositions that dogged Yngwie's earlier career.

The key word here is indeed 'pretentious.' An album crammed full of ninety million variations on how to play every single note a guitar bears would have been more than enough. Lacing a good 75% of the material with orchestration, in addition to a lush production that may enhance those twinkling digits - yet squashes Goran Edman's already minimalist vocals all too often into indecipherability - is the height of self indulgence.

The closest the album gets to a real dose of Rock N'Roll is All I Want Is Everything - largely via a set of predictably raunchy lyrics. Though Svante Henrysson (bass) and Bo Warne (drums) do provide a consistently strong and at times insistent rhythm section. The otherwise whimsical Dragonfly, Fire And Ice itself, and Forever Is A Long Time all benefit from the duo's stalwart syncopation.

As a work of musical art, Fire And Ice does deserve admiration.

As a vehicle with which to increase the artiste's popularity, it is too self-centred. The bottom line is, unless you are as obsessed with the Classical idiom as YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN himself, or prefer exploring the technicalities of fine guitar playing over and above expressing pure emotion, then this album will leave you stone cold.  GRADE C

Lyn Guy
Riff Raff
March 1992

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