Release date: July 26, 2005

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After some 13 studio albums and a complete symphony, Yngwie J. Malmsteen has reached quite a cult status in Metal circles, as he relentlessly continues to pursue his guitar-driven style of Neo-Classical Metal without caring at all about what happens in the rest of the world. The musical world was caught completely off guard with his Grammy-Nominated debut album Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force in 1984, and Yngwie experienced great commercial success in the 1980s, peaking with his 1988 release Odyssey where the song “Heaven Tonight” became a huge hit. In the nineties, he continued producing quality albums, which although very successful in Japan, never created any major buzz neither in Europe nor in the USA. Before 1999’s Alchemy, he reintroduced the classical moniker “Rising Force,” and with that came the return of pure, unadulterated, Neo-Classical Shred-tal after some albums where collaborations with several external producers had resulted in minor (as in: MINOR) alterations in his sound.

Unleash the Fury (those unfamiliar with the story behind the title should check out Metal Express Radio’s latest Malmsteen interview in the Interview section) continues thoroughly in this tradition, offering a total of 18 tracks of pure Malmsteen Metal. 18 tracks is, of course, way too many, and this is the major concern with this album. If shortened down to some 12-13 tracks, this could have been a real smasher, as there are lots of snacks on offer – how about the dark and haunting opener “Locked And Loaded,” the heavy “Crackin’ The Whip” and “Bogey Man” (a definite live favorite), the melodic “Let The Good Times Roll” and “Russian Roulette,” the emotional “Cherokee Warrior” with the man himself generating some very good vocals, or last but not least the very majestic and “Seventh Sign”-like title track.

Every Malmsteen album has its instrumentals, and so also does this one. The appropriately entitled “Magic and Mayhem” is “Far Beyond The Sun” and “Krakatau” for the 21st Century, and for those doubting that there is still fire in the Swede’s experienced fingers – just listen and think again will ya’? “Guardian Angel” is a very pompous number with nice synth layers backing Yngwie’s emotional soloing. The only negative thing with this one is that it would have made a great ballad if he’d written lyrics and a vocal melody for it, but the instrumental version is beautiful as well.

Highlight solos can also be found in “Crown Of Thorns,” “Locked and Loaded,” “Cherokee Warrior,” and the title track, and the ending monster lick in “Russian Roulette” will be a guitar store gear-testing hit for months to come.

The line-up for this album is the same as for the ongoing tour – former Rainbow frontman Doogie White on vocals, Joakim Svalberg on keys, and Patrik Johansson on drums. Yngwie has played with a whole lot of awesome singers, and White definitely qualifies as such. His classic, Dio-influenced pipes suit the back-to-basics approach of the last few Malmsteen albums very well, and he does a great job throughout. Johansson too is a fresh breath of air into the band with his inspired drum work, and although the arrangement of most of the songs leaves little room for drum acrobatics, he plays with flair and enthusiasm, both on record and especially live. The only complaint is that the drum intros for “The Hunt” and “Russian Roulette” are very much identical, and this becomes very obvious when the two tracks come directly after each other. Svalberg is not given any keyboard solos this time around, but he does a great job in completing the soundscape and shows a good ability to fill up the holes needed to give the music the majestic touch it should have.

So, once again a strong release from the relentless Swede. Its maybe not as good as Attack, and as mentioned, it should definitely be shortened down a bit, but there are lots of great tracks here and the playing is Class A as usual. After War to End All Wars, where an otherwise great album was completely ruined by a horrid production, Yngwie has definitely gotten better in that department too, and the production on Unleash the Fury is a flawless one, although definitely no Max Martin product.

Despite having too many songs (and obviously some fillers in-between) Unleash the Fury is a great album, and a must-have for Malmsteen fans and quite a few others too.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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