• 4.8/10
    YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - Parabellum - 4.8/10


Label: Rising Force Records
Release date: July 23, 2021

User Review
2/10 (1 vote)

Neo-Classical Metal Frenzy

The term Neo-Classical Metal would probably not exist were it not for the influence of one unique performer, guitarist Yngwie J. Malmsteen. From the first notes of the debut Alcatrazz album the world would be a different place for heavy metal guitar, with no looking back. Having set the benchmark back in the 80s with his early albums, Yngwie brought something new to the table, and had a fire and force that seemed unstoppable. Fast-forward to the present, and on the 22nd studio album from the man that still is imitated today to find Yngwie playing all guitars (of course) and all vocals. After some deep searching, the credits can be found for the bass guitar work by Ralph Ciavolino and Aaron Sluss, with drums performed by Mark Ellis and Brian Wilson on what is essentially a solo project.

Photo of Yngwie Malmsteen playing guitar on stage.

Performance Over Content

When a performer with such legendary credentials puts out a new album, the hope of listeners is to hear something new and exciting that will remind them of why they are such a big fan in the first place. Parabellum is not that album. Part of the problem (and maybe it’s the whole problem) is that when an artist self-produces, they have no one to tell them “No”. No one to say “Try something a little slower, and more melodic.” No one to say “The vocals are buried with way too much reverb drowning them.” No one to say “That bass and drum line sounds like 30 other songs you’ve written.” When an outside producer gets involved, they can offer a different view and opinion that an artist may never see on their own, helping to make everything the best it can be. Parabellum seems to have fallen into all of these traps as the songs are mixed terribly, the lead parts are the same scales repeated over, and over ad nauseum, and the vocals are so drenched in effects that the listener never gets a chance to appreciate that Yngwie actually has a pretty good singing voice.

Final Notes

When Yngwie took the world by storm, he was working with other great musicians like Graham Bonnet, Jeff Scott Soto, and the Johansen brothers to name a few. When left to his own devices, the music sounds tired and uninspired. The same sweep picking solo scales are repeated so often it becomes hard to even tell what song is playing. Yngwie is still such a talented individual, it’s hard to see him fall so far from the apex of his career to putting out an album that feels like a glorified practice tape to solo over. Those of us that were (and still are) huge fans of his earlier work will still have to wait if they want an album to show a return to that early brilliance. Unless you are a die-hard Yngwie fan that has to own everything he has done, this is an album to skip.

Photo of Yngwie Malmsteen playing guitar on stage.


Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars/vocals
Nick Marino – keyboards
Ralph Ciavolino – Bass
Aaron Sluss – bass
Mark Ellis – drums
Brian Wilson – drums

Parabellum – Tracklist

01. Wolves at the Door
02. Presto Vivace in C# Minor
03. Relentless Fury
04. (Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum
05. Eternal Bliss
06. Toccata
07. God Particle
08. Magic Bullet
09. (Fight) The Good Fight
10. Sea of Tranquility


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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