Here it is: Part 2 of my in-depth coverage concerning CDs I bought in the last few months that have bummed me out so much, I’ve considered forming a one-man depressive black metal band complete with album art featuring self-cutting and song titles like “Sad and Feeling Bad – Near a Tree.” Ninety percent of the disc will be whimpering and wind noises.
Speaking of album art, if you could judge a book by its cover this would be Bride of the Centaur. Behold the Malmjesty of a still thin, open silk shirted, hairbreasted guitar god shredding the Duck to the point where it catches fire, endangering his flowing locks. He’s looking out of that cover image at YOU, daring you to talk shit. The liner notes feature a poster of Yngwie under some palm trees next to a ferrari and rockin’ the fuck out. What more could you ask for from a single image? Seriously, may the great Metal Penis in the sky forever drip in anticipation of Yngwie picking up a stringed instrument. May Yngwie forever release the same album over and over again. May a metal afterlife exist, into which Yngwie will be greeted with open arms once he staccatos his last neoclassical overture on this earth. However, may he occasionally serve the role of Halford’s heavenly powerbottom for “Perpetual Flame.”
Though any given Yngling effort is of course a guitar-oriented affair, what makes or breaks his albums for me is the vocalist he chooses to belt out the semi-dumb lyrical content accompanying the shredbath. The only guy I’ve ever been impressed with is Michael Vescera, who truly made it happen on “The Seventh Sign” and “Magnum Opus.” Everyone else has been pretty awful. Including Mr. Tim “Ripper” Owens. It truly boggles the mind that this dude was picked to replace the Metal God himself for “Julgulator” and “Demolition,” two Priest albums I won’t be touching with a ten foot pole. Can I nail down exactly what’s wrong with his voice? Not really. It is warbly (but not Ed Warby). It is annoying. And it just doesn’t do what Malmsteen vocalists need to do – make the neoclassicality come alive to inspire mental images of Bach swordfighting with a druidic dragon. Without someone super-talented behind the mic, it is not possible to give “Perpetual Flame” a high rating. Poor choice, Malmo.
Which is too bad, because everything else seems pretty solid. Production is spot on, the drummer does what little he can do under Yngwie’s watchful eye, and the keyboards sound appropriately goofy. The guitars, sitars, bass, face, triangles and trampolines are all masterfully handled by The Man himself. Yngwie’s no Roy Orbison either, by the way. Not sure who told him he sounded acceptable on “Magic City,” but somehow I doubt there’s much of an oversight/criticism process down at the Rising Force camp.
On the subject of “Magic City,” after Yngwie gets done crooning and tells us he’s going to play the guitar, damn does he play the guitar. One of the most impressive performances I’ve heard out of ze Malmz. Otherwise he cranks out his usual level of impressive six-string dominance throughout “Perpetual Flame.” At some point he is just so good that you grow a bit numb to it though. Not to mention some shreddery sounds deeply similar to any other track you’ve ever heard by Yngwie. Furthermore, I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s listened to Rainbow’s “Stargazer” a few thousand times (haven’t we all?). Over and over again I get the sense that Yngwie is pursuing that song’s same super-epic wizard-on-a-fucken-pyramid-enslaving-my-ass feel. Could be wrong, of course.
Anyway, the inclusion of “Shitter” Owens really ruins this one. I can listen to generic Malmsteen licks all day, but having someone irritating yelp into my ear throughout drops the rating precipitously. If only he brought talent like Attila Dorn on board and took a slightly darker turn with the lyrics – that could be some excellent stuff. Powerful power. Oh well. For now, it seems that he’s “brought” himself on board for vocal duties (and everything else). Now that’s streamlining the hiring process.