The master of speed, Paganini's heir, Yngwie Malmsteen has released a new album "Unleash The Fury". This blazing-fast compilation might sound familiar, yet it gives him ample space to unleash his skills on his signature scalloped fretboard, inspired by a 17th century lute design.
Some in the music community find his style repetitive or boring, but there are many others who swear by his work, and live, breathe and dream Malmsteen. His supporting musicians seem to fade in the background, making it hard for any but the most ardent fan to name them, or track their appearances across albums. He saw much success in the 1980s and 1990s, but more so in markets like Japan, where he is "Ichiban", or Number One.
He constantly features in those interminable 'greatest guitarists', but isn't given to much self-praise or publicity. Malmsteen's richly detailed website features the following response in the 'Ask Yngwie' section,
Question from Emmanuel Calvario: "Yngwie, I know that you know Michael Angelo was nominated as the no.1 shredder of all times. They say that you and Angelo both mastered sweep picking and economy picking. But they say that you haven't mastered playing a one note per string arpeggios. Is that true? For you, Yngwie, who's faster between you and Michael Angelo. Just a direct and sure answer from you, sir. Because for me, you the best guitarist in the world."
Answer from Yngwie: "I don't personally know Michael Angelo or his music, but regarding contests and who is faster or whatever. It doesn't interest me. Trying to determine who picks more notes per second is ridiculous. What is important is the quality of the music and how well it speaks to fans who love it."
His musical longevity is testimony to his talents and prowess, as well as his seminal influence on hordes of aspiring guitar maestros the world over. I remember reading in a fan-mag subscribed to by a friend, an avid Malmsteen fan, that when he was asked why he did not make any MTV videos, he scoffed at the trend, and noted that he would still be around, and rocking, when Nirvana were dead and gone.