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Yngwie Malmsteen: Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar

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Collaborations between rock musicians and classical orchestras have a spotty history, with many people saying such a thing should simply not be done at all. One of the most famous is probably a Deep Purple’s performance of Jon Lord’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”, which gained decidedly mixed reviews; I quite like it myself. Although flawed and overambitious, it does have it’s moments. More successful are Jon Lord’s later “Sarabande”, perhaps because it was less ambitious, and various works by the late Frank Zappa.

Yngwie Malmsteen’s contribution to the genre in back in 2000 isn’t going to improve it’s reputation one little bit. Even by the standards of Yngwie’s mediocre recent work, this one’s a real turkey. It could be described as a “A perfectly good orchestra ruined by some idiot playing tuneless shredded guitar over the top of it”. Once or twice the orchestra plays some halfway decent themes, most of them lifted from existing Yngwiddly instrumentals. But most of the time they’re competing with the Man With The Massive Ego playing scales at 200 mph. I’m sure all the Czech musicians who played on this are embarassed to have a record like this on their Resume.

Once upon a time, Yngwie Malmsteen had the potential to be great guitatist. But there’s no evidence of that on this record; as his playing has got faster and faster it’s got more and more tuneless. He can squirt out notes until they all blur into one, but he’s totally lost the ability to play the gaps between the notes.

Don’t buy this album unless you’re an Yngwie completist.

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About Tim Hall

  • Tim, do yourself a favor and check out Mike Keneally’s album with the Metropole Orkest, The Universe Will Provide. As my review states, this is probably the best example of what this kind of pairing can do because there’s no ego on display. It’s a gorgeous, but more importantly, intelligent use of orchestra in a rock context.

  • Liam

    The words that i have read are disgusting in my point of view, Yngwie Malmsteens Ability has grown since his wrist injuries, the man was set on getting back on form but he exceeded all expectations. Malmsteen is a living legend, his skill is unmatched even Steve Vai Openly admitted in an inerview that he would never be able to match Malmsteens speed, surely these comments coming from such a genious mean something, Malmsteens speed combined with his melodic skill leave him as the worlds top guitarist. Even though he shreds look at the other guitarists, Richie Blackmoore, Darrell ‘Dimebag’ Abbott and Jon Donais, the inspiration this man has provided will continue to spawn new Shredding guitarists.

  • Did you see this review of his new album, Liam?

  • Steve Vai may have admitted that he wouldn’t be able to attain Malmsteen’s speed, but is speed all there is to playing a guitar? Technique, and articulation is also important. While Malmsteen also excels in the latter two, he plays things at such breakneck speeds that you can’t even make out what he’s playing until he stops for a vibrato, or something like that.

    Malmsteen is cool, but face it; lots of people can shred (eg John Petrucci of Dream Theater), and they sound cooler (and more varied) than he does.

  • Mighty Malmsteen

    Wow, Yngwie has incredible technique as well as speed. But yes, that’s true that speed is not everything. You could be the slowest guitarist in the world and still be better than the fastest shreddar on the planet. But you’ve got to be retarded to think such a thing about Yngwie’s ‘Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar’. He wrote and composed all the music on the album and it blends together beautifully. I highly reccomend this album.

  • Ben

    I can see what you say about Yngwie’s career. Rising Force was a pretty good album but the rest didn’t really grow from it although it was still amazing. But I think this Concerto was amazing. Everyone that I know that’s heard are all 80s metal and classic rock fans all the way, and they said it changed their lives. This was a great piece.

  • I agree Ben. Although Rising Force was decent, I have to second that Concerto was the best. Come to think of it, I don’t know anyone that’s NOT an 80’s hair metal freak who even knows who Malmsteen is. Good point. 🙂