Produced by: Yngwie J Malmsteen

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Himself
GENRE: Hard Rock

  1. Prophet Of Doom
  2. Crucify
  3. Bad Reputation
  4. Catch 22
  5. Masquerade
  6. Arpegios From Hell
  7. Miracle Of Life
  8. Wizard
  9. Prelude
  10. Wild One
  11. Tarot
  12. Instrumental Institution
  13. War To End All Wars
  14. Black Sheep Of The Family

The first thing that should be pointed out is that Yngwie J Egosteen produced this record himself.
The second thing that should be pointed out is that the production on this record is bloody awful.
With the ink barely dry from his brand new contract with Spitfire Records, Yngwie - with his band surprisingly intact after his last studio album - set about making a great new album to hit the US and indeed worldwide market with. Singer Mark Boals quit on the eve of the album's release and after hearing it, I am not surprised why.
Spitfire must be spitting fire (pun intended) after hearing what Yngwie submitted to them. My guess is if there is another record for Spitfire, it will have a well known producer at the helm. This is just plain bad. For starters, the mix is a nightmare, with Mark Boals' normally great vocals lost so far into the background they sound hollow. The rhythm section sounds muddy and bogged down in sonics and on a few tracks, the chorus' harmony vocals run rough shot all over the place. On Bad Reputation it actually becomes funny. Basically the album sounds like a bad demo at best.
The music is generally Yngwie being Yngwie. Nothing surprising and nothing out of the ordinary, your typical lyrics, your typical 1000 notes a second, plus a semi-ballad and two instrumentals.
The songs are more melodic than the last couple of heavier albums, plus there is a touch of the Queen-chorus syndrome, where lots of over dubbed backing vocals and over the top harmonies are added. But with the dreadful production, the effect is lost completely.
Yngwie himself described Miracle Of Life as an awesome ballad. Bollocks. The vocals are again lost in the mix and the chorus is a shoddy combination of out of place guitar fretting and over the top harmony vocals that don't match the sentiment of the song. In fact there is no sentiment. The guitar solo plays out like a speed metal solo - hardly the place for it in a so called passionate ballad.
What little melody there is on this record is all in the vocals, which are barely audible.
The title track is typical of the album. The sound is so muddy, it sounds like it was recorded in a Louisiana swamp bog.
Could it get any worse? Yes - the last track is simply pointless...
BOTTOM LINE: You may be a guitar virtuoso Yngwie, but you can cross Record Producer off your resume. You should also re-enroll in songwriting school - learn to hold yourself back a little.
With such a comprehensive back catalogue, this fails to come up to scratch and will be a major let down for all fans of the Swedish guitar God.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Only the bravest Yngwie die hards.
DISCOGRAPHY:Rising Force . Marching Out . Trilogy . Odyssey . Trial By Fire Live . Eclipse . Fire & Ice . Seventh Sign . Magnum Opus . Inspiration . Facing The Animal . Concerto Suite . Live . Alchemy . War To End All Wars