YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - Blue Lightning (2019)


The deluxe edition of Yngwie Malmsteen’s new CD comes with a drinks coaster. I recommend sticking to the regular version and just use the disc instead. Yes, it’s that time of the year again, where we get to investigate Yngwie’s latest musical offering – this time he’s tackling “the blues”.

I’m not sure which blues he speaks of – this record has as much in common with the Mississippi Delta or the origins of blues based rock as Steve Perry is to gangsta rap. Look, I know it’s fun to read a bad review and especially one aimed at Yngwie – but it’s not without cause.

This album continues the muddy mess that has been every record in recent years where Yngwie is in control of playing, producing and mixing. It’s just bloody awful. The opening title track has wall to wall rhythm with bass reduced to sounding like a distant foghorn dipped in crude oil.

There’s no space between instruments and the relentless double kick drum on just about every damn song is completely out of place. Much like Yngwie playing the blues. Just check out Foxey Lady. Widdling intro, brain damaging bass thumping and thrash like double kick drum speed while Yngwie’s “vocals” and continual widdling travel along at half the speed.

Doesn’t anyone ever say “dude, this ain’t right?”It’s the same with Purple Haze. Widdle, thump, widdle, thump, wail, widdle – all at double the sensible tempo.How about the utterly classic While My Guitar Gently Weeps – the beautiful, gentle, restrained masterpiece of subtlety and style? Widdle, thump, widdle widdle, wail, double-widdle, triple-widdle.There is zero soul on this album. Yes Yngwie can play like a BMF.

Yes, he can widdle faster than the speed of taste, yes he used to be an essential purchase when actually using a producer, a vocalist, a bassist and a drummer (a real band that is).

Until he employs a modicum of self-restraint and self-awareness (and a vocalist and a producer etc etc), then I will be here to critique these albums honestly. And honestly, this is more of the same.I’ll score this a 22 – the same number of years since the last great Malmsteen record.