Sound — 10
Track listing: 01. Liar 02. Queen In Love 03. Deja Vu 04. Far Beyond The Sun 05. Heaven Tonight 06. Dreaming (Tell Me) 07. You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget 08. Guitar Solo (Trilogy Suite OP 5/Spasedo Blues) 09. Crystal Ball 10. Black Star 11. Spanish Castle Magic (LP Version) Malmsteen has been well renound for an arrogant, flashy guitar play that is vastly overrated when compared to other 'shredders' such as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, John Petrucci and Michael Angelo. One time considered to be 'the worlds fastest guitarist' he rips through arppegio's and sweep-picks through scales like no-ones business, and this CD is a perfect example of him not only playing the original material, but going above the call of duty with overblown pyrotechnics on his fret-board. Combining his heavy metal influences of Deep Purple with classical technique from Beethoven and Vivaldi, and then adding virtuoso performance comparable to Nicolo Paganini and Jimi Hendrix, Malmsteen is one of the most explosive guitarists out there. Malmsteen refuses to do things by halves, and always relishes a challenge. His choice of guitar (a Stratocaster with a scalloped fret-board) with its single-coil pickups means that his mistakes are heard somewhat more than others who vote for humbucker bound guitars. Whilst other 'shred' players will opt for more complex and extravagant models such as Ernie Ball, Ibanez, Dean and BC Rich guitars, Yngwie sticks with a relatively ordinary looking Strat, meaning that it's not looks that he needs to use to impress, it's his playing alone that makes jaws drop. As for the album itself, Malmsteen live is always interesting, and whilst those with 'an untrained ear' would consider him to be playing the same scales over and over again, the more experienced listeners will surely appreciate the fantastic playing that is showcased on this album. Fantastic tracks include Far Beyond The Sun, a song that is already epic in its proportion, and is added to by Malmsteen with a fantastic introduction that you won't hear on the original album the track appears. The cover of Jimi Hendrix's Spanish Castle Magic is also a very intriguing interpretation, in which Malmsteen pays homage to one of his biggest influences. But if it's all out over-blown fireworks from Malmsteen you want, then I highly reccomend his aptly titled 'Guitar Solo' track, also named 'Trilogy Suite OP5/Spasebo Blues'. The track is split into two completely different halves, one might even say that it's more split into the thirds. The first third is an onslaught of delay and reverb, with echoing guitars with screaming scales played at lightning speed. Vintage Malmsteen. Then, after a short pause, Yngwie enters into blues mode, a funky piece with simple backing that allows him to showcase his talents; despite this up-play on his skill by introducing a basic drum and rhythm section, his playing is suprisingly subdued. The final third includes sudden outburts, white hot licks that are stuttered out, much to the pleasure of the crowd, before a screeching (literally) finale that leaves you searching for your eardrums on the floor. Obviously, as it's live, the guitar-work that we are buying this album for is overshadowed ever so slightly by the adoring fans that are watching, but that said, for a live album, the actual sound of the music is fantastically clear.
Lyrics — 10
As is with Yngwie, there are a number of songs that are without lyrics, however, those that are with them are fantastic. The singing drips with '80s vibrato in the voice, with harmonising choruses and verses, the best example being on the track 'Heaven Tonight.' It's not the lyrics we're buying this album for if we're being completely honest, but the vocals are done very well. Regularly, Yngwie's writing of lyrics aren't exactly. Well, normal in any respects, just have a listen to 'I am A Viking,' but here it's a joy to listen to.
Overall Impression — 10
This is Malmsteen on top form, and whilst it may not compare to such albums as Rising Force and Fire and Ice, it's still a purchase more than worthy in anyones collection. From the cheesy front cover that has become mainstream with Malmsteen down to his crediting himself for almost every process on the album, It's noone else but Malmsteen you're looking at, and when you actually put the cd into the player and crank up the volume, it's noone else but Malmsteen you're listening to.