Blue Lightning

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Mascot, 2019)

Karakter: 4/6

Yngwie album cover.jpgI will be the first to admit that my relationshop with Yngwie Malmsteen's discography is a rather troubled one. More often than not, I have found his records to be technically dazzling and utterly amazing with respect to what he is able to pull off on the guitar, but ultimately, the songs were a bore and lacked depth and substance. What is the fucking point in being able to perform blistering guitar solos in your sleep if your compositions do not move or tickle the imagination of the listener? How about this 2019 offering of his entitled "Blue Lightning" then? Well, it is a covers album containing such classics and staples as "Foxey Lady", "Purple Haze", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Smoke on the Water", and "Forever Man", just to list a few examples. Covering the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, and ZZ Top is not a bad idea as such provided you can add your own touch, style, and expression to them, which Malmsteen has certainly succeeded in doing here.

The album is off to a great start with the ferocious and compact title track only to turn into a borefest with the spiritless "Foxey Lady", but we are back on track when the inspired "Demon's Eye" (Deep Purple) hits us like a sledgehammer with its rumbling riffs and bone-crunching drumming. Yngwie is having a blast experimenting with the song and it shows. With a strong and utterly heavy rhythm section to boot, there is a lot to love about this one. ZZ Top's "Blue Jean Blues" is another delight and its solos and melodies are gorgeous. "Blue Lightning" does veer off-course at times and cuts such as "Purple Haze", "Paint It Black", and the aforementioned "Foxey Lady" all sound rather dreadful. Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is perhaps one of the more surprising choices, but frankly speaking, it leaves a lot to be desired and is let down by a weak vocal performance. "Smoke on the Water" is loud and heavy as fuck – a very cool rendition. Clapton's "Forever Man" is without doubt one of the highlights to be found on the disc and is utterly memorable.

Malmsteen's take on blues and classic rock is interesting and the album walks that fine line between being both respectful to the original compositions and yet sufficiently different too. It is not really essential or a must-have as such, but neither is it a forgettable vanity-project, so do me a favor and check it out because it does rock pretty damn hard in places and you might be surprised at how entertaining it is. If nothing else, make sure you check "Demon's Eye", "Forever Man", and "Blue Jean Blues" out as those are both marvelous and borderline infectious to listen to.

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