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Album Reviews : Yngwie Malmsteen – Spellbound: Live in Tampa

By on February 10, 2015

PromoImageWhat can be said about Yngwie Malmsteen which hasn’t been said already? Well, aside from the fact that he’s one of the most influential guitarists in modern history. Being one of the chosen few who founded and influenced the art of neo-classical shredding, and self proclaimed master of the Stratocaster. He’s also the only person on this planet to own more Ferrari’s than the entire Italian motoring company. The guy accentuates the hedonistic and over the top lifestyle of the 80’s and does so without restraint.

Yngwie Malmsteen returns with yet another blitzkrieg of guitar shredding live wizardry that will no doubt make the most eager young guitarist throw their guitar to the ground in shame, admitting they’ll never harness the immense skills locked in Malmsteen’s fingers, and eventually get a job in the illustrious world of fast food. But, I digress.

The new album, ‘Spellbound: Live in Tampa’ is a new live recording from Malmsteen’s latest touring escapades across America to promote his new studio album, ‘Spellbound’, which was released in 2012. The newly released live album is spread across 2CDs and a DVD with a great variety of tracks from Malmsteen’s early years in Rising Force, classic ballads like “Heaven Tonight” and “Dreaming” make an appearance, various acoustics and neo-classical shreds, and the now essential, “Arpeggios from Hell” and “Spellbound”, staples in Malmsteen’s discography which have become bragging rights to many when sharing videos of him on the internet.

The most obvious thing I noticed on the album, and no doubt you will too is vocalist, Nick Marino, who is also Malmsteen’s long time keyboardist. He possess a similar range to former vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, albeit a little rougher around the edges. Marino’s vocals aren’t terrible, but they aren’t that great either. His delivery definitely doesn’t fit into the scheme of things, especially when Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Iced Earth/ex-Judas Priest) fitted extremely well on Malmsteen’s last two studio albums. I’m unsure who gave the executive decision to choose Marino over “Ripper” on the tour, but it’s definitely an odd choice.

Without a doubt Malmsteen’s guitar playing is definitely the stand out attraction of the entire package. Each song is replicated perfectly from studio to live performance that it would be hard for some to tell the difference between the two. The one quality I admire about Malmsteen is that no solos are alike. Whatever you hear in the studio will be tweaked a little in a live performance, in which Malmsteen adds additional dashing qualities to each of his solos.

Another redeeming quality of this live experience is the drum work of Swedish born Patrick Johansson, who delivers some amazing drumming and cymbal work, and is quite possibly the most technical drummer to play alongside Malmsteen. His technical prowess has given many of Malmsteen’s old classics a much needed jolt of technicality in keeping up with Malmsteen’s immense speed.

The album has constant motion which rarely gives up steam. The entire live performance doesn’t waste any time, doing away with things like idle chitchat or spontaneous solos during breaks. Because let’s face it, Malmsteen will no doubt acknowledge the entire show is always one spontaneous solo. The album sticks to the meat and veg route and flows quite nicely.

Would I recommend this album to anyone? Yes, definitely! If you’re the borderline obsessed Malmsteen fan, you would have no doubt pre-ordered the ultra rare Japanese version before reading this review, so my words would be meaningless to you. However, for everyone else, it’s a good live album and a great retrospect into Malmsteen’s life of work. Regardless of Nick Marino’s average vocal delivery there is definitely some redeeming qualities to the album which I had a lot of fun with, and no doubt you will too.

Band: Yngwie Malmsteen
Album: Spellbound: Live in Tampa
Genre: Neo-classical Metal
Year: 2015
Label: Rising Force Records
Origin: Sweden


Anwar is the editor-in-chief of Metal When Anwar isn't busy promoting tours, interviewing bands and reviewing awesome music, he loves to collect metal vinyl and play video games. Follow Metal Obsession on Twitter and Facebook