Released: 2010, Rising Force
RELENTLESS caps an absolutely stunning decade for YJM. RELENTLESS is his 7th full-length studio album in 10 years, although two of those seven albums were an acoustic album and an album of rarities. RELENTLESS describes Malmsteen’s work ethic as well as this is his 33rd release overall and this being his 19th studio album. It’s hard to believe the Grammy nominated Guitar God has been going since the late 70’s with no signs of stagnation or slowing down.
Building strength upon strength RELENTLESS sees the return of Tim Owens on vocals for this fully packed 15 track, 68 minutes long album. The classic ‘Malmsteen-with-guitar’ cover art is in place and he has settled in nicely on his own label, putting out a quality package with lyrics, a few photos and so on. The set is divided pretty equally between instrumentals and vocal tracks.
Musically, Yngwie is on fire. Some of the songs range from straight-ahead rockers to pure, unadulterated shred. Check out the solos on ‘Shot Across The Bow’! His playing has never been more expressive or fluid. Overall this album is slightly heavier and faster than PERPETUAL FLAME. The songs are his classic simple framework in which to hang his many styles and tones of playing.
Ripper is in fine form, with Yngwie bringing out some of Owens best performances, pushing him to reach those dizzying vocal highs of his earlier career in Winter’s Bane. Speaking of vocals, Yngwie is not a bad singer at all. He has tried his hand at being lead vocalist for a song on several albums over the recent years, but his bluesy whiskey-drenched, drawl style does not really suite the blazing material contained within. His vocal contributions usually show up on a slower track, in this case it’s the song “Look At You Now”.
Some cynics and critics have derided his so-called ‘lack of progression’ however, when you define an entire style and help found a couple of sub-genres of metal those critical claims are fully unfounded. Yngwie has created his unique and instantly recognizable (and often copied) signature style and he stays with it. Some people say lack of progression, I say it demonstrates stability, tenacity, endurance and commitment to playing what he knows and loves. An artist can’t be accused of being unoriginal if that same artist created the art in the first place! Multi-talented, creative, focused and driven, Malmsteen truly is relentless.