War To End All Wars
Released: 2000, Spitfire Records
In one sentence - another amazing CD from THE guitar god but a very small step down from Yngwie's 1999's Alchemy CD. It's still way better than the luke-warm received Facing The Animal (1998). This album proves to me that Yngwie is back playing what we all love him for. When I first heard the CD I thought the production was a bit weird. The rhythm guitar sound is muddier than usual and the drums sound is very raw. The vocals are not as up in the mix as they should of been in places. After I got used to it I kinda forgot about the production (which was done by Yngwie apparently). After the recording of War To End All Wars vocalist Mark Boals left the "band." That's unfortunate, because I consider him to be the best vocalist that Yngwie has recorded with so far. For those who lost count, this is the THIRD time that Mark has left the band. The first was in 1986 after Trilogy, the second in 1996 after the recording and tour for Inspiration...and now after re-joining in 1999 and putting out Alchemy and this CD he's gone again. Pretty messed up huh?
Anyway, on to the music on the CD. Take a deep breath, cause I'm gonna rant on most of the songs here because as you may know I am guilty of worshiping Yngwie haha!!! "Prophet of Doom" begins this 14 track CD. The interesting thing about this is that it contains a cool Paganini section near the 3:00 mark (I'm almost positive that melody is Paganini) then in comes the solo...holy shit, Yngwie is amazing. I still get blown away by his playing even though I've been listening to him since the early 80's. To anyone who thinks that Yngwie is about guitar masturbation or all technique and no feel...FUCK YOU. Those people have no clue about music at all. The reason why I still love his playing all these years later is not just because he shreds, but because it's done with passion and feeling. "Crucify" is an excellent song with a classic sounding Malmsteen riff. This is the one where you can hear the sitars - pretty cool and something you wouldn't normally expect from Yngwie. Thankfully the sitar is not overpowering but adds to the song's feel. "Catch 22" begins with another excellent opening riff, this song could of been on Trilogy. There's another solo section in this song that is breathtaking. Some cool double kicking drums are also to be found in this one. "Masquerade" has a memorable chorus, very melodic. The beginning of the solo on this one sounds like something he's done before. I realize that Yngwie has a few of his favorite runs that you can hear him use in different places (as do ALL guitarists). However, the intro to this solo sounds like it's note for not something I've heard him do elsewhere...oh well, it's still god-like. No one plays arpeggios quite like this guy, and that is again shown on the track "Arpeggios From Hell." This is the type of shred-fest that leaves a puddle of drool on your chest. It's one of the better instrumentals that he's done. This song also has some cool bass in it - not something you normally think much about when listening to Yngwie. In fact, the bass on this one stands out so that I'm wondering if it's Yngwie playing it himself...oh wait it is Yngwie. He does all lead, rhythm, bass, acoustic, sitar and some vocals on this CD! Next up is "Dreaming", oops wrong album...but it's very close in feel and style. The song here is "Miracle of Life" which is apparently about Yngwie's feelings about growing older, having a son, raising a family...etc. So no, not all songs are "fantasy" based. In fact, the only fantasy song on here is "Wizard." "Prelude" is an intro, as the title might suggest. This one is a classical piece - all Yngwie and the orchestration parts - more in line with his Concerto Suite work. This makes way for "Wild One" with a chorus that sounds more like hard rock and then the typical thundering verses in the song. "Tarot" is another very classic sounding Yngwie song that starts out slow and plodding (not hard to see where Memory Garden got some of their influence is it??? Big Time!!!!!). "Instrumental Institution" is the second full instrumental piece on the CD. This one has some keyboard solos with the guitar. this is something that hasn't been done this cool by Yngwie since keyboardist Jens Johansson departed from the band. "War To End All Wars", the albums title track, has an excellent chorus featuring some great vocal work by Mark Bolas. Again you can tell that it's Yngwie on bass. I prefer him playing all the bass lines because no one plays it like that or with as many killer bass runs. The last track on the CD is an abomination. It's aptly called "Black Sheep of the Family." It's a reggae tune that was meant as a joke. Yngwie playing reggae?!?! I see the humor in the idea, but I couldn't even listen to the song it sucked so bad.
Yngwie composed ALL these songs himself along with all the lyrics. He also produced this CD. According to the bio, all the solos on this CD are improvised. Yngwie says "I would say roll tape, and I'd just go crazy, and that's how the solo's were done." I wonder if he's able to remember what he did when he plays live? Or does he just go for live as well? Either way, there is an undeniable force running through this guy....a talent that only a few can come close to but in my opinion no one matches!