Reviewed: August 2021
Released: 2021, Mascot
Fair warning: Yngwie J. Malmsteen is my favourite guitarist of all time. I have loved everything he has ever done so do not expect this review to be impartial, neutral, unbiased or have any sense of critical analysis.
I’ve written quite a few reviews of Yngwie albums and DVD’s for this site (16 to be exact) and I’ve given high mark’s to pretty much all of them. The last several studio albums of new original material I have given perfect scores to. The only reason BLUE LIGHTNING got 4/5 is because it was cover tunes and I’m not a huge blues fan.
I had a higher sense of anticipation for PARABELLUM because they had been almost six years since his last album of new original songs, WORLD ON FIRE came out back in 2015. This is the longest time between Yngwie albums.
PARABELLUM is his 22nd studio album and, depending how you count about 36th release overall. He is still with Music Theories which I believe is the guitar based specialty sub-label of Mascot Records. I bought the limited edition version which comes in a box with all sorts of extra stuff; stickers, guitar picks etc. It is housed in a clamshell box and the album is disappointingly a digipak. It comes with a decent 8-page full colour booklet with lyrics,liner notes , and lots of pictures of the maestro with his Ferrari’s and guitars. The cover art is a painting of just Yngwie’s face which is a bit different than the usual heroic pose with a guitar with lightning and fire.
The album is self-produced at his own 308 Studio in Florida as have been the last several and as always Yngwie does everything except the drums. The drums are credited to a Lawrence Lannerbach. There is some on-line debate as to who this is. Many folks known that Yngwie’s real last name is Lannerback, so is it his son? Another relative? A drum machine? Maybe we will never know. This may go down as one of life’s great mysteries and it will haunt me to my grave.
PARABELLUM is a fast, heavy album on par with WORLD ON FIRE. It is a slightly more streamlined album with ten songs, six being instrumentals. Yngwie refined his signature style quite early on and so if you are looking for some sort of progression or evolution you are missing the point. The title track is pure neo-classical shred as are many of the songs. The catchy lead-off single, ‘Wolves At The Door’ throws in some familiar classical flourishes making it a sure winner. The album soars from high to high. It was interesting to note there was very little acoustic guitar by his time around, making it a very ‘Metal’ album despite the maestros distaste for being labelled as such. We are treated to a very nice acoustically-tinged ballad with Yngwie on vocals called ‘Eternal Bliss’ , really the only slow moment on the entire record. The rest of time he shows us why he is the best. The epic instrumental cut ‘God Particle’ its the keyboards swashes and ambient soundscapes could have easily fit on on his Grammy nominated debut. There is not a weak moment.
Yngwie has outdone himself with yet another simply superb album ably demonstrating why he is my favourite.
Yngwie J. Malmsteen-All things.
1 Wolves at the Door
2. Presto Vivace in C# Minor
3. Relentless Fury
4. (Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum
5. Eternal Bliss
7. God Particle
8. Magic Bullet
9. (Fight) The Good Fight
10. Sea of Tranquility