Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy, aka the Joyful Gadfly! Musician, podcaster, writer, historian ... here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album is unique in some way. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yngwie Malmsteen ~ The Genesis (comp)


(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: power metal, instrumental, heavy metal, progressive
Label: Pony Canyon
year: 2002
Home: Florida

Members: Yngwie J. Malmsteen ~ guitars/bass/vocals/keyboards/drum programming
Zepp Urgard ~ drums



While YM may have broken through to the American mainstream via Alcatrazz with former Rainbow frontman Graham Bonnet, only to be replaced by Steve Vai while going on to be even more successful with his own group Rising Force, he had already been in the recording studio long before Alcatrazz ... perhaps to the surprise of some who see his career starting there. In a way it did. YM came to America after his demo tapes were heard by future Keel frontman Ron Keel. They rocked together briefly as Steeler before YM went off to Alcatrazz. But, back in his native Sweden YM had been playing around with local bands, recording on his uncle's private set-up, & developing his trademark neo-classical super technical style to the chagrin of anything else going on in the life a typical teenager. But, YM would never be typical. The Genesis gathers together some of those early recordings, done around age 17, including two instrumentals & two pieces hitting the twelve minute mark, including Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)". With titles like "Birth Of The Sun, "Plague In Lucifer's Mind", "Dying Man", "Black Magic Suite Op 3", "Merlin's Castle" & "Voodoo Nights" the influence of Deep Purple & Rainbow is obvious, but its never been a secret Richie Blackmore was a musical mentor. But, YM moved away from Blackmore like Blackmore moved away from the electric guitar, making their connection today seem tedious. As for the music itself on this compilation, yes, there's a bit of Blackmore. "Birth Of The Sun" is a standout track with a rolling bass line & could indeed come from the Deep Purple catalog, though YM is no Ian Gillen & its good he's not pursued his singing. "Dying Man" & "Black Magic" follows suit. While some listeners may not hear much of a difference between this & later recordings outside of some lower production quality, programmed drums & the fact that YM plays all the instruments & sings. But, there is a difference, albeit subtle. The desire for speed & power metal was always in YM's view. One of the criticisms is he has no feeling or subtlety or lacking focus in anything but a desire to impress. Everything must be fast, furious & relentless ... the later being the name of one of his latest albums. This album shows both the relentless Yngwie looking to impress (i.e. "Plague In Lucifer's Mind", "Merlin's Castle", "Voodoo Nights"), but is balanced by moments of overcrowded melodic emotional playing. It's an interesting array of playing. As for the two overly lengthy pieces, they are not as tedious as some YM cynics may believe, but highlights. YM takes Hendrix in the direction Stevie Ray Vaughn took him, or what would happen if the drugs were removed. In essence, compilation albums like this are essentially for fans. I actually love them. I think these compilations are better then when a band just sticks demos at the end of an album as bonus tracks. I like the fact that we're getting a view in on the past uninterrupted with new music. Of note, some of these tracks reappeared in a reworked form later in YM's career. One may wonder, given YM's notoriety as a perfectionist, why he would want to reissue these early tracks. The answer is simple when one realizes parts of the album were originally issued by bassist Marcel Jacob as Birth Of The Sun. The Genesis was later reissued with YM recording over all of Jacob's bass parts. Jacob formed Rising Force with YM, later to join Europe. While John Leven left Europe to join Rising Force, only for the two to switch back years later. Years later he would later replace Levin in Last Autumn's Dream. Jacob also played co-formed Talisman & Human Clay with original Rising Force vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. Jacob guested with Soto's band W.E.T. just before his death.


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