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Review: Yngwie Malmsteen - Alchemy
Yngwie Malmsteen

Label: Sony
Year released: 1999
Duration: 71:24
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: January 20, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating

Rated 3.92/5 (78.46%) (13 Votes)

Alchemy is Malmsteen's 10th studio album and it is more of what we've come to expect from him. Songs with great guitar playing armed with faster than light solos. However this is not necessarily a good thing because the songwriting is made to showcase Malmsteen's skills rather that the actual songs. When he complements the songs like in "Leonardo", which is the best song on the album, the band sounds awesome. When he dominates the song like in "Voodoo Nights", you are just waiting until the solo kicks in and the song gets old very quickly. This situation makes Alchemy an uneven record.

Another problem on this album is the excessiveness in it. Do we really need five instrumental songs, and three of them in a row? While "Blitzkrieg" and "Blue" are good ones, the wankery parts of the "Asylum" are not. Also Alchemy is over an hour long, making it a marathon to listen to. This would not have mattered if all the songs kicked ass, but unfortunately that is not the case. The production highlights Malmsteen's playing and that's what the fans want. The drums could have sounded more powerful. The bass will always follow the guitar, and the keyboards are nowhere to be found (except for the middle of "Legion of the Damned").

The musicians are good as is the case of people playing with Malmsteen, but special mention should go to Mark Boals. Making his third stint with the band, he shines tremendously on the record, he's a lot better here than on Trilogy. The screams and wails that he pulls on like in "Leonardo" and "Wield my Sword" will make your jaw drop. His vocal lines are also good given the fact that the choruses will stick in your head.

Alchemy is not Malmsteen's best album and it should not be treated as such. Mainly because he uses that derivative formula from the other albums that he has done. Still, this record is better than average and certainly better than other so called shredders have put out. This album is worthy of his name and it should be in the collection of any Malmsteen fan.

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