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Swedish Guitarist Yngwie J. Malmsteen's "Fire and Ice" Album Review

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Fire and Ice shows the evolution and creativity of Yngwie J. Malmsteen

Swedish guitar playing sensation Yngwie Malmsteen has had a career dating back to the late 1970s. When you are in the music business for that long, you obviously develop and mature as a musician. In the 1990's, Yngwie became especially more of a hard rock style musician in addition to his fast solos and neoclassical elements. This is especially true with his 1992 release Fire and Ice. Although I will say that he adopted a heavier guitar sound as the decade progressed. A mostly instrumental type of album early in his career has been replaced with album after album of mostly songs with vocals. This article was originally written to include a two CD review covering much of the early to middle part of Yngwie Malmsteen’s career in the 1990's. Fans of the Swedish band Europe will like this album. Fire and Ice still has the keyboard element in it that lets the listener know that this is a hard rock kind of album. We will now focus on just analyzing the album Fire and Ice as it is now over 30 years since the album was released. However, Fire and Ice is not good enough to be considered a timeless classic but it is still a good album even by Yngwie Malmsteen’s standards.

Who performs on the album Fire and Ice?

The album is the second and last album featuring Goran Edman as the lead vocalist. Bo Werner plays the drums except on the song “Leviathan.” On that song, Michael Von Knorring performs the drums. The album has 14 songs for a total of 64 minutes. This includes 3 instrumental tracks including the first track called “Perpetual.”

A Brief Analysis of the album Fire and Ice

This is a great way to start off the album with the song Perpetual and shows Yngwie’s full talents. The song ends with the lead guitar fading into the background as keyboardist Mats Olausson finishes off the song in good fashion. The next song called Dragonfly is a really substandard and low quality rock song. Teaser is a decent rock kind of song and it is better than the previous song. It has now been over 28 years since the release of Fire and Ice. Time sure goes by fast. But that does not mean that Yngwie has lost his desire or talent to play music. This is true also with the song Leviathan as Yngwie dazzles the listener with his at first slow guitar playing. The song builds as we are treated to an interesting sound in this song. Other good songs in this album are “How Many Miles To Babylon,” “No Mercy,” and the great ballad type song called “I’m My Own Enemy.” How Many Miles to Babylon has a beautiful classically influenced theme to it which makes it have some sort of enchanting and powerful feel to it. The song is actually about people and most of us who search for that Holy Grail, the biggest objective in our life only to find out that we are farther away from that than we thought. It becomes an endless search for perfection. Don’t aim for perfection but aim for excellence is what I can say. We see a slight return to the 1980’s sound with the song called No Mercy. The song has a classical part that is from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and this time change is rather unexpected and just strengthens the song instead of weakening it. Fire and Ice starts with some impressive lead guitar play that we have seen with this Swedish virtuoso guitarist over the years. The song is about life being a constant race to battle against what is seen as a very lonely kind of world where people will try to bring others down using their deception. The song I’m My Own Enemy is a very good power ballad that is about someone having a destiny of sabotaging themselves. They regard themselves as their own enemy and they go to bed at night realizing that their thoughts are in their head unable to leave. Sometimes with the choices we make in life, we become our own worst enemy and we may not realize it until later when the damage is done. The song All I Want is Everything is a song about a man who feels that he has so much influence and power that he can buy a woman’s affection. To his surprise, the woman only ignores his advances. Not everyone can buy a woman’s affection and if we could, would that relationship even be worth it?

"No Mercy"

Overall, Fire and Ice is one of Yngwie’s average releases. However, this “down” moment would only be temporary and he would finish off the decade of the 1990’s in impressive fashion.

Final thoughts about the album Fire and Ice

For the time period that this album was written it is a pretty good CD. The cons are the less than stellar production and the fact that the album suffers a bit in the songwriting department with a few of the songs. It is not a bad album but there is just not enough high quality songs to be considered a truly great album. There are more decent than bad songs in the album overall though. The album gets a 70 out of 100 points rating. This album may be slightly worse than his previous release in 1990 called Eclipse. Yngwie would then go on to release “The Seventh Sign” in 1994. With that release, there is a new vocalist in Michael Vescera, famous for his time spent with the Japanese rock band Loudness and many others.

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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