Review: Yngwie Malmsteen – Relentless

For a time I used to dread new Yngwie albums because they seemed to be a collection of old riffs put together differently and feature little variation. Seeing him live over the years I got the impression that he gets fatter, faster and sloppier.
His newest release Relentless is a bit more original though uninspired at times. There are the arpeggios, there are the typical vocals, there are the keyboard walls and bass guitar. However, after two run-throughs I have yet to say, this is a cool song with a memorable hook.
Soundwise Relentless lacks the grandieur-tone which I would expect of Yngwie. It’s not as bad as Metallica’s St. Anger but would have been better with more polishing and better keyboard sounds. Interestingly, the guitar is not always omni-present, sometimes being left of center only and thus opposing keyboards.
In closing, I am not giving up on this one, it has some edges, something enticing. Maybe it will grab me. Or maybe it won’t and the newest Malmsteen I really dig will remain Seventh Sign…

Review: Jack Johnson – To the Sea

I am an old-school Jack Johnson listener, meaning I mainly listen to Brushfire Fairytales and On and On. The kids record and Sleep through the static not so much.
To the Sea feels like the direction is more with the old stuff, however, with a more refined instrumentation. There is an ever present piano/keyboard in the rhythm section and you’ll hear electric guitar solos. Song structures and melodies remind me of the early stuff though. I like this combination and enjoy listening to the record.