The remarkable guitar pioneer and stratmaster extraordinaire YNGWIE MALMSTEEN will release his new album “Blue Lightning” on March 29th via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group.
The Swedish guitar genius was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Rock Instrumental” for his very first solo album titled “Rising Force”  and by 1998 had released eleven consistently compelling solo albums and embarked on his first attempt to incorporate the electric guitar within a classical concert environment. His “Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra” recorded in collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took the neoclassical metal of Ritchie Blackmore to its apotheosis.
Now, with the recording of “Blue Lightning” the maestro pays homage to the blues artists who contributed to the development of his creative character over his formative years: “I have always played around with old songs, both live and also in the studio…” he says. “I did a similar album called Inspiration a while ago (1996), and it was Mascot who came to me and suggested I do a Blues record...”
“I grew up in a classically trained family, and people know me for playing in what is called a neo classical style. But when I got a guitar for my fifth birthday, what I would try to emulate were John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers – I would jam along to what they did on record with Eric Clapton…”
“That’s something people don’t realize about me – I do have a strong interest in the Blues. So, when Mascot came to me with the suggestion of doing an album of songs in this style, it didn’t faze me at all. In fact, it seemed so natural…”
“There were songs that [I immediately] wanted to do. These were the likes of “Purple Haze” and “Smoke On The Water” which I have been playing since I was a kid. But […] I also went for something like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” [shared below] which I wasn’t sure I could do. In this case, it was about trial and error. I am delighted that I was able to do justice to the original.”
“When I was ten years old, I got Deep Purple’s Fireball album  which I have always thought was very undervalued. And the song that really killed me was ‘Demon’s Eye.’ And I was very keen to do it for the album…”
Right from the start of this disc, with the self-penned & whirling, vitriolic cyclone of a title track “Blue Lightning” this flaunts its “free” and “groovy” rhythms and the trademark Yngwie J stratocaster screaming — and you know this album is gonna be a sensational and rattling bombination of the senses.
So, after the Deep Purple cover “Demon’s Eye” [“sly, sly, sly… like a demon’s eye...] we get the impressive Malmsteen-penned rhythmic sledenhammer titled “1911 Strut” and named after the mass-produced “Colt Government” pistol (of which, apparently, the Swede is a fan.) This has a vital liveborn feel, and is entirely impulsive and spontaneous in its combustion.
“Sun’s Up Top’s Down” is a shiny counterbalance to the track “Top Down, Foot Down” [World on Fire, 2016] and clearly pays reverence to the cool favourites in Mr. Malmsteen’s collection of Ferraris. Like the growling cars in his Florida garage, this is an echoing thumper and a complete throttler.
The slow-tempo ballad “Peace, Please” doesn’t share the same blues heritage as its track-mates on the album… yet the song is played with the same melancholic, emotional power and expressive feeling; in fact, it absorbs and consolidates the kind of special empathy that came from the early founders of the blues. In this way it shares genuine attributes with the genre.
This is a buzzy, feel-good album of originals & covers with all the songs stamped with specially impressive and exuberant imagination & the type of magically free expression you only get with Yngwie.
Truly, a blues extravaganza!
Blue Lightning is out March 29, 2019. Pre-order here.
1. Blue Lightning
2. Foxy Lady
3. Demon’s Eye
4. 1911 Strut
5. Blue Jeans Blues
6. Purple Haze
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
8. Sun’s Up Top’s Downs
9. Peace, Please
10. Paint It Black
11. Smoke On The Water
12. Forever Man