Friday, July 21, 2006
Followed by the greatest album cover of, well...at least 1986
When neo-classical guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen was ready to uneash his album "Trilogy" upon the world in 1986, he called upon the finest colored pencil artist he knew (probably a relative), and this was the result: Yngwie warding off a three-headed, fire-breathing dragon with his guitar. He doesn't appear to actually be playing the guitar, which is strange, because anyone who has heard Yngwie fry the frets knows that he could indeed defeat a dragon in such a manner. No, instead Yngwie (pronounced Ing-vay) is simply holding the guitar aloft, which the artist would have us believe is enough to thwart Fafinir the Mighty Dragon of the Isles*. How fake is that?
*I decided to name the dragon
For those of you who are unfamilar with Mr. Malmsteen, he was some weirdo from Sweden or somewhere like that who played the guitar super-fast and suposedly mixed in "classical" elements. It was kind of a trend (albeit a sad one) in the mid 80's, aimed at the discerning metal head who had tired of simplistic, snarling riff-rock but still liked dragons. But perhaps the mysterious entity known as "Guitarimonicus" can put it best. Thus, here are some excerpts from his user review from amazon.com:
"Yngwie can be described as an amalgamation of metal, blues, and classical mixed together to present a heterogeneous style that is unique and appreciable."
"I just saw him live last weekend and can say that his finger speed in person is dazzling. Scalloped frets or not, he can play blindingly fast anywhere on the guitar, and the cleanliness of both his picking and fingering hands while he plays above the 12th fret is simply amazing."
"Any guitarist who bashes Yngwie as merely a shredder (a complete misnomer) needs to consider switching to a more suitable instrument, perhaps the lute."
Dang. I believe I was just insulted by a guy named "Guitarimonicus."
I should add that I actually saw this guy in concert in Milwaukee back in 1987. I was working at a record store at the time, and got free tickets from a label rep because a friend of mine loved this kind of shit. What's more, we had front row seats. I shit you not. At one point Yngwie pointed at my friend (who didn't sit down the entire time) and then launched into a hilariously fast, super-long solo. I think my friend shot his wad right then and there. The whole scene was strange and more than a little retarded (I was not into this kind of music at all), and the thing I remember the most was that the venue held about 1,500 people, and even though it was full, there was only about 6 women there.
Thus endeth my neo-classical metal tale.