REVIEW: Yngwie J. Malmsteen – Inspiration (2 CD reissue)

FLAMING TURDS

“Flaming Turds” artwork courtesy of SARCA at CAUGHT ME GAMING.  Thanks Sarca!

What better way to end the WEEK OF FLAMING TURDS than with a covers album?!  Thanks for joining us this week for some very questionable music!

Scan_20160317YNGWIE MALMSTEEN – Inspiration (1998, 2000 Spitfire 2 CD reissue)

“Woah!” said I upon spying this album for the first time, back in 1998 at the big HMV on Yonge St.  “Yngwie did a covers album!  Scorpions, Rainbow, Rush, lots of Purple…I’m in!”  For some reason, I thought that updated versions of some of my favourite songs redone by Yngwie Malmsteen would be something I’d want to hear all the time.  Eagle Rock did a reissue of Inspiration a couple years later with some bonus tracks out of the Yngwie archives, so when that one came in used at the Record Store, I swapped up for it.

Now, you might think that with such vocal luminaries as Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Lynn Turner, and Mark Boals, it would be hard to miss.  You would be wrong.  It’s impressive that all three guys served as lead vocalist for Yngwie in the early years, and returned for the covers album.  Beyond that, this album is still a turd.  Right from the orange-skinned Yngwie turd cover art, to the ghastly version of “Manic Depression” that Yngwie sings himself, this album is dreadful.  Just a real haul to try and listen to in one sitting.

Yngwie insists on producing all his music, and he has managed to make Jeff Scott Soto sound dull, sterile and boring.  No mean feat.  “Carry On Wayward Son” (Kansas) is an excuse for Malmsteen to over-shred, but Soto is not given a chance to do anything.  Even though Yngwie’s version of the song is actually shorter, it sounds way longer.  A simply atrocious “Pictures of Home” is given to Joe Lynn Turner to sing; kind of obvious since he was actually in Deep Purple for a few minutes.  How did they get drums to sound this bad?  The Blackmore obsession continues with “Gates of Babylon” (Rainbow) and even more Purple:  “Mistreated”, “Demon’s Eye”, and “Child in Time”.  Yes, that makes half of this covers album a Ritchie Blackmore covers album.  “Gates of Babylon” is pretty good, Soto finally unleashed, but then Yngwie shits all over it with a guitar solo that is way louder than the lead vocals!

Gates of Babylon

Gates of Babylon

The best things about these remakes could be the keyboard of Jens Johansson: not trying to copy Jon Lord in any way, but certainly a fun player to listen to if you’re into the neo-classical.  Unfortunately even he can’t save some of these tracks.  “Child in Time” is truly awful, simply not worth listening to.  Why waste eight minutes on this when you can play the original?  On the brighter side, a heavy version of “In the Dead of Night” by the progressive rock supergroup, U.K. is pretty good.  It’s a song you may recognize (I knew it from somewhere), but perhaps the reason I dig Yngwie’s version is that the original isn’t ingrained in my mind.    Mark Boals sings it, and his voice is strong and ripping!

Then we have the bonus CD.  (The Japanese version of the CD has a bonus track, Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic”, but I don’t care.)  The best track on this disc is the song “Voodoo” from Yngwie’s album Magnum Opus.  Mike Vescera was the singer, and I always liked his era in Malmsteen.  It’s a heavy original tune with buckets of drama.

The balance of the bonus CD is a mixture of early Yngwie rarities and interviews…mixed together.  Meaning you don’t get actual full songs.  You get bits of songs and then Yngwie talking about the album and the music that inspired him, including Paganini.  I really hate when songs are chopped up like this.  The interview is not riveting but is good.  Childhood musical memories, early bands, and influences are notable topics.  Yngwie’s preoccupation with his own playing is fascinating.  He calls it an “obsession” and it’s clear from his work that he plays only to please himself.  And that’s just dandy.

Inspiration as a whole is overplayed, sonically sterile, and comes across as completely uninspired.  When Yngwie overplays on his own originals, that’s OK.  That’s the way the songs were written.  When you go nuts soloing all over “Sails of Charon” (Scorpions), all the listener really wants is to hear the sultry, original tones of Uli Jon Roth.  Inspiration is still a chore to finish, and it’s now going back on the shelf for a very long time.

1/5 stars

 

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40 comments

  1. Talk about deja vu! I was just listening to the album “Looking for Action” by Kuni, which features Jeff Scott Soto on lead vocals. That album reminds me how good his vocals really are, so Yngwie must have really hashed things up here. My advise, Yngwie, keep to playing and let someone else produce!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t forget, Yngwie’s best vocalist ever, Mats Levén is the singer on that as well. So, nope, not Vescera on that one. Thank God…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Saw this lineup live (minus Cozy of course, who had recently died) in the basement of Nottingham Rock City playing to barely 40 people, one of which was Whitesnake’s Neil Murray! They were so good I ended up travelling to Amsterdam to see them at a proper venue with a few hundred fans which was much better. I agree with Jompa; Levén was a star! \m/\m/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. He still is, Philip. He still is… ;-)

          What a pair Neil and Cozy were. Man, Neil Murray is the best damn bass player ever

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I kind of like this album. There are some really good covers on this one – Gates Of Babylon, Sails Of Charon, Mistreated, Demon’s Eye, Carry On Wayward Son. But you’re right about Child In Time, he pretty much raped that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But. The cover that you see here is not the original one. For some reason, Malmsteen re-released a whole bunch of albums with new covers. The original one is way better.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I mean the cover I posted above might not be a Rembrandt, but it sure beats him sitting on Stonehenge. A five year old could have done a better job with that one.

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  3. I would have bought this based on the talented players involved and the song choices. Although I may have questioned 5 Blackmore songs. Why not do a complete album or EP of Blackmore?
    Too bad ego and poor production got in the way here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Didn’t you ever hear the riddle? How many Yngwie Malmsteens does it take to change a light bulb?
      Answer:: 21, One to change the light bulb and 20 to find out how Ritchie Blackmore would have done it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. When I think of Yngwie I think of the Trilogy album which I like! Eclipse had its moments as well but most of the time it’s just a overload of wanky doodle on the want band and a million notes being palyed per minute!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a great “best of” Yngwie CD and it’s perfect, like just flawless mix of early Yngwie, all the singers up to about 1991-ish. So you get a few Joe Lynn, a few Jeff Scott, and even the guy who came after Joe Lynn (name escapes me). But all very good hard rock. Having said that — 60 minutes of Yngwie gives me ear fatigue, and I need to listen to something soft afterwards.

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