Yngwie Malmsteen, Parabellum (Music Theories Recordings 2021)

Heavy Metal guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen brings forth his twenty-first solo album, Parabellum.

Trilogy (1986) was the first Yngwie Malmsteen album I ever heard. That is his third album, I found out after being blown away by his playing, following Rising Force (1984) and Marching Out (1985). I have never missed one since. Endlessly prolific, his previous album was Blue Lightning in 2019 and it was an incredible achievement. The new one is even better.

Sometimes compared to Ritchie Blackmore, Malmsteen does draw inspiration for classical music, like Blackmore does, and you can clearly hear it in his compositions. Malmsteen’s playing, however, is unrivaled and can be held up to anybody at the top of your list. His execution is impeccable, flawless.

There are ten tracks on Parabellum. I always look for the instrumental songs first because I want to be amazed and astounded by Malmsteen’s playing. You don’t really have to do that because there is astonishing guitar work in every song whether there are vocals or not. Still … my favorite tracks are “Presto Vivace in C# minor” and “(Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum,” both instrumentals. I get completely lost listening to them, immersed in the miraculous guitar.

More radio-friendly (but not very friendly) songs include “Wolves At The Door” and “Relentless Fury,” both released early as singles from the album and both having vocals for broader appeal. They are great songs with killer shreds. There are also slower pieces, such as “Eternal Bliss,” to go along with the ragers ( like “Toccata”) for when you are in a more introspective mood. Something for everybody, you might say, as long as everybody wants to hear metal guitar music.

Let me say it again: every track has peerless guitar performances regardless of what else might be happening in the song. Malmsteen has not lost any energy or ingenuity as the years have passed on. My esteem grows for him and his music with each new record. Highly recommended.

Parabellum is out now. Tap the link to the Mascot Label page to see the available varieties and merch.

Links.

Website, https://www.yngwiemalmsteen.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/officialyngwiemalmsteen/

Mascot Label Group, https://usa-store.mascotlabelgroup.com/collections/yngwie-malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen, Parabellum (Music Theories Recordings 2021)

Earthless, Live In The Mojave Desert (Giant Rock Records 2021)

Volume 1 of the Live In The Mojave Desert albums is the Earthless set and it is a nova.

The Live In The Mojave Desert project gathered five bands in a remote location, recorded live sets and filmed the isolated performances. The model for this was Pink Floyd’s famous Live At Pompeii, which had no audience. In addition to Earthless, the other bands are Nebula, Spirit Mother, Mountain Tamer, and Stoner, all getting video and audio releases.

Earthless is Mario Rubalcaba (drums), Isaiah Mitchell (guitars), and Mike Eginton (bass). I started listening to them for their long-form instrumental rock/metal compositions. More recently they have occasionally included vocals. The music is desert groove, heavy psych mystical guitar-laden jams. It is the kind of thing that can really take you away.

The set includes three songs, “Violence Of The Red Sea” (16:52), “Sonic Prayer” (21:02), and “Lost In The Cold Sun” (39:09). If you are an Earthless fan then you have heard these all before, especially “Sonic Prayer.” You also know, if you’re a fan, that every time the band plays a song you have heard before it is different – the familiarity is there, important segments and melodies and movements, and still it is new and different. Every time. That is one of the main reasons why I listen to Earthless so often. I know the music and it is always new. Highly recommended.

Nuclear Blast Records is in charge of the digital and the physicals come from Giant Rock Records. There are many different versions out there. I suggest watching the video in addition to listening because seeing the performance is in line with the original intention of the project and I believe it enhances your experience. If you want a keeper for the video, a blu-ray edition is being produced.

Band photo by Atiba Jefferson.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://earthless.bandcamp.com/

Earthless website, https://www.earthlessofficial.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips

Giant Rock Records, https://www.liveinthemojavedesert.com/

Streaming links, https://earthless.bfan.link/live-in-the-mojave-desert

Earthless, Live In The Mojave Desert (Giant Rock Records 2021)

Bernth, Elevation (2021)

YouTube guitar virtuoso Bernth releases his first solo instrumental metal album, Elevation.

Bernth is Bernd Brodträger, a well-known guitarist who has played for many bands and done a lot of studio work. He has become extremely well known due to the popularity of his YouTube channel. His background is firmly rooted in extreme and heavy metal, and he can play absolutely anything on guitar.

I started listening to instrumental rock guitar back at the beginning of my musical interest when I heard Frank Zappa’s Shut Up ’N Play Yer Guitar. Zappa became my favorite guitarist then and he will always be my favorite. It’s a formative thing. Hearing Zappa perked my ears up to other instrumental guitar, and the next one I heard that made a big impact on me was Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien. It blew my mind. And then Steve Vai (because he had played for Zappa).

So, since way back then I am looking out for metal and rock instrumental music. The new Bernth album is right up my alley. The playing is unassailably impeccable and practically unbelievable. There is no question that Bernth rises above any standard you’d care to set.

Pick any track from the nine on the new album and listen in amazement. Both electric and acoustic (mostly electric) music, at times delivered at astonishing speed. But of course it is not all about the speed. There are infectious melodies and memorable riffs along with the ravaging lead work. Since it is all instrumental music the guitar does the singing, too, and truly I don’t miss the lyrics or voice at all. The variety of the music keeps you interested and engaged throughout. It is a lot of guitar, of course, so you have to be wanting that to listen in. If that is you then don’t let this one pass by. Recommended.

Elevation is out tomorrow, May 14th. If you hit the Bernth store link below you’ll find many bundles of music and merch.

Links.

Bernth store, https://bernth.myshopify.com/

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/Bernthguitar

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/bernthofficial

Bernth website, https://www.bernth.at/

Bernth, Elevation (2021)

Heavy Trip, Heavy Trip (Burning World Records 2021)

Instrumental heavy psych trio Heavy Trip re-release a full-length album of succulent guitar delights.

That’s a mushroom on the cover, not weed. Make the appropriate adjustments.

The band is from British Columbia, I hear. Information about them is thin on the ground. A trio, according to the Bandcamp page, and there is photographic evidence of this. The music is amazing instrumental heavy psych guitar-based transcendence. The album is out in a new edition from Burning World Records following the success of its original release last year.

There are four tracks on the album, all of them absorbing, each one chewing at the edge of the infinite. If you think of the music of Earthless as a point of reference, that is not a bad place to start. Heavy Trip have their own unique ways, of course, their own path to the majesty of what is. It is Desert Doom Stoner Heavy Psych Mountain Metal music for the mind expanding crowd.

Here’s the deal: I like this album almost too much to comment on it. There are big riffs and heavy grooves, and the music is so lush it provides sustenance. My advice is drop everything and go listen to it right now. Highly recommended.

Heavy Trip is out already. Check out the band’s website, Burning World Records, or Bandcamp for the goods.

Links.

Website, https://heavytripdudes.com/

Bandcamp, https://heavytripdudes.bandcamp.com/releases

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTripDudes

Label, https://www.burningworldrecords.com/

Heavy Trip, Heavy Trip (Burning World Records 2021)

Aziola Cry, The Ironic Divide (Sensory Records 2021)

Chicago instrumental metal trio Aziola Cry release their first album in twelve years, The Ironic Divide.

The band is Jason Blake (Warr guitar), Mike Milaniak (guitar), and Tommy Murray (drums). That looks like two guitars and drums, which might lead us down the path of thinking that the sound will be a little hollow. Not at all. For one thing, Jason Blake is playing a Warr guitar which has a huge range (do a quick internet search on the instrument to find out how amazing it is), and besides that, the compositions themselves are designed to fill your ears with layers of sound and depths of meaning.

There is a story the musicians are working with, too, and it helps to know it going in because there is no narrative vocal. “The forty-eight-minute album features four songs which tell the story of one person’s final descent. There are two types of people in this world. There are those who do good for others and make a positive contribution to society in some way. Then, there are those who do evil and hurt fellow humans. There is no rationale behind their behavior. They are cowards. This is their story.”

Naturally, the music is guitar heavy, driven by riffs and vastly enriched through the expansion of the instruments in an impressive variety of approaches and applications. The longest piece is the title track at twenty one minutes, and the others are hefty as well. For me, though, I took it all in as one work rather than trying to assemble separated meanings or looking at it like a track-by-track chronology.

The music is ambitious and there is no mistaking this for something other than a metal album. Instrumental heavy metal has always fascinated me and I find it to be one of the best ways to imbibe in the form. This is my first pass at Aziola Cry and I am off now to listen to the earlier albums. You can concentrate on this music intently or have it instead surround you as part of your environment. Either way, it will soak in. Recommended.

The Ironic Divide hits the streets on March 26th in CD digipak or digital forms.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://lasersedge.bandcamp.com/album/the-ironic-divide

Website, https://www.aziolacry.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/aziolacrymusic

Label, https://www.lasercd.com/cd/ironic-divide-preorder

Aziola Cry, The Ironic Divide (Sensory Records 2021)

Clouds Taste Satanic, Cloud Covered (Kinda Like Music 2021)

The full album containing all the singles from the Satanic Singles project plus two new tracks has made its way to the earthly plane.

I have been telling you about this for months. A quick recap…

“This New York instrumental metal band is peopled by these fine persons: Steve Scavuzzo (guitar), Rob Halstead (bass), Greg Acampora (drums), and Brian Bauhs (guitar). For years on end they have been producing their unique brand of vocal-free doom (and doom-adjacent) heavy music, typically in long form. Recently they decided to shift gears a bit a put out a series of shorter cover pieces as singles, leading to a collection early in Spring.” The full collection is titled Cloud Covered and here it is now.

So, I have been waiting to hear these last two songs for some time. It was worth it. There are two duos, “Not Fragile” / “Free Wheelin’” from Bachman Turner Overdrive and “In the Flesh?” / “One Of these Days” from Pink Floyd. That is covering a lot of ground. The BTO pair is a down-and-dirty, no-shower-havin’ road trip and it is fantastic. The Pink Floyd double is more theatrical in the first place and more cerebral in the second. Very trippy, too, and the longest song of the ten in the series. If you are in an enhanced frame of mind when you listen to it, you will take flight.

It has been a good long trip and as glad as I am to see these last two bricks in the road get laid, I am also sad to see it end. But then there will be more music from Clouds Taste Satanic down the path and anyway let’s live in the now. Recommended.

There are vinyl, CD, and digital forms for this complete album. Even if you have the singles, picking up this album is a good decision.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://cloudstastesatanic.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/CloudsTasteSatanic/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/5QidF8yXlvTyGkDy24JImY

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvVu8mcXrE2eVjq_ApcGBmw

Overview Article on Clouds Taste Satanic, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/04/07/a-quick-look-at-clouds-taste-satanic/

Clouds Taste Satanic, Cloud Covered (Kinda Like Music 2021)

Profond Barathre, Tinnitus (Hummus Records 2021)

The third album from Switzerland’s Profond Barathe is an instrumental journey through a dark wonderland without a firm concept of edges.

The band is Joachim Braekman (guitar), Morgan d’Argenteuil (drums), and Julien Floch (bass). The first album they released was Un voile de poussière in 2008, followed the very next year by Snaar. There was a split a few years later with Rorcal and Malvoisie that included the massive passage “Illunis,” but mainly the musicians were occupied in other quarters during this while until recently. Tinnitus, then, has been a long time coming and is therefore eagerly anticipated by fans.

The album was recorded a couple of years ago and seeing release only now. There are five long tracks on it, each conveying a unique aspect. “Stella” is ominous, like the story of a plague creeping in before anybody knows it is there. It carries the hallmarks of doom. “Spiritus” has no delineated boundary in a form I can recognize. I do hear black metal nuances in there, intended or not. The music is more active than in the opening song, more directly penetrating.

“Anima” is the most solemn entry of the set, a harbinger of the future of man. “Corpus” is cold and poignant, a marker for all the music herein perhaps but exemplified partiularly in this incarnation. The final track is “Terra” and the music seems sung by a choir of forlorn entities as they slowly diminish into nonexistence. Listening to it a second time prompted me to start at the beginning and when I did I came away with an even stronger sense of the ethereal. However it all came to be, the music on this record is moving in ways both quiet and thundering. Recommended.

Tinnitus is available in full on Friday, February 26th and can be preordered now. Hummus Records has a couple of vinyl versions in extremely limited supply.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://profondbarathre.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profondbarathre

Hummus Records, https://hummus-records.com/

Profond Barathre, Tinnitus (Hummus Records 2021)

Nuclear Power Trio, A Clear And Present Rager review (Metal Blade Records 2020)

Just in time for the US presidential election, Nuclear Power Trio is here to bring world peace through instrumental metal music.

Just take a second to look at the cover image. Are you taking that seriously? I hope not. Obviously, this is a goof. Do you want to be even more confused? Check out the videos on YouTube. There they are, Vlad and Donny and Kimmy hamming it up for the camera and shredding. Wow. What in the world is this exactly? I am not sure, but the thing is, the music is excellent.

Who are the musicians? I don’t know, but if you do watch the videos, you can narrow it down quite a bit. I am not going to weigh in on identities because that is too much fun as a drinking game for next Tuesday. Let the speculation begin.

A Clear And Present Rager is a five song EP of heavy jazz/metal instrumental music and it is tight. The title track is the opener and it has a very Satriani vibe to it. All three principal instruments are mixed in to have a clear and noticeable presence: thick bass lines, fuzzy riffs and ripping leads, and punchy and rollicking drums. It pops. “Grab ’Em By The Pyongyang” is next and it starts with an acoustic intro, but the electric riff is hot on its heels. “The Fusion Collusion” offers a clippy percussive intro, while “Ukraine In The Membrane” has a more pensive opening statement that turns into a frantic search for meaning. “Mutually Assured Seduction” is the last call, and it is here where we piece together the wreckage of the evening and see what can be salvaged – hence the melancholy tone.

Even as this release is silly and is clearly trying to lighten up our lives during these dreadfully dreary days we all face, the music is crisp, challenging, and solid as a rock. It really is great instrumental rock.

Go get yours now, and play it loud on election night. Recommended.

Links.

Buy It From Metal Blade, https://www.metalblade.com/nuclearpowertrio/

Band wesbite, http://www.nuclearpowertriomerch.com

Band YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/c/NuclearPowerTrio

Band Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/nuclearpowertrio

Nuclear Power Trio, A Clear And Present Rager review (Metal Blade Records 2020)