MORE is MORE
Guitar Player|November 2021
Yngwie Malmsteen takes his neoclassical shred to new extremes on Parabellum.
MARK McSTEA

WHEN YNGWIE MALMSTEEN spoke with Guitar Player earlier this year to reveal how he composed “Far Beyond the Sun,” his signature song, it was clear that his love for the 1984 track was practically eclipsed by his enthusiasm for his latest creation, Parabellum (Music Theories Recordings). “It is extremely neoclassical,” he said of the new album. “People will think I’ve lost my mind. It is like my Concerto” — 1998’s Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor Op.1 — “but metal. I went totally over the top.”

Malmsteen has often liked to joke that as far as he is concerned, “more is more,” and the new album exemplifies that philosophy in spades. “What is exciting is when something comes to me, makes me think, Wow! and then I go straight to record it,” he says. “The new album is full of those moments.”

Now that Parabellum has been released, it’s clear that his enthusiasm was not misplaced. For fans of the neoclassical metal style Malmsteen pioneered, if not downright invented, Parabellum is the album of their dreams, packed with the Swede’s trademark arpeggios, pedal tones and insanely fast scale runs, but without ever letting technique take precedence over musical content. The album will not convert non-believers, but Malmsteen is only concerned with the integrity of his music. The global shutdown of live music in 2020 allowed him to bring an intense focus to the recording process, and that has resulted in him delivering one of the strongest releases in his catalog.

Interviewing Yngwie for the release of Parabellum, it was clear he was filled with excitement about the album and how his hardcore fan base will respond to it. Malmsteen takes nothing for granted, and as far as he’s concerned, he’s making some of the best music of his career.

Parabellum is possibly your most full-on neoclassical album. Was it a deliberate statement of intent, a way of embracing your style?

Although that’s what it turned out to be, I didn’t plan it like that. It was just a very natural thing for me to do. For so many years when I was young, I worked on arpeggios and scales in much the same way that many guitarists work on blues scales or whatever. As a result, whenever I play something, it automatically sounds like me. With Covid and the cancellation of tours, I had a lot of free time, and that gave me the chance to bring a laser-like intensity to the recording process. My approach to the album became extremely focused, which can be both good and bad. There is always a danger of being overanalytical, which is something I really strive to avoid. What you hear is what you get, ultimately. This album is exactly who I am, and I’m extremely happy with it. It’s like I’ve gone full circle back to when I was 15 and had no distractions to interfere with my playing. That was what last year was like for me.

Given how well it turned out, would you intentionally use the same method again?

I’m fully confident that I can work around touring commitments to deliver a great album in the future. Trilogy [from 1986] was the last time I recorded with so much time blocked out purely for the recording process, but I think the intervening albums have all been strong, even though I often had to record between tours or whatever. I think you just adapt to whatever circumstances you find yourself in. I’m pretty flexible. I don’t have to lock myself into certain ways of doing things.

What were some of the advantages of working so intensely on Parabellum?

I could put the stuff on and listen to it in the car and get ideas for different tempos or approaches. I might have a track that I didn’t think was working, but then I’d listen to it again a couple of days later while I was driving, and I’d hear something that I really liked and that maybe I could change. I had the time to review what I’d done and live with the tracks — the luxury of time to let the music evolve and develop.

Did you play everything on the album?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GUITAR PLAYERView All

FAME – Live Forever

With a history that includes the Allman Brothers, Aretha Franklin and Jason Isbell, FAME Studios makes plans for a bright and very long future.

10+ mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

Dawner Prince – Pulse

Editor's Pick

3 mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

David Crosby – Wooden Ships

As he sets off on new acoustic adventures with For Free, David Crosby delivers insights into the guitars and tunings of his classic period.

10+ mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

Brother To Brother

From Duane’s earliest sessions to Gregg’s last, FAME remains hallowed ground for Allman Brothers history.

9 mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

MY CAREER IN FIVE SONGS

Hammond B-3s and cowbells! Mark Farner reveals the genesis of classic tracks from Grand Funk Railroad.

9 mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

How I Wrote…“Keith Don't Go”

Nils Lofgren reveals the roots of his 1975 ode to Keef.

4 mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

Live Wires

In 1971, a band of unknown southern rockers found fame — and lost their leader. This is the story of the Allman Brothers Band’s landmark album, At Fillmore East, Duane Allman’s last and greatest musical statement.

10+ mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

THE ROBINSONS' AFFAIR

Rich and Chris Robinson put aside their ongoing feud for a Black Crowes tour, only to be sidelined by the pandemic. At long last, they’re shaking their money maker once again.

10+ mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

TEMPLE OF TONE

John Hiatt and the Jerry Douglas Band record Leftover Feelings at Nashville’s country music shrine.

10 mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021

Stageworthy Strategies, Pt. 5

Understanding acoustic amps.

3 mins read
Guitar Player
October 2021
RELATED STORIES

VIRGINIA EXPECTS $2B IN PUBLIC-PRIVATE BROADBAND FUNDING

Virginia has received a record number of local and private sector applications to match state investments in broadband connectivity and the state expects more than $2 billion in total broadband funding, Gov. Ralph Northam announced this week.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

RIGHT ON CUE: NBA FINDS HIGH TECH OPTION FOR VIRUS TESTING

If so inclined, an NBA player could now test himself for the coronavirus and get results on his phone in no more than 20 minutes.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

RIGHT ON CUE: NBA FINDS HIGHTECH OPTION FOR VIRUS TESTING

If so inclined, an NBA player could now test himself for the coronavirus and get results on his phone in no more than 20 minutes.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
October 22, 2021

NEW COVID THREAT: BREAKTHROUGH CASES!

Vax didn’t protect them from illness & even death

2 mins read
National Enquirer
October 25, 2021

AMAZON TO ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO WORK REMOTELY INDEFINITELY

Amazon said it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #520

GUIDE TO OPEN ENROLLMENT

Health care costs continue to climb, but subsidies will make some plans more affordable.

10+ mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
November 2021

AN INTERESTING OPEN SIGHT

LIGHT GUNSMITHING

5 mins read
Rifle
November - December 2021

Home on the Greens

Golf-driven real estate is finally getting out of the rough.

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 20, 2021

Building Community Through Education

KIRAN BIR SETHI is changing the experience of childhood in Indian cities through her education curriculum and initiatives to build healthy relationships between students and their communities. Here she is interviewed by KASHISH KALWANI.

10+ mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
September 2021

Are Vaccine Mandates Justifiable?

Some call them reasonable public health measures, while others say they are an un-American invasion of privacy

6 mins read
Newsweek
September 10, 2021