RELENTLESS-In Stores 11/23/10 (US)



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Interview and Photographs by: Brandon Marshall

Sonic Excess images and staff authored work are copy written and are not to be used without the written permission of the Editor(s). ©





 NGWIE MALMSTEEN, the original guitar hero, neo-classical mastermind and the ultimate shredder are just a few terms that you could use when referencing one of the worldís most skilled and technical musicians. The first time I listened to MALMSTEENíS guitar abilities, it was like nothing I had ever heard, a talent that cannot be matched to this day. When it comes to shredding and classical guitar, MALMSTEENíS discipline is mind blowing. With a whole new generation of aspiring musicians, thanks in part to video games, interest in guitar playing is at an all time high, and MALMSTEEN is becoming one of the most emulated musicians, frustrating  kids with the plastic guitars worldwide. On November 23rd, (US), YNGWIE MALMSTEEN will release his 19th studio album entitled Relentless, yet another masterpiece that would leave Johann Sebastian Bach scratching his head if he were alive today.

 "I have always been an extremist. I have always been someone who goes full out or nothing, and that goes for everything."

SONIC EXCESS: Congratulations on your 19th studio release, entitled Relentless. What is your proudest achievement with this new record? Did you challenge yourself in any new or different ways prior to writing and recording Relentless?


YNGWIE MALMSTEEN:  I picked up the guitar 40 years ago. One would think enough is enough, why would he top himself, or whatever, but I really did. I wasnít necessarily saying ďIím going to top everything think that I have done.Ē It was more of a burning passion. Itís weird; I donít understand it. I just pick up a guitar, and itís a fire. Thatís why I call the album Relentless, because I canít do anything half-assed; I just canít. It has to be full out or nothing, more is more. Some of the tracks on the record are pretty extreme.   The title track (Relentless) being one. Itís not all about guitar playing; it is also about composition and how to put it all together. I look at the record as a whole and not just one song. For instance, ďNight of the Vas OrderĒ, that is an instrumental. Then, you have for example, ďLook At You NowĒ that I sing on. They are very different, but they all function together as a whole.

SE: As you mentioned, the title Relentless is a reflection of your guitar abilityÖ


MALMSTEEN: No, I mean I am a relentless person. I am completely relentless in everything that I do. It doesnít matter what it is, and I have always been like that. I have always been a purest. I have always been an extremist. I have always been someone who goes full out or nothing, and that goes for everything, like my cars for example. I live everything full out, and that is a personality trait. My guitar playing is a result of that personality trait.

SE: With the success of 2008ís Perpetual Flame, and all of the achievements and honors you have received over the past few years, was there a certain added pressure when writing Relentless?

MALMSTEEN: No, not at all. The only sort of pressure is the pressure that I would put on myself. I would never feel pressure from outside.

SE: Is your most demanding solo on Relentless the title track?


MALMSTEEN: Of course, that was crazy. My engineer, that I have worked with for over 22 years, was looking at me like ďWhat the hell are you doing man?Ē It is a little bit crazy, but I had a lot of fun doing it. I almost had to laugh at it because, the themes in that tempo are just stupid, but, yes, it was very demanding and very challenging.

SE:  For the first time, your acclaimed ďArpeggios From HellĒ has appeared on a studio album. There is no intro, no breakdown, and your tone sounds a bit different. Did you re-record ďArpeggiosĒ for Relentless?

MALMSTEEN: Yes. What happened was this, about ten years ago I did an instructional video, and for this instructional video, I brought in this thing I called ďArpeggios From HellĒ. That was a demonstration, and it has received over 9,000,000 hits on YouTube. I was contacted by Guitar Hero, the video game, and they wanted to have that song. So, I recorded it, gave it to Guitar Hero, and used it as a bonus version on this one to Relentless. There is a version of it on High Impact, but it is a completely different version, even though it has some similarities. This one I put on the record (Relentless) is like the YouTube. 


SE: With Relentless being Tim ďRipperĒ Owens (vocals) second album recorded with you, did the process of writing and recording flow a bit more smoothly, because you and Tim knew what to expect from one another?

MALMSTEEN: Well, I did everything like I have always done it. I write the song; I write the lyrics; I write the melodies; and I have a perfect idea of what it is going to sound like, and Ripper is the man to deliver it. What happened on Perpetual Flame, what I did was, I wrote all the songs, the lyrics and everything was finished. I sent my singer down from England to do some vocals, and it just didnít work. It wasnít what I had in mind at all. And, of course, as legend has it, I invited Tim down to sing a couple of songs, and he clicked perfectly. He (Tim ďRipperĒ Owens) is just brilliant with what he can deliver. I mean with Relentless, where the lyrics are very dark and aggressive, he puts the vibe where itís supposed to be.

"There are only two man-made objects that you can see from outer space, the Great Wall of China and the Yngwie Malmsteen Marshall stacks."

SE: When can we expect Rising Force to hit the road in support of Relentless and blow up the Marshall amps?


MALMSTEEN:  (Laughs) Yeah! Speaking of Marshall Amps, Iím having a signature Marshall stack released in January, so everyone can have the Yngwie Malmsteen amps as well. The touring has been spoken about; I literally just came out of the studio mixing, but the booking is someone else.

SE: So, perhaps this winter or spring?

MALMSTEEN: Realistically, spring or summer more or less.

SE: Will you be hitting the European or US market first?


MALMSTEEN: That I donít know. I really donít know (laughs).

SE: There is no question that Guitar Hero video games, and other instrumental games, are very crucial in the musical development of kids. Will you be contributing any more songs to the game, and do you think, over the course of the next few years, we will see a whole new generation of shredders as a result of Guitar Hero?

MALMSTEEN: The answer is yes, and yes (laughs).

SE: Will you be composing another symphony with an orchestra in the near future, like what you did with the New Japan Philharmonics?

MALMSTEEN: I really liked doing that. It was a goal of mine for many years. I have no immediate plans to do it. Right now, Iím in a rock mode; like you said, fire up the Marshall stacks. There are only two man-made objects that you can see from outer space, the Great Wall of China and the Yngwie Malmsteen Marshall stacks.

"Music is the most rewarding and challenging thing. Iím a very lucky person who is very lucky to do this."

SE: Do you view yourself as more of a classical musician or a Rock Star?

MALMSTEEN: Ohh my god (pause)Ö I donít know.  Iím trying to understand how other people perceive me, and thatís interesting, but, to myself, Iím me, music is the most rewarding and challenging thing. Iím a very lucky person who is very lucky to do this. I donít really look at myself in a certain way. I just do what I do, and I hope people dig it.


SE: We are all aware of your musical influences, but who are some of the current guitar players that you feel stand out in this new generation?

MALMSTEEN: I really wish I could say, but I really havenít had the time. Iím sure there are some great ones, but I havenít had the time to listen in. We are talking about doing a lot in stuff where we will be putting people on the label.

SE: How is Rising Force Records going, by the way? Do you enjoy being on the other side of the coin and dealing with the business aspect?

MALMSTEEN: I donít do too much of the business thing. As far as a producer, I like leading them in the right direction on that, but I am very comfortable with that.

SE: You are one of the most emulated guitar players. There is a character, on the cartoon television show Metalocalypse, which is based upon you. What do you think about that?

MALMSTEEN: (Laughs) This is the first time I have heard about it, but thatís interesting.

"There was a lot of wild sh*t going on, trust me."

SE: The last time that we spoke, you mentioned you were in the process of writing an autobiography. How is that coming along?

MALMSTEEN: Iím still going with it. I just read through another 300 pages of proof readings, but itís been finished.

SE: So, it should hit shelves very soon then?

MALMSTEEN: Probably in 2011. Iím hoping anyway.

SE: Is it going to be a reflection of your career?


MALMSTEEN: Itís going to be everything. Mostly personal stuff, like how I grew up in Sweden, the relationship with my family, how I left, how all of a sudden I was in the United States, and the wild rides. There was a lot of wild shit going on, trust me. Itís a big combination. Itís a lot of that stuff, but it also things like how I got developed into what I do. Itís virtually everything. Itís a big memoir. Itís my whole life basically, the good things, the bad things, everything.

SE: Looking back on your career, would you do anything differently?

MALMSTEEN: No, because if I made a mistake, there was a lesson to be learned. So, no. Let me tell you, I have made a lot of mistakes (laughs). I got ripped off blind for years, but I learned my lesson. So, I know exactly whatís going on. Every time you do something, there has to be a lesson. If you make the same mistake more than once, then itís bad.

SE: Any last words?

MALMSTEEN: I hope everyone digs the record. I poured my heart and soul into it, with blood and tears. So, I hope my fans like it.




















































































































































Sonic Excess images and staff authored work are copy written and are not to be used without the written permission of the Editor(s). ©