No strings attached

Guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen will perform in Israel for the first time.

April 23, 2010 17:15
1 minute read.
Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Is he the most technically accomplished hard rock guitarist to ever swagger onto the stage, or, as one critic described him, a blazing egotist making boring, mechanical flash with no room for subtlety or emotion?

The book on Yngwie Malmsteen is likely somewhere in the middle – between jaw-dropping, lightning fast riffing and masturbatory, neo-classical metal meanderings. It comes down to a question of how long can you watch fireworks without either eventually turning away in boredom or getting your eyes permanently singed. Local fans will get to decide for themselves when the 47-year-old native of Sweden makes his Israeli debut on April 27 at Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv.

For his part, Malmsteen (whose first name is pronounced ‘ING-vay’) has ignored the criticism and even the loss of some fans who have grown too weary attempting to keep up with him, and continued on his lightning path forged by his 1984 solo debut album Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force, now considered the bible for neoclassical rock.

Enthralled equally at an early age by Jimi Hendrix, the works of Vivaldi and Mozart, and the music of 19th-century violinist/composer Niccolo Paganini, Malmsteen has devoted his career to perfecting the sonic meld between all of those styles of music. As a result, he’s been named by Time magazine as one of the top 10 best electric guitarists of all time, and in 2007, he was honored in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II with the ‘Yngwie Malmsteen’ award which is achieved by players hitting 1,000 or more notes in succession.

Still putting out music at a prolific pace, Malmsteen, who moved to the US more than two decades ago, has weathered backlashes to the histrionic excesses of metal in ‘80s and ‘90s, physical setbacks due to injuries which threatened his ability to play guitar, financial crises due to management scandals, and a tabloid headline or two over his flamboyant behavior. And he even confounded the conventional wisdom about him last year by releasing a well-received instrumental New Age collection of his ballads performed on acoustic guitar with orchestral arrangements.

But Tel Aviv fans will witness Malmsteen in full throttle mode, with a band featuring singer Tim “Ripper” Owens, ex-Judas Priest front-man. Enter the house of Malmsteen at your own risk.

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