Yngwie Malmsteen certainly needs no introduction – the Swedish guitarist is already a living legend and has influenced many musicians in the course of time. His musical output is immense, albeit his recent work didn’t find too many enthusiasts. Can he turn the leaf with Blue Lightning? Let’s find out!
Blue Lightning is advertised as a take of Malmsteen’s on blues – and certainly, his own songs can be said to be influenced by it. A first example is opening title and namesake, Blue Lightning: while essentially coming off as a rock song at first, the underlying melody structure is definitely heavily influenced by blues. 1911 Strut, a purely instrumental track, is an even better example, and my personal favorite on this album. Sun’s Up Top’s Down is another good one, albeit a bit more midtempo than the others. Peace Please is lacking any blues influence (as far as I can tell) but is still a great song. Next to this four own songs, Yngwie Malmsteen has packed a lot of covers of classics on Blue Lightning: Foxey Lady and Purple Haze by Jimmy Hendrix, Demon’s Eye and Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple, Blue Jean Blues by ZZ Top, While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles, Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones and Forever Man by Eric Clapton. A point of critique by others in the past was Malmsteen’s singing – on Blue Lightning, he does a good job and together with his playing puts a new twist on old classics.
In conclusion: Blue Lightning is more of a cover album with some of Malmsteen’s own songs thrown in it, rather than the other way around. The covers are well done, I especially enjoyed Blue Jean Blues. Malmsteen’s own songs are certainly blues-influenced, as advertised (except for Peace Please), and quite enjoyable. Production’s a bit soggy at times and could be crisper in order to fully harness the power of the songs, but in general Blue Lightning is a good album and comes recommended. 8/10.