HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

G3 Live - Rockin' In The Free World

Bringing a little edge and unpredictability and pure metal madness to the G3 mix is none other than Yngwie Malmsteen, who joins Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, as most definitely the odd man out, and the guy to watch. Like a hawk. But then again, they have more in common than you'd think. Yngwie and Steve both played in Alcatrazz (at different times), Joe was once Steve's instructor, Graham Bonnet once played in Rainbow and Alcatrazz, Yngwie worships Ritchie, Satriani once played live with Deep Purple, Zakk once played live with the Allman Brothers, and Steve was in Whitesnake with a Deep Purple singer. And what to make of Joe Lynn Turner? Big Joe Turner was an old blues guy and Yngwie plays the blues on here (or his band does, while he shreds), and Joe Lynn Turner was, of course, in Yngwie's band. And Rainbow. And Deep Purple. But back to business, this is an incredibly screechy, crowd-strafed live celebration of the guitar, although I still don't get what the big deal is with Satriani (the solos blow, however the riffs are the best on this specific album), this is not Vai at his most sublimely melodic, musical and composed, and Yngwie plays for the most part, the role of the punishing shredder. But I like the way Malmsteen brings carnality to the thing. I wonder if many in the crowd look down their noses at him, or if it's now cool to like Yngwie again. Oddly, he is the most Hendrix-appreciating of the three, and there are three Hendrix songs on the album. Yngwie contributes with vocals, showing extra game on his part. Highlight though, if your ears aren't bleeding profusely after the attack of these three merciless high note dealers, is a pounding and unexpected Rockin' In The Free World, on which Yngwie is as unbridled as he is on all that came before. And man, that goes for everybody: there's a lot of blazing noisemaking on this thing and little in the way of the class one regularly encounters on each of these guys' studio records. Geez. Assignment: can someone count the notes on this thing?
Rating 6.5

Astral Doors - Of The Sun And The Father

From a label most known for Spanish power metal comes a pretty funny Scandinavian Dio clone. Vocalist Patrik Johansson tries way too hard to enunciate like Ronnie, coming off exaggerated, yet with a voice as good but at a higher register. His backing band plays all the Dio styles as well, but the production is really wet and organic, making for an enjoyable, well-executed if laughably derivative spread.
Rating 6.5

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