Does the name Yngve Malsten tell you anything? Probably not. Some might see a certain resemblance to another name they know all too well - Yngwie Johan Malmsteen, professional guitar virtuoso and part time egomaniac. "Magnum Opus" is a pretty bold title for an album, but you know Yngwie, he always has been a bit different, so no worries about him there…
So does the follow up to "The Seventh Sign" bring us any surprises whatsoever? Do you really expect any? If there is anybody to be as regular as a clockwork, apart from Axel Rudi Pell maybe, then it is Mr Malmsteen. He has his very own style and he sticks to it, no matter what. And he doesn't really need to as well, I mean, he is Yngwie after all!
Just like the previous album, "Magnum Opus", too, starts out with an up tempo track, in this case "Vengeance", in style, fast, melodic, with enough guitar wizardry to satisfy the fans, but at the same time not scaring off the technically less demanding listener. With the following two songs he steps back into the mid tempo, where "Tomorrow's Gone" features some extended soloing, which, though, never slips down into pure wankery, even I as a non musician can thoroughly enjoy his guitar work, that's the way it is supposed to be!
Then with "The Only One" comes another track with monstrous hooks and a giant catchiness, smooth, with inspired vocals, an irresistible chorus, for some maybe too much Rock, but still, nobody can deny the extreme catchiness of this tune! "Time Will Tell" comes in the wake of the monumental "Pyramid Of Cheops" off "The Seventh Sign", while "Fire In The Sky" brings us some more up tempo in good quality.
Of course instrumentals may not be left out on a Malmsteen album, here it is "Overture 1622", of course heavily classically influenced, and "Amberdawn" (here shortened to "Dawn" for some reason) is a very emotional, variable instrumental, where it becomes obvious that something deep inside him inspired Yngwie to write it.
So even though Yngwie does what he does best again, "Magnum Opus" does not fully reach "The Seventh Sign". It is not far off, just something is missing, something like a "Pyramid Of Cheops" classic, which is not there this time around. But still, "The Only One" or "Time Will Tell" are more than worthy songs to check out and have, so the same goes as with any other Yngwie album, if you know him, you know what to do, either get it or circle it very, very widely! (Online July 1, 2003)