World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review more than mindless shred?

Welcome to my World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review. A few days ago, I noticed that so far, I’ve only written 1 album review for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. That was a review of Joe Satriani’s self-titled album. When I first started Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat, I fully intended on doing more review based content. I’m now more than 60 articles deep and still have only looked at 1 album.

It’s about time I reviewed another album and today, I’m looking at World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen. Who better to follow Joe Satriani than the Swedish sensation Yngwie Malmsteen? World on Fire isn’t an album that I’m particularly familiar with. The album was released in the year 2016, which at the time of writing this is 5 years ago. I’ve heard bits of the album here and there, but I’ve never sat down and listened to it from start to finish.

How will World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen do against my brutal critique? It’s already gained 1 point for been easier to type than Odyssey so let’s see if there are any other positives. On the subject of typing, dear Microsoft Word, I’m not spelling Yngwie Malmsteen incorrectly.

Is World on Fire an exhibition of look at me, I’m Malmsteen? Or is it more than that? Let’s find out.


World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #1 World on Fire

Yngwie Malmsteen’s World on Fire album starts off with the track World on Fire. The powerful opening vocals of the track start off this album in the ideal way and they are supported by immense guitar accompaniment. I find myself hoping just a few seconds in that the guitar work will sound like this for all 11 tracks.

The blistering riff that sits behind the main vocal hook is crazy Yngwie at his best. The rhythm guitar is impressive, but the track moves quickly and it isn’t long before we get to lead guitar territory. We get what is expected from the first guitar solo of the album. Speed, intensity and a whole lot of “how’d he do that?” Oh, and there’s some really cool harmony parts in there as well which are worth mentioning.

A special shout out for the drums in this track is also required here but for me, the show stealer is that main guitar riff. It’s a riff that stands out even though all the other elements are impressively powerful.

World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #2 Sorcery

Next, we have Sorcery. A shorter track that utilises a different approach to rhythm and that focuses on lead guitar, exclusively. Until I realised what was going on, I found myself almost waiting for something different to happen. That moment didn’t come but we did get a hook lick and everything tied together at the end very nicely.

Some may listen to this track and form a simplistic opinion that, it’s just meat head shredding. There’s much more to it than that for me. This to me was shredding art. In under 3 minutes I told myself 3 different stories about what Malmsteen was doing with this piece. Kind of like a pretentious middle class middle manager called Kevin, looking at a painting from an artist he’s never heard of and deciding what the piece “says to him”. This is one of those pieces of music that reminds me that I have no idea what I’m talking about. Read on please. 

World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #3 Abandon

We go from a short track to a shorter one next with Abandon. A track that has a very cool drum intro and very nice backing. Abandon is also a track with very impressive guitar playing which should come as a shock to nobody. The lead guitar of abandon is very Malmsteen. The signature sounds are there but this one feels more underwhelming than Sorcery. Sorcery had more identity. Abandon doesn’t have much identity aside from how masterful the guitar performance is.

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This feels like one of those Simpsons episodes where they all just sit around and say, “remember when Bart did this?” It’s the best bits, you can’t be disappointed, you loved them after all. But I remember watching those clip shows the first time and being slightly gutted that I wasn’t getting a new adventure. An adventure that will probably come around next week anyway.

But then again, am I forming to simplistic of an opinion on it? I don’t think so to be honest. I think this one just isn’t as unique as the previous track but that doesn’t mean I think it sounds bad. However if you ask me whether I’ll remember this track in a few hours or Sorcery, I’ll say Sorcery.

World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #4 Top Down Foot Down

We go back to post 4 minute city for Top Down Foot Down. Once more, via very cool introville. The first track featured vocals so one can’t help but wonder “is this instrumental or vocal?” The penny drops at a certain point, but one quickly realises that this song has a lot of character and personality.

There’s lots of fast and flash and plenty of wow but we expect nothing more from Yngwie Malmsteen. 11 out of 10 insanity is standard for him so there’s not much new in that regard and therefore nothing particularly note worthy solo wise.

Well actually, there is. Earlier I mentioned that this song has a lot of character and personality. A lot of that comes from the melody performed on guitar which is very memorable and quite beautiful.

The melodies and guitar solo aren’t ground breaking by his standard individually, but the way Malmsteen ties everything together is brilliant and very impressive.

World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #5 Lost in the Machine

Lost in the Machine provides us with another vocal performance. Another vocal performance that I’m happy with. More than happy with actually. The passion comes through and matches the intensity level of the supporting music. I love the subject matter too. Thanks for reminding me Yngwie. The aggressive/mourning way in which you perform the chorus matches my feelings toward the “machine”.

The guitar riff and rhythm guitar are very mechanical, logical and rigid. Very fitting. The solo is powerful but doesn’t break the system, but I’ll take that. After all, we all want to break free but fall just short no matter what. I’m talking s**t again. The lead guitar is much more that “typical Malmsteen” in my opinion. It sounds very Yngwie but it’s really high level Yngwie. This is a song that demonstrates how good of a composer he is.

The fade out outro is a little underwhelming and inconclusive upon first impression but upon reflection, It’s quite fitting.

World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #6 Largo

The acoustic tone of the guitar combined with the backing support in this track is simply sensational. The licks and melodies dance while putting me into some kind of trance like state. Largo is a joy. It’s a demonstration of what can be done with a guitar.

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The acoustic lead soon turns electric. The drums join soon after and we’re in familiar Malmsteen territory but none of the expression is sacrificed. This is a piece played with great passion and expression. Largo is an example of why Malmsteen is much more than a guy that plays the guitar fast.

The song is over 5 minutes long, but I can’t help feel that more could have been done here particularly dynamically. I think there’s room for both bigger and softer sounds but the emotion of the track more than makes up for the perceived shortcomings. To portray such emotion with a guitar is no easy task but Malmsteen achieves it here.

World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #7 No Rest for the Wicked

In contrast to the last track, No Rest for the Wicked is more of a blistering Yngwie exhibition and definitely in a good way. This is a very fun track for guitar fanatics. I could perhaps see why someone not interested in this kind of thing would get bored but for me, that never happens. There’s plenty of variation throughout this post 5 minute piece. This isn’t someone simply shredding over a chord progression, there’s plenty more to it than that.

We know what we’re getting within the first 2 seconds but Malmsteen has the ability to retain our interest throughout. I particularly enjoyed the rhythm guitar focused breakdown in the middle of the track and the short part that followed which was more of a guitar solo which very smoothly transitioned back to the main theme of the track.

The arrangement and structure are sound, and the sweeping is sublime. Malmsteen is one of the best and this track is more proof of that. That seems to be a reoccurring theme.

World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen review track #8 Soldier

The vocals are at the forefront at the start of Solider. Supported by himself, Yngwie delivers a great melody very well. Things are fairly subdued for the first couple of verses before the track really kicks in and when they do, the track comes to life and for me, the track goes to another level at this point.

I very much enjoyed the rhythmic support for the vocals, particularly the drums and the guitar solo that comes later is great fun. It’s very Malmsteen but this isn’t an instrumental so a solo like this is more than welcome.

I’d say the main vocal melody from the chorus is my favourite part of this track. It’s a great hook delivered really well both in the opening phase of the track and the later phase.

There isn’t anything that I can particularly fault here or list as a negative but this one didn’t grab me quite as much as some of the other material on the album. I’m not sure why exactly though to be honest. Perhaps I’d of gone about the arrangement differently here.

#9 Duf 1220

Dur 1220 is another one where we know what we’re getting within a nanosecond. Or is it? You think you’re going to get hammered with supersonic guitar play for 3 minutes but Duf does more. Oh yeah. Simpsons reference #2.

Sure, there’s lots of fast Yngwie but there’s also plenty of melodic guitar playing too. It’s a nice mix of both approaches but it does lean more toward the fast than then melodic. This is a track that I think he could have done more with on the melodic side of things.

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I guess one could argue that this is more of a Malmsteen showcase. To some that’s perfect and to some that’s not quite enough. Neither is correct as such but this one did feel a little bit like filler content to me. Bloody good guitar based filler though.

#10 Abandon (slight return)

Kind of knew what was coming here by the title. I want to say it’s just a shred show. Well, it is. But wow. For “just a shred show”, this is mighty impressive. I loved the work on the lower strings and even the fade out worked. Not often I say that about fade outs.

Yngwie is definitely at the top of the just a shred show leader board for me and this track is convincing evidence of that but judging it by Malmsteen standards, it feels fairly run of the mill.

#11 Nacht Musik

Well here we are at the very last track of World on Fire. We have that amazing acoustic tone at the start, we have soft and gentle backing and we once again have beautiful dancing, floating and fluttering melodies and licks.

Once more, the acoustic is traded in for an electric lead later in the song, but the approach remains the same. The backing brings us an increase in dynamic and the lead melodies are more than up to matching the change.

Nacht Musik is a very neat and conclusive way of ending this album. Does it bring us anything new or out of the ordinary? No. But that’s not always needed. The mix of strong melody and cheeky licks are enough to carry us through to the eventual return of the acoustic right at the end which wraps up World on Fire very nicely.


World on Fire is an album that was at times sublime and at worst impressive. There are at least 4 tracks on this album that stand out as special and the worst parts of the album feature incredible and mesmerising guitar playing. There’s passion, there’s great melodies and a whole load of wtf.

I’m very glad I decided to listen to World on Fire from start to finish because I’ve been treated to examples of virtuoso levels of composition and masterful guitar performances for 11 tracks. I’d encourage every guitar lover out there to listen to World on Fire by Yngwie Malmsteen if they haven’t already. It really makes you think. Well, it made me think anyway. I guess if music can do that, it must be more than mindless shredding right? Oh ****, I’m the guy looking at the painting.

What next?

At the start of this review, I mentioned that I’d only written one review for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat so far. It’s now the future and I’m coming back to tell you about a couple more. If you like review based content, consider checking out the following review based articles. 

Steve Vai Passion and Warefare Review

Eric Johnson Ah Via Musicon Review

Paul Gilbert Get Out Of My Yard Review

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