This special edition double CD (2000 copies) consist of not only the all-instrumental solo-album “Glacial Inferno”, but also the song-oriented album “(Vitalij Kuprij’s) Revenge” (until now unavailable outside Asia).
Pheew! – this was a difficult review to crack - on one hand it’s very 80’s neo-classical, and has to some extent been heard before, and yet, on the other hand, Ukrainian pianist Vitalij Kuprij is so technically skilled in writing and playing, that I’m full of respect, and has to surrender, also to the joy of playing that can be heard in most of the material. Furthermore he has completed a very strong line-up with guitarist Michael Harris (really awesome playing from time to time), bassist Randy Coven and drummer John Macaluso (last two both former members of Malmsteen’s Rising Force), that leaves nothing to be desired from a technical point of view.
Therefore I’ve decided to generally take the positive angle in this review.
This is his fifth solo album…and what a treat we’re in for.
This guy really knows how to play the piano - the classical education of V.K. is very obvious on this album, both in composing and technical skills. He has won a number of prizes, and played in the most prestigious places as a classical pianist, and he’s also a name on the metal scene, having played with such acts as Ring Of Fire and Artension. But the music never seems to get constructed for showing off, as it tended to on the albums of the neoclassical guitar-heroes of the 80’s (Tony McAlpine, Jason Becker etc., etc.), maybe it’s because it’s the piano, instead of the guitar, that plays the major part.
Already from the first moments of opener “Symphonic Force” one is blasted away by really fast and controlled piano- and keyboardplaying, set in a high pace. On the rest of the tracks the general pace in the numbers is different from each other, some slower and some faster, but most of the time the fingers of Mr. Kuprij has a busy time handling the ivory on the piano/keyboard. Both “Divided Horizon” and “Burning Ice” has a powerful rhythmic pace, and some stylistic very different parts, the title track has, among other things, some fusion bass incorporated, “Dancing Flame” has an eastern European folk feel to it, and “Dying to Live” a very nice melody. So all in all a very varied album, where all participants contribute to an overall very good impression.
Part rating: 84/100
Actually my first thought, as I threw it in my player the first time, and not having read the following notes, was: “What – is Yngwie Malmsteen still active, or did he have some hidden tracks somewhere?” Oh no, this is not quite the same, although some of Malmsteens old band members are in on this – the musicians on this album is the same as on Glacial Inferno, and the vocals is handled by Joe Lynn Turner, Dougie White, Goran Edman (all former Malmsteen), Apollo Papathanasio (Time Requiem/Firewind), Chris Catena and Shaun Leahy. Actually I never was very keen on Malmsteen, I thought “If you want to show off, why not make an all instrumental album anyway”.
If you know the style of Malmsteen’s Rising Force, you’ll know how most of this record sounds like, with a few exceptions it’s pretty much the same. “Just Another Day” has a very nice intro with classical guitar, a slower rhythmic beat than most of the other tracks, and nice vocals. “Excerpt from sonata in E minor – Haydn” is (of course) an all classical piano piece, “Classic War” is an instrumental track, again with powerful piano and keyboards, that sounds a bit like “Symphonic Force” from the Glacial Inferno album. On “Follow your Heart” some violin/cello is added, and finally the last track “Let the Future Unfold” is a real hymn (the lighter-track for live shows).
A nice album, but in my opinion not quite as strong as Glacial Inferno.
Part rating: 78/100 Recommended tracks: "Symphonic Force", "Divided Horizon" & "Classic War…"