For all its fraternal rhetoric, metal's often as trendy as any genre, and stubborn individualism often inspires an urge to scoff that's hard to resist. Yngwie Malmsteen's been a joke in U.S. metal circles for years -- his ego and refusal to make concessions ensured that. But two decades after his solo debut, Malmsteen has released an album that's likely to get about 1 percent of the attention it deserves. Attack!! is unapologetic, classically influenced power metal, the stuff Yngwie's been playing for eons.
After 10 years of downtuned post-Korn throb-throb, an hour or so of spark-shooting Strat sounds pretty goddamn great. The rest of the band keeps up throughout. Only the drummer's a letdown; his unsubtle thwack sometimes reduces the material to pedestrian blues-rock. Someone on the level of Opeth's Martin Lopez would have made Attack!! a modern metal classic. As it is, it's just much, much better than the words "2004 Yngwie Malmsteen album" imply.