ALCATRAZZ: LIVE SENTENCE (1984)
1) Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live; 2) Hiroshima Mon Amour; 3) Night Games; 4) Island In The Sun; 5) Kree Nakoorie; 6) Coming Bach; 7) Since You've Been Gone; 8) Evil Eye; 9) All Night Long.
Of the two Alcatrazz albums with Malmsteen on board, this live performance, recorded on their 1984 tour of
I do not want to mindlessly succumb to the idea of Yngwie Malmsteen as the prototypical heartless finger-flasher who, with no understanding at all of the essence of music, had somehow put it in his head that speed is all that matters. His solo career has its ups and downs — mostly downs, but let us not entirely discard the ups — and he can play with feeling when he gets his hormones under control. Unfortunately, during his stint with Alcatrazz, it was all about the hormones. Bonnet sings with feeling; his singing does not mesh well with the music, and the songs are mostly rotten, but at least the record makes clear that he really came to
Malmsteen, however, came to
There is a second reason, though, why Live Sentence is mildly superior: although the majority of the songs are predictably pulled from their only studio album up to date, they also do a couple of Rainbow numbers from 1979's Down To Earth, and much as I dislike that record in comparison to classic Dio-era material from 1975-78, at least the songs there were all written by Blackmore and Glover: in this setting, 'Since You've Been Gone' and particularly the big radio hit 'All Night Long' tower over the rest of this material like a couple of jötunn giants over a pack of dwarves. Even Yngwie calms down a bit, sticking mainly to melody. Decent stuff. There is no escaping the obligatory thumbs down, of course, but if you are interested in a bad vibe with elements of entertainment rather than a bad vibe with no redeeming qualities at all, Live Sentence is the place where you start with Alcatrazz.