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Progressive Rock Book Reviews

Yngwie Malmsteen

Relentless: The Memoir written by Yngwie J Malmsteen

Review by Greg Olma

There have been many things said and written about Yngwie Malmsteen, but here we get a book about what he says about himself.  I was expecting a self-aggrandizing tome about how great he is and how you’re an idiot for not recognizing his greatness, but I was pleasantly surprised at how honest he was in Relentless: The Memoir.  Malmsteen does take his music seriously but he’s also quick to admit where he has made mistakes like giving too much power to management over finances.  The book starts from the beginning and tells the tale of a young Malmsteen learning the guitar and bringing classical music into the mix.  As much as some people would hate to admit it, he did create a whole genre in metal.  We get stories of when he first came to the United States to play guitar in Steeler with Ron Keel and how poor and unglamorous that turned out to be, to finally making music on his own.  You get many tales of band members coming and going and Malmsteen’s thoughts on those musicians.  The book is a little short considering the amount of music he has produced and the amount of band members he has gone through.  The Mike Vescera era of the band is not given enough pages in my opinion but then again, Relentless: The Memoir does not dwell on any one topic too long.  You get a short story about a certain time (or member, or record) and then he moves on.  If you were looking for a salacious read about sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, then this book is not for you; but if you are looking for an account of what experiences shaped this guitar god into who he is, then this book is right up your alley. 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at

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