Space Odyssey - Embrace the Galaxy
Regain Records
Melodic Metal a la Yngwie
9 songs (50'33")
Release year: 2003
Space Odyssey, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

I should have spotted it from the beginning, just by looking through the booklet, but I didn’t. The presence of Marcel Jacob on bass should have been a tale-telling sign I missed. Yngwie Malmsteen has spread its roots and is being reincarnated! Of course, I am only kidding, but Richard Andersson’s Space Odyssey pays a major homage to the way Herr Yngwie sees heavy metal – way too sweet in its melodies, and with as many arpeggios as you can jam in a 5 min song.

Let’s face it – there are no metal fans who haven’t heard of Yngwie Malmsteen. Let’s also face it – Yngwie deservedly built up a “love him – hate him” relationship with a metal crowd. His famous outbursts, changing vocalists and surrounding musicians like gloves and being extremely self-centered didn’t earn him many favors. However, I will make a confession here. I have been a closet fan of his music, at least the albums starting with godly Marching Out and possibly ending with Seventh Sign. OK, Inspiration was a good cover album and Alchemy made a comeback. When I hear Disciples of Hell and Viking I reminisce of the days of my youth, and hear a new blood poured into heavy metal circa mid 80s, I don’t see the flawed man behind it. But I digress – the issue at hand is Space Odyssey.

Richard Andersson accurately follows Yngwie’s formula for writing music, except he is a keyboard player so some of those long arpegiated solos will be heard coming from the ivory, not a six-string. At times Richard likes to make his keyboard sound spacey over the chopped progressive rhythms (title track), very much in tune with the band’s name and cover art. Magnus Nilsson (guitars) is a very capable player, who also went to Yngwie school, down to some solos and opening leads (title track, Emposium, Entering the Dome). On the opening track Despair and Pain Richard and Magnus trade solos and engage in a dual ear pleasing harmony. Most of the time, the guys exercise restraint and don’t go on string/keys neverending runs, but this an Yngwie influenced album, so they had to do it after all on The House with a Hundred Windows and endless Requiem for a Dream.

Rhythm section, even with a progmaster Zoltan Csorsz on drums, is fairly non-descript, another page from Yngwie. The vocals, however, rule, and Patrick Johansson (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights) could have as well wore a forehead tattoo reading “I am a Jeff Scott Soto impersonation”. He is everything Soto was on Marching Out with his singing style, voice timbre, phrasing and even lyrics (Despair and Pain = Anguish and Fear). He belts out some high notes (Entering the Dome), but forced to sing sweet chorus lines on Seduction of Life. Overall, he does not disappoint, especially considering I am also a Soto closet fan as well.

What Yngwie album could be without an instrumental, and Space Odyssey delivers two, very skilled The House with a Hundred Windows heavily leaning on a mid-Eastern bazaar melody and shorter closing A Perfect Day with its Irish melody, reserved guitar and keyboards ominously sounding like it is the beginning of the End.

If some albums are trying to break the mold, Embrace the Galaxy is trying its best not to disturb it. The first two songs are two big hits with their driving rhythms and super catchy melodies. The rest is Marching Out singing over the Fire and Ice era music with keyboard pirouettes magnified. With this description I am sitting here struggling to assign a quote. If you consider Embrace the Galaxy just on the basis of musicianship, it is a 100. With the above review you don’t want to guess how much I will give it on the originality scale. So, finally, I will just plain grade it on the basis of enjoinment. I did like a few tracks after all. Although, Yngwie’s “not so closet” fans should be already mailing their $$ for this magnum opus. Yngwie haters need not apply.

Killing Songs :
Despair and Pain, Embrace the Galaxy, The House with a Hundred Windows
Alex quoted 69 / 100
Other albums by Space Odyssey that we have reviewed:
Space Odyssey - The Astral Episode reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
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