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Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force CD (album) cover

RISING FORCE

Yngwie Malmsteen

 

Prog Related

3.98 | 117 ratings

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Mark-P
5 stars What a nice surprise to see Y.J.Malmsteen listed in the PA artists. YJM is always be one of my guitar heroes and among musicians who formed my musical taste. I followed and dug a lot his works, particularly first five albums, which I think represent his finest musical works. This first album 'Rising Force' is among a few that I would agree for being listed in progressive rock catalogue. It is kind of birth of new genre, some call it neo-classical rock, and is often cited as one of best guitar shredder albums. It was nominated at 1986 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance but unfortunately did not get the award.

In this album, I see YJM guitar works similar to what Jon Lord or Keith Emerson had been doing with keyboards. They composed great symphonic rock and often make an intense reference to classical music. The guitar sound is so thick and heavy, yet his fast picking technique (including sweep-picked arpeggio) is very clean and soulful. This is his best sound for me.

There are at least three tracks that shall be considered as quintessential YJM works. 'Black Star' which is a great opening track of the album is the first one. The short acoustics guitar intro has become a well known passage that frequently performed in his concert. This composition has a steady backing track, but does not attenuate the brilliance of the melodic guitar solos. The guitar overdubs create a beautiful harmony throughout the song. For many, this song shows Blackmore's influence. The second track 'Far Beyond the Sun' is another Yngwie's signature song. This composition has faster pace and complex structure from striking intro, use of several anthemic licks and conclusive classical-style ending. 'Icarus' Dream Suite Op.4' is a really beautiful composition that use Albinoni's 'Adagio in G minor' as the main intro theme. Yngwie's interpretation of this composition is so soulful (part of it because of the wide vibrato he masterfully uses) yet still maintain its heavy metal flavour. Yngwie use a lot of acoustic guitar in this song, mostly as backing guitar, but also solo in the interlude. I love this track so much. Many great musicians (e.g Kansas, Pink Floyd, Angra) use the story of Icarus for their song theme (at least make a reference in the lyric) but I feel that Yngwie interpretation is one of the best that truly musicalizes the story of Icarus. This song has been modified several times for his show, from being used as opening for 'Far Beyond the Sun' (in 'Trial by Fire') to a full orchestra arrangement entitled 'Icarus Dream Fanfare' (in 'Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra'). Those are to me three amongst YJM best works.

The third track 'Now Your Ships Are Burned' has an exciting fast-picking riffs in Phrygian scale. Barriemore Barlow plays a great drums, a lot of unconventional fills and complex rhythm while play along with guitar riffs. 'Evil Eye' uses an adaptation from Johann Krieger's 'Bourree' for its intro (first half with acoustic and second half with electric guitar). Great guitar and keyboard conversation (or more likely battle) in the end of the song.

'As Above, So Below' opens with sound of pipe organ that is quickly countered by heavy riffs. Jeff Scott Soto voice is so amazing, with a perfect high pitches. Yngwie uses his signature fast picking arpeggio. 'Little Savage' is another track with complex arrangement, with several changes in the key, and also moods. The slow guitar solo part in the middle of the song is so evocative ? listen to it, there is big chance that you would imagine yourself to be able to play that phrases. This song is a showcase of how fast Yngwie is when it comes to shred, arpeggios or even riffs. 'Farewell' is a short acoustic guitar pieces, with theme similar to 'Black Star' intro, but with a lot more of harmonic notes. Not to much to say, but the very natural yet beautiful sound from the nylon string is worth mentioned.

One of great instrumental (well .. almost) album in rock history. Progressive ? I would say yes! The songs are well arranged and each has its unique pattern, twist and complexity ? not to mention the classical influence.

Yngwie was at his best in song writing and creativity (he was 21 when releasing this album). None of his later works outshines this album in the musicality. The accompanying musicians also play great roles. Jeff Scott Soto voice and Jens Johansson keyboard works are perfect band mate. They remain with Yngwie for the second album. Barriemore Barlow (long term drummer of Jethro Tull) also contributes well in building unusual structures for a heavy metal album. In the prog-related genre, I give this album 5 stars.

Mark-P | 5/5 |

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