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Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force CD (album) cover


Yngwie Malmsteen


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3.98 | 117 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Far beyond!

Heavily inspired by Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow as well as by Classical virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini, Yngwie Malmsteen singlehandedly created Neo-Classical Metal with this impressive debut album. The fusion of Rock and Classical music had of course been tried before by countless progressive Rock bands since the late 60's and forward, but no one before Malmsteen had taken it quite as far as this or quite in this direction and combined it with such blinding speed and virtuosity. Other notable influences on Malmsteen are Steve Hackett and Tony Banks of Genesis, Brian May of Queen, Randy Rhoads of Ozzy Osbourne's band and Uli Jon Roth.

While his guitar playing skills are rarely contested, Malmsteen is often accused of offering not much more than that. While that may be true of some of his later releases it is not so here. Rising Force is full of excellent compositions, great musical ideas, memorable melodies, strong originality, powerful musicianship and a genuine passion for music. This debut album brings together some of Malmsteen's best ever material and, despite the bad reputation, there is, to my mind, not a single moment of thoughtless guitar shredding without meaning or purpose to be found here. All the compositions are very strong and there is enough variation to keep the listener's interest throughout the album's 40 minutes running time, which is not an easy task to achieve considering that the music is mostly instrumental. The guitar and keyboard duels of Yngwie and Jens Johansson are truly awe inspiring and while many bands did similar things in the 70's (Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord in Deep Purple and Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman in Yes, for example), nothing of this intensity and speed had been done before (not to my knowledge, anyway). But the duels and solos are all well integrated into the overall compositions and they do not come across as overdone or technical-for-the-sake-of-technicality-alone. The use of acoustic guitars, piano and harpsichord gives the music a Classical feel and the arrangements resemble those of Classical Symphonic music, but all in a traditional Metal framework. The rest of the band consists of Jethro Tull drummer Barriemore Barlow and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. The latter sings on only a couple of cuts as the rest are instrumentals.

The influence of this classic album on Prog Metal cannot be underestimated. Fans of Symphony X in particular must hear this if they haven't already. This is simply an exceptional album! Very highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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