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Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force CD (album) cover

RISING FORCE

Yngwie Malmsteen

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Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars It was about time

In the early 90's a cousin who had 15 years and was a Metal Head, asked me to listen this album, being used as I was to his loud and insane albums with lots of shredding. accepted the cassette and placed it in the old (but faithful) Pioneer K-500 from my car, ..........What a tremendous surprise I had, the music was excellent and captivated me from the start, surely we are not talking about a 100% Prog artist, but YNGWIE MALMSTEEN deserved a place in Prog Related for a long time.

"Rising Force" begins with the amazing "Black Star", a track that combines the skills of Yngwie with the distorted guitar and a fantastic melody with clear Baroque leanings. It's true that he goes a bit too far with the guitar solos, but the melody is simply spectacular.

"Far Beyond the Sun" is even better, Malmsteen embraces more the Metal aspect of his music but the guy is extremely careful of maintaining a good melody, the interplay between keyboards, bass and drums with the guitar leading the band is fantastic, but what surprised me more in the 90's is the clear Symphonic structure, I felt like a kid with a new toy.

"Now Your Ships are Burned" has a plus in the vocals, because Jeff Scott Soto adds the energy required but not going too far with growls and disgusting sounds. Even when the keys are a good complement, the star is Yngwie with his guitar. The Blues oriented solo is delightful.

"Evil Eye" starts with a beautiful and soft Baroque guitar intro, but suddenly this guys hit us with all they have, creating some sort of Flamenco oriented melody with drums and keyboards, again virtuosity of Malmsteen is more than evident,.

"Icarus Dream Suite" is supposed to be "La Piece de Resistance" and all the praises are not enough, the song is so dramatic that almost seems painful, loved it from start to end, because they manage to keep the aggression in control, making it even more nostalgic with the guitar interruptions.

"As Above, So Bellow" starts with a Bach like organ intro, mysterious and almost religious, but suddenly changes into a fluid but frenetic song with excellent vocals a classic of the band that leans to the less inspired "Little Savage" which is not bad but the first chance of Malmsteen to focus in plain metal leaving the Prog elements behind.

The album ends with the beautiful "Farewell", a track that closes the album with a soft and beautiful guitar performance.

I can't understand why Malmsteen wasn't added before, being that at least this album is a true masterpiece that I'm going to rate with 5 stars (despite the guidelines), being that I find it flawless and essential for people who want to understand the connection between Symphonic and Metal.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#531429)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars Far beyond!

Heavily inspired by Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow as well as by Classical virtuoso violinist Niccolň 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!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#532039)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Simply One of the Most Important Albums in the History of Metal

I remember huddling next to my parent's stereo, having borrowed the vinyl version of this album from my older cousin. I was just beginning to play guitar, and had read this unpronouncable name in the magazines, one of the first I'd heard labelled "virtuoso." While I had been and EVH devotee previous, this album opened a new world of music to me. It was the beginning of my record collection having albums no one else had ever heard of. Interestingly, my initial impression was that the album was not as overtly flashy as I had expected. (It wasn't 40 minutes of "Eruption.) The album truly is a fusion of classical ideas and rock / metal, moreso than probably any music that came before it. Malmsteen thinks and plays much more like a violin player than a rock guitarist, which even in the hands of Yngwie's idol Ritchie Blackmoore is primarily a blues-based style. This incorporation of classical elements in a rock band is so close to the definition of prog that this album really isn't "Prog-Related." It is one of the first true prog metal albums, and had Malmsteen's later albums not moved so dramatically into more mainstream realms, he would have been part of this site long ago.

RISING FORCE is composed of six instrumentals and two vocal songs. The two vocals songs are pretty bad "All Your Ships Are Burned" in particular. In contrast, all of the instrumentals are simply legendary in the canon of instrumental guitar. "Far Beyond the Sun" and "Black Star" are often most often quoted but the best track is the amazing composition "Icarus Dream Suite" which ranges from gentle, beautiful, and melodic to blistering and intricate. "Evil Eye" similarly enters with a dark but classical clean guitar and evolves to aggressive metal. On all these tracks, Malmsteen introduced unprecedented pick speed and accuracy, extensive use of sweep picking, and an extended knowledge of classical theory. A whole generation took notice, and even though the techniques are now widespread, still few use them as musically as Malmsteen did on this album.

Of the numerous guitar shred albums of the 80's, RISING FORCE is certainly the most important. Though SURFING WITH ALIEN and PASSION AND WARFARE would sell more copies, this is the album that took the interest created by Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads and created a completely new bar on what it meant to really master the guitar. The shred movement was relatively short but just at it's close one of the youngest guns, one John Petrucci, would continue the movement in a full band setting. Of course Dream Theater became the blueprint for all prog metal. Symphony X would have significant success with an approach about halfway between Malmsteen's and DT's. Even Neo-Prog bands in 2011 will showcase guitar styles that first came to attention on this album.

Absolutely essential for every guitarist. Absolutely essential for anyone interested in the history of metal. Absolutely essential as part of the evolution of prog metal.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#538032)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Yngwie Malmsteen, the Swedish shredder with a scalloped Stratocaster, fused the heavy metal sound with the neoclassical style. Rising Force is loaded with breakneck electric guitar runs. The two songs diminish what this album should have been about throughout: Lead guitar and classical structures in a heavy metal context. As often happens, eccentric and speedy electric guitar work serves as a substitute for compositional excellence on a comprehensive level, but this is perhaps excusable, since (I think) the purpose of this album was to showcase Malmsteen's finesse and style with the guitar. As an album, this is perhaps essential for the aspiring metal guitarist or metal fan in general, but for the general music lover, it may lose its appeal after the novelty of neoclassical shredding has worn off.

"Black Star" A friend handed me a copy of an Yngwie Malmsteen compilation because he wanted me to learn how to play this on the guitar; I don't think I butchered it too badly, given that I had only been playing guitar perhaps two years. He seemed pleased enough. Screaming dual lead guitars provide a neoclassical motif over a steady rhythm; after the lovely acoustic prelude, this is clearly an opportunity to let Malmsteen show his listeners what he could do and in what direction he would be going.

"Far Beyond the Sun" A fuller-bodied sound, with a powerful rhythm section and an organ in the introduction, "Far Beyond the Sun" provides another opportunity for Malmsteen to exhibit his chops, offering rapid bursts of notes throughout.

"Now Your Ships Are Burned" The pummeling rhythm and gritty guitar continue under some unworthy vocals.

"Evil Eye" This fourth piece is one of the more classical structures, often pausing to allow Malmsteen to shred or give one sustained note.

"Icarus' Dream Suite Op.4" The metal madness ceases here, while Malmsteen performs over a somber synthesizer pad. At the second quarter, an evocative acoustic guitar enters, adding an amazing layer to the piece. Midway through, the heaviness returns, occasionally making way for acoustic interludes.

"As Above, So Below" Opening with a thin pipe organ, this is the second of two songs on the album, and again, the vocals don't belong, and this time they come with plenty of screeching.

"Little Savage" Another rapid-fire rhythm provides Malmsteen a final opportunity on this album to practice his scales (even when the background music stops). The drums during the gentler section sound too electronic, even alongside the synthesizer pad.

"Farewell" This acoustic piece, mainly consisting of harmonics and barely under a minute, might have been developed into something more, but given the title, its brevity seems appropriate.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#614807)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars It's great to see one of Sweden's biggest metal exports finally getting his well deserved mention on Prog Archives... may it be for better or worse!

There is really no denying that Yngwie Malmsteen has been a major influence on the progressive metal genre, even if most of his influence has been vicarious though bands like Dream Theater and most importantly Symphony X. But how much of his own work holds progressive qualities to it? The discography of this legendary guitarist is a very mixed one and after experiencing most of his releases first hand I can safely say that he never release a single excellent record. Still, that doesn't automatically mean that there aren't enough memorable moments spread out throughout his output.

Even if most of Yngwie's records range from mediocre to good but non-essential, it's great to know that his debut album Rising Force is actually considered somewhat of a classic in certain circles and is therefore a perfect starting point for any brave explorer willing to indulge themselves in this maverick of a guitarist. Classics like Black Star, Far Beyond The Sun and Evil Eye are all as vibrant as they'll ever get and have become big concert favorites over the years. The rest of the material might not be as essential, which is ultimately why it's difficult for me to give this release a higher rating, but it's all about my personal opinion of the '80s sound that is featured on this record.

I'm sure that the vocalist was doing his best, but I still can't help but chuckle whenever I hear Now Your Ships Are Burned. Reading the lyrics is an experience in itself! Please do yourself a favor. Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit down in a comfortable sofa with the lyric sheet in one hand and the wine glass in the other. Proceed by reading the lyrics out loud while sipping the wine. That's what I call a perfect way to end a Friday night!

Yngwie Malmsteen clearly had the ambition and skill to make his debut album a classic but, just like the rest of his career, this mighty record might have been enough to get him the attention of the Western audience in the golden years of metal music without actually pushing the envelope beyond the bare minimum.

***** star songs: Far Beyond The Sun (5:49) Evil Eye (5:12)

**** star songs: Black Star (4:51) Icarus' Dream Suite Op.4 (8:30) Farewell (0:48)

*** star songs: Now Your Ships Are Burned (4:09) As Above, So Below (4:36) Little Savage (5:21)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#623118)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Baroque And Roll

"Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force" first album reveals to the world the talent of the great Swedish guitarist (which was already noted with his previous band named "Alcatrazz"). Although the album is credited to Rising Force, the project is solely owned by Malmsteen, who writes all the songs, also played the bass guitar, and relegates the other musicians, which are very good technically, to the role of supporting actors.

The best songs are the instrumental ones where Malmsteen can show his prodigious guitar technique as, for example, in the classic Far Beyond The Sun, the summa of his virtuosity. Black Star and Evil Eye are great song too. Despite some nice passages, As Above, So Below and Now Your Ships Are Burned are ranked one step below because of anything but memorable voice of the singer Jeff Scott Soto and questionable "viking" lyrics. Icarus Dream Suite Op.4 is my favorite song, and one of the absolute top of Malmsteen's career, with a prodigious performance of the famous Albinoni's "Adagio".

Many people know Yngwie's style and not at all like it: a furious guitar technique with an extensive use of scales played at stratospheric speeds, and a strange mixture of heavy metal and classical baroque. Not always the music that Malmsteen has produced turned out to be at the height of his virtuosity, but at least on this album (and also in the surprising "Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar And Orchestra") the results are gratifying. Although intended only for lovers of heavy metal and guitar, in its genre "Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force" is a successful album. Too bad that in the future almost never the Swedish guitarist will make music of this quality. No doubt, this is not a prog album. My final rating is 7/10 and 3,5 stars. Well, I'll give at the end four stars because it is a very innovative album in the heavy metal genre.

Final rating: 7/10.

Best song: Icarus Dream Suite Op.4

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Send comments to Dark Nazgul (BETA) | Report this review (#1279175)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2014 | Review Permalink

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