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Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force: Odyssey CD (album) cover


Yngwie Malmsteen

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4 stars Malmsteen's fourth studio album from 1988 named simply Odyssey. One of my fav Malmsteen albums, great heavy/AOR here with plenty of neo clasical moments the main ingredients of Malmsteen albums, with great guitar chops and excellent keyboard interplay with guitar. John Lynn Turner is a brilliant vocalist who fits very well in this kind of music. Jens Johansson is a magnificient keyboard player showing how great he is on Krakatau,an instrumental piece of the highest calibre, he will be a permanent member in Stratovarius and colaborations with many artist over the years one of them is Mastermind. So a big album that desearves 4 stars easely. The next one Eclipse will be my fav Malmsteen album ever.
Report this review (#531254)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Difficult to cure!

It is hardly a secret that Ritchie Blackmore is one of Yngwie Malmsteen's biggest heroes. This was perhaps nowhere more evident that on Odyssey where Malmsteen employed Joe Lynn Turner and Bob Daisley, both ex-Rainbow. Personally, I don't like Joe Lynn Turner's voice and I think that he had a very negative influence on both Rainbow and on Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force and (subsequently) on Deep Purple. The albums to which Turner lent his voice are, in my opinion, the worst of Rainbow and Deep Purple respectively and his presence on the present album is not more flattering. Still, there are some good moments on this album.

The album starts out well enough with the eponymous song Rising Force featuring some great guitar and keyboard interplay from Malmsteen and Johansson and even a surprisingly good vocal from Turner. Then, however, comes the shock! Hold On, Heaven Tonight and Dreaming (Tell Me) are three songs of just the type to be expected from a Joe Lynn Turned- fronted band: cheesy and syrupy. Heaven Tonight is the worst of the trio with its übercommercial feel.

Most of what comes after is not that bad, some of it is not bad at all actually, but for this reviewer it is too late to bring this album back on track after the three above mentioned tracks and push it up into the good category. Not very surprisingly given my distaste for Turner, I like the instrumentals and the instrumental sections in the vocal tracks the best. Riot In The Dungeon, like the opening Rising Force, is a great track and could have been even better with Jeff Scott Soto or Mark Boals (or someone else) behind the microphone. Bite The Bullet, Krakatua and Memories are instrumentals, the latter two of which closes the album.

Thankfully, Joe Lynn Turner would leave the band again after this album, but sadly so would the brilliant keyboardist Jens Johansson. Out of the four first Malmsteen albums, Odyssey is the least good and I can only recommend this album to fans (and even more to fans of Joe Lynn Turner). If you are interested (and you should!) in investigating the music of Malmsteen, don't start with this album. Start instead with the much better first three albums.

Report this review (#535360)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Other End of Yngwie

Oh how meister shred wanted to be a rock star. From the costumes, the persona, the posing, clearly Mr. Malmsteen desperately wanted to hit the big time. While Yngwie's legacy really could have been established by his debut album alone, he continued to make albums for decades more. For good or bad, this later sound was enormously influential on what was to become the genres of prog metal and power metal. As a shred head in the 1980's I devoured everything Malmsteen did up through the early 90's. However, I would offer that 20 years later, you need only two albums, the seminal debut and this album, which is Malmsteen's best "mainstream" offering. I bought this album when it was first released and at the time Yngwie made no bones about it being a publicity grab. While the previous two albums had been moving more and more in this direction, ODYSSEY is where everything really fell together. Adding Rainbow alum Joe Lynn Turner made for some of the best Power-Pop in Yngwie's catalog. While some bemoan Turner's pop sensibilities, his sense of melody really helped Yngwie's compositions progress past earlier tries at vocal music.

Unlike the debut, where the vocal songs are just laughably bad, there really are some viable full band songs on this album. The best is the opener "Rising Force" which has a kicking main riff, a great raise-your-fist style lyric (about the only thing this crew could viably write about), and a jaw-dropping solo. "Dreaming (Tell Me)" is a power ballad typical of the time in feel, but musically more interesting than the songs that were on the radio. Yngwie sprinkles the song with some classical ideas and tonality, and it's one of the few 80's power ballads I can still listen to. "Hold On" and "Heaven Tonight" aren't nearly as good but the instrumentals "Bite the Bullett," "Krakatau," and "Memories" make up for them easily.

Of course, the main point of any Yngwie album is to listen to the guitars wail. By Odyssey, Malmsteen actually had progressed from his initial bag of tricks and was much more musical in his application of his technique. In addition, the interplay of Yngwie and keyboardist Jens Johannson was well established, and the sound and style of the solo sections here became a template for countless metal bands to follow. I remember thinking at the time that the keyboard player was just as good as Yngwie, though no one seemed to mention him. I wasn't alone. Not surprisingly, Johannson has went on to be a valuable piece of other bands where really Malmsteen peaked here on this album.

Yngwie hoped this would be the album that brought him to the spotlight. It didn't. But it really was a high point for his entire body of work, post-instrumental debut. While "Trilogy" and "Marching Out" were pointing in this direction, when I listen to all the modern shred guitarists across European metal, this is the album I hear. Enormously influential, I would place ODYSSEY as an essential part of the history of metal. As prog, it's still an excellent addition to anyone's collection.

Report this review (#537913)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The one off cooperation between Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Lynn Turner.

This was a one album only cooperation between these two big egos. The promo photos from that time were with those two guys. Before and in particular on all other albums, all promo photos has only featured Yngwie. I think this explains why this was album and the supporting gigs was so one off. It is a pity really because this was a marriage made in heaven.

Joe Lynn Turner, who was well used to working with big guitar hero egos, managed to hold Yngwie Malmsteen under control on this album. An album which is a very nice balance between the vocals and the guitars. Helped off course by some keyboards too. The result is a very good AOR heavy rock album which feels like a band effort where everyone puts in their stuff and it comes out as good music from the speakers. No doubts Yngwie Malmsteen's best album up to that point and his ticket to stardom. Why this was not made into a permanent band is a crying shame, really.

Odyssey is an album full of really good songs, although with a dated sound. Joe Lynn Turner's vocals are excellent and Yngwie's guitars are kept under control. No excessive dull guitar solos can be found here. The good melody is what this album is all about. This is probably the only album I would recommend by Yngwie Malmsteen. Probably because I gave him up after Eclipse.

3.75 stars

Report this review (#576585)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2011 | Review Permalink

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