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Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force CD (album) cover


Yngwie Malmsteen


Prog Related

3.98 | 117 ratings

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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.

Negoba | 5/5 |


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