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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN - Rising Force cover
4.03 | 50 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 1984


1. Black Star (4:53)
2. Far Beyond the Sun (5:52)
3. Now Your Ships Are Burned (4:11)
4. Evil Eye (5:14)
5. Icarus' Dream Suite Op.4 (8:33)
6. As Above, So Below (4:39)
7. Little Savage (5:22)
8. Farewell (0:49)

Total Time 39:33


- Yngwie J. Malmsteen / all electric and acoustic guitars, bass, Taurus bass pedals
- Barriemore Barlow / drums
- Jens Johansson / keyboards
- Jeff Scott Soto / vocals on tracks 3 and 6

About this release

Label: Polydor

Thanks to NJCat_11 for the addition and rushfan4, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

I’ve been a big fan of what Malmsgteen has done – both Steeler and Alcatrazz had great records with him. However, I think he works much better as a lead guitarist than a solo artist. By rights this album is musically, technically impressive, incredibly so, and there are great tracks. However, it does get boring listening to Yngwie solo for 40 minutes. He writes fantastic riffs and solos, but they are much better appreciated in between choruses and verses, rather than back to back.

The impact of this album is just as respectable as the talent within, in that it inspired the entire subgenre of Neoclassical Metal, and had a huge influence on the Japanese metal scene for some reason. However, I'd rather listen to almost any Yngwie-influenced Neoclassical Metal band than this album devoid of substance.
Yngwie Malmsteen’s 1984 debut, ‘Rising Force’, is the album that inspired a whole generation to grab a guitar and learn how to play it really, really fast, as well as giving birth to what’s known as the neoclassical subgenre, a hybrid of metal guitar playing with classical music themes. It’s a highly influential album. But does it hold up well today?

Not really.

I went into this album with some intrigue. The outspoken Malmsteen has never been too modest to tell us underlings of his superior musical abilities, so I was interested to see what the fuss was about. And to be honest, I find it pretty boring. Don’t get me wrong, he plays with absolute precision and intensity, and no doubt in 1984 this was groundbreaking stuff. But by today’s standards, it just sounds like the same recycled classical lick played over and over.

There are a few songs with vocals which aren’t too bad, ‘Now Your Ships Are Burned’ and ‘As Above, So Below’, and in this aspect Malmsteen’s playing suits the music well. But for the most part, I just find this album dull, with all the songs serving as a self-indulgent excuse to play the same guitar scales as fast as possible.

Except for one song; ‘Icarus’ Dream Suite Op. 4’.

Wow! Where did this come from?! I can tolerate mindless shredding here, because the melodies when the song slows down are incredible. The clean guitar playing, the keyboards, everything here just comes together perfectly! This song itself is pretty damn amazing, and while ‘Rising Force’ generally bores the hell out of me, this song alone is enough for me to at least come back for more and see what else the master of men can conjure up.

No doubt this is highly regarded by fans, and in particular, by other guitarists, as a classic. But it just doesn’t work for me.
It's rare that you can point to a specific artist and album and say that here, right at that moment, is where a particular musical subgenre got its start, but you absolutely can with neoclassical metal - Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force album is patient zero for this high-technicality, classical-influenced, guitar-worshipping brand of metal.

This style has been derided from time to time as being nothing more than empty technical showboating, exacerbated by the fact that whereas progressive metal (which also gets accused of such showboating from time to time) at least tends to put a spotlight on a range of different instrumentalists, your typical neoclassical metal act is essentially a virtuoso guitarist and a group of backing musicians who are there to help the guitarist look good. Whether or not you consider that stereotype to be an outrageous slur on the scene or a perceptive assessment of some of its trends, you can't say that Malmsteen hasn't contributed to that image just a little, repeating his formula over sufficient albums that it's become an overworked, tired-out cliche.

It would be unfair, however, to tarnish this excellent debut album with that brush. The difference between this and so much of Malmsteen's subsequent discography is that, as a result of coming out first, it wasn't laden down with the expectations people had placed on Malmsteen's work. The general compositional approach hadn't yet ossified into a formula from which albums could be churned out by rote, and Malmsteen hadn't yet fallen into the trap of pandering more and more to fan expectations and believing more and more in his own hype, until his music became an overwrought caricature of itself.

Instead, what you get here is some dynamite classically-influenced heavy metal, building on a foundation reminiscent of early Queen (especially when Jeff Scott Soto's vocals come in) and adding intricate classically-inspired guitar work from Malmsteen himself. The end result is an electrifying performance which not only provides an exceptional showcase for Malmsteen's guitar skills, but is also a downright entertaining album in its own right. Don't hold Malmsteen's late-career turkeys against him and listen with an open mind.
The Album That Launched an Entire Movement

It would be hard to point to any guitarist besides Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen who changed the way electirc guitar was played more than Yngwie Malmsteen. Not only did he inspire the entire neo-classical shredder movement, his style is intrinsic to much prog metal, power metal, and certainly symphonic metal. And though Malmsteen has now recorded dozens of albums, most of his contribution was already made on RISING FORCE, his debut solo album.

Sweep picking, precise speed picking, expanded scale use, heavy classical phrasing all are already in full evidence here. "Black Star" and "Far Beyond the Sun" are still cited among the top guitar tracks of all time. My personal favorite is the "Icarus Dream Suite" which builds to a great cadenza about 2/3 of the way through the song. Malmsteen's steel string classical interludes are very nice, a step above most metal guitarists' attempts at classical.

The songwriting is still a little immature and several songs sound like they have programmed drums. Jeff Scott Soto's vocals are very out of place on the two vocal songs, and the lyrics are worse (likely written by Malmsteen.)

This is an icon of metal guitar. Van Halen I, Diary of a Madman, Rising Force, Surfing with the Alien - the guitar player's bible for players my age.

Members reviews

1967/ 1976
I love this album and probably without this album I wouldn't love him like I love Heavy Metal. But this album isn't a perfect album. For my taste this is an album that has aged well because it's great! In a sense this album without many metal guitarists would never be born. I like to compare this album with Chris Moneymaker represent for the poker! Because without Malmsteen Heavy Metal existed the same (and this also applies to Moneymaker and Poker), but it was not what we now know (at least for the symphonic and prog metal).

This album present great music, not comparable with Steeler and Alcatrazz, Yngwie previous bands. Because "Yngwie's Malmsteen's Rising Force" is only the "9th Symphony" of Rock! (and, for sure, the atmospheres are the same!!!) Malmsteen isn't new Hendrix or Blackmore but another type of axeman, a sort of Paganini, Beethoven or Mozart of Rock. Without boubts!!!

If you listen to in attentive mode "Far Beyond The Sun" you listen another song with Spring athmospheres... As if we were out of the mist of a heath and we were entering a beautiful English-style garden with a water and weeping willows! In the background a guitar player with a woman... The flight of ducks... The chirping of songbirds... A poet who declines verses... Farmers returning from the fields... Children chase each other... But "Evil Eye" is the Winter... A snowstorm... Treacherous mountains... Men on a mission... Dragons and wizards ready to kill men on the mission... An oppressed people... A knight who will kill all the dragons and wizards... A princess who awaits the return of Knight... Provided that Icarus can fly... Always the good Leonardo Da Vinci can give us flying... Provided that the seasons follow one another... Provided that two lovers defeat the darkness.

In truth this album for me is great not only for the music but also for the presence of Barriemore Barlow and Jens Johansson. Not for the presence of J.S. Soto, a singer that not please me. The music is a Renaissance version of Purple and Rainbow with Beethoven and Mozart in first plan and with insertions of Wagner in a pure Rock carpet. The guitar speaks, shouts, whispers as only a poem of Leopardi or Ungaretti can do. I know a goose that flies... Migrating from the north to Adriatic lagoons. Following a route not writing, not taught but that I know... That was kidnapped me.

Because write the history is not easy. Building is a natural thing. Because the Impressionistic Heavy Metal of Yngwie Malmsteen will be taught at school. And all will know "Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force!
Far beyond...

Heavily inspired by Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow, Brian May of Queen, Randy Rhoads of Ozzy Osbourne and Steve Hackett of Genesis as well as Classical music composers, in particular violinist Niccolò Paganini, Yngwie Malmsteen created Neo-Classical Metal with this impressive debut. It is useless to comment on Malmsteen's playing skills as they are widely known and rarely contested, but the equally impressive skills of keyboardist Jens Johansson is not often emphasized. The rest of the band consists of Jethro Tull drummer Barriemore Barlow and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. However, the music on this album is mostly instrumental.

Though heavily skilled on their respective instruments, instrumental skill is not the whole picture. The quality of the compositions is always the most important aspect of any music and while many, if not most, of Malmsteen’s other albums are lacking in that department, not so here. This debut album brings together some of his very best compositions and there is not a moment of thoughtless guitar shredding without melody and structure. All the songs are memorable which is not easy to achieve considering that this is mostly instrumental music.

The guitar and keyboard duels of Yngwie and Jens Johansson are great 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 these solos are well integrated into the overall compositions and they do not come across as overdone. The use of acoustic guitar, 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.

This groundbreaking and highly influential album is essential listening! Sadly, Malmsteen would never again make anything as great as this.
FANTASTIC DEBUT ALBUM and undoubtedly the mother of all modern guitar albums!It's without any reserve that this album marked the launch of the guitar heroes instrumental albums!It was unbelieveble that a guy from SWEDEN came to America to stun the world of guitar and took the community by storm with such a high caliber album!Yngwie was absolutelly phenomenal since the beginning and everybody-since then-had the feeling that a guitar monster was born!Fabulous speed and majestic melody in sensational neo classical style!An interesting line up-especially the drummer of JETHRO TULL-BARRIEMORE BARLOW and JEFF SCOTT SOTO a spectacular vocalist which shines even today-plus the maestro JENS JOHANSSON on keys-trully impressive!All songs are brilliant -6 instrumental and 2 excellent vocal tracks-high quality compositions where Malmsteen shines and delivers his tremendeous talent at 200 %!!5 STARS for the first true modern guitar hero album-a pure musical jewel!
Simply superb!.

One of the best albums of heavy metal as well of electric guitar ever. Still today, I´m surprised when I think that Ygnwie composed, played and produced this album when he hardly was twenty. For the record he count ed with the great Barriemore Barlow, former drummer of Jethro Tull, of whom John Bonham once said that was th best english drummer ever. In keyboards we found Jens Johanson, a stranger in that time, virtuoso keyboard player of classical training that would take a main role like a permanent member of tha band for several years. In the voice we have other musician that was unknown in that moment, nothing less than Jeff Scott Soto, whom we have seen bright high singing very different styles of music later, nevertheless only two tracks in the album have voice, being instrumental the rest of it.

From the very beginning of his career, Ygnwie has been very loved or very hated. A certain arrogance in his attitude and way of playing have caused him a lot of antagonism, but with no doubt, this record marked a turning point in music, bringing a barrage of virtuoso guitar players as well of creating a new style of making metal music which influences reach to today.

For the moment I will not coment track by track, but this is one of the records I would carry to a deserted island.
This album inspired me to play the guitar.

Yngwie J. Malmsteen has the ego of a supreme deity and the skill set to match. From the beautiful intro of "Black Star" to the familiar outro of "Farewell", this album is sublime. This wonderful debut is essential for every guitarist and just damn good music for everyone else. The first track of the album is my favorite song ever recorded by Malmsteen. It has a meloncholic presence that is awe-inspiring and relaxing all at once. The circus act of the next song, "Far Beyond the Sun", is far beyond the imagination and by itself a masterpiece as well. The frenzy of that song is again contrasted with the soft, moving "Icarus' Dream Suite Op.4", yet another masterpiece of guitar virtuosity. Though the album may be short, there is no shortage of great songs here.

This album is incredible, especially if the guitar is your love.

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