YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN — Rising Force (review)

YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN — Rising Force album cover Album · 1984 · Neoclassical metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Negoba
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.
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