Neoclassical metal

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Neoclassical Metal is a sub-genre of metal music that draws strong influence from classical music in its playing and composition style. The most notable performer of the genre is Yngwie Malmsteen.

While neoclassical metal bands do exist, with a notable branch of the genre being neoclassical power metal, it is more commonly played by solo performers such as the aforementioned Yngwie Malmsteen. Instrumental artists are very common in the neoclassical metal genre.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Sisslith

neoclassical metal top albums

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CACOPHONY Speed Metal Symphony Album Cover Speed Metal Symphony
CACOPHONY
4.31 | 16 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Rising Force Album Cover Rising Force
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
4.14 | 39 ratings
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MARTY FRIEDMAN Dragon's Kiss Album Cover Dragon's Kiss
MARTY FRIEDMAN
4.13 | 13 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Trilogy Album Cover Trilogy
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.78 | 21 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Marching Out Album Cover Marching Out
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.66 | 22 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Attack!! Album Cover Attack!!
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.66 | 8 ratings
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TONY MACALPINE Edge Of Insanity Album Cover Edge Of Insanity
TONY MACALPINE
3.67 | 6 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor: Op. 1 Album Cover Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor: Op. 1
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.58 | 10 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Inspiration Album Cover Inspiration
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.56 | 9 ratings
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neoclassical metal Music Reviews

EXMORTUS Ride Forth

Album · 2016 · Neoclassical metal
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UMUR
"Ride Forth" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, California based metal act Exmortus. The album was released through Prosthetic Records in January 2016. It´s the successor to "Slave to the Sword" from 2014. There has been one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Clodoaldo Bibiano has been replaced by Mike Cosio.

Stylistically "Ride Forth" continues the energetic and melodic death/thrash metal style of the predecessor, but with an even stronger emphasis on their neo-classical leanings. It´s an interesting combination of elements, which also includes traditional heavy metal styled riffs and lyrical themes/imagery. When Exmortus play their most raw death/thrash parts they occasionally remind me of early- to mid 90s Carcass, but that´s only a very few times during the playing time, and overall I´d say a less known artist like Arghoslent are a more valid reference (minus the white supremacy lyrical themes of their fellow countrymen).

Exmortus are an exceptionally well playing act, and the listener is exposed to raw snarling vocals, neo-classical guitar shredding (and occasionally bass ditto), a tight playing rhythm section, and just overall powerful and memorable songwriting. Sometimes it´s almost a little too polished and nice, and a bit more rawness could have made the listening experience slightly more interesting, but it´s still relatively organic sounding and I particularly enjoy how it´s clearly audible that the guitars are played by two different guitarists, and that the guitars are produced with a "human" touch. The album is overall well produced.

The material on the 9 track, 43:26 minutes long album is generally well written and memorable. I could have wished for slightly more variation between tracks, but it´s not a major issue. One of the tracks which does stand out from the rest of the material, is the instrumental classically influenced "Appassionata". Upon conclusion it´s another quality release by Exmortus and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SILVER SERAPH Silver Seraph

Album · 2001 · Neoclassical metal
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siLLy puPPy
Have you ever wondered if certain bands were cryogenically preserved for several decades and then awakened totally unaware of the current musical world and decided to release the album that was supposed to be released before their long slumber? Well Sweden’s SILVER SERAPH gives me exactly that impression when i spin their eponymous debut and so far only release. While this was put out in 2001 it sounds like something that should have rightfully been unleashed unto the public way back in the 80s.

The project was created by Pete Sandberg (Midnight Sunk, Opus Atlantica) but also features Richard Andersson (Space Odyssey, Time Requiem, Majestic) on keyboards, Jens Lundahl on bass, Jörgen Birch-Jensen on guitar and Peter Wildoer on drums. The music is basically neoclassical power metal that has a throwback feel to the late 70s / early 80s and feels extremely primitive for its release date however it does have that awkward 90s feel of a neoclassical / glam metal band that suddenly feels inferior and tries to add a touch of alternative metal to the overall mix. I’m sorry to say, but this just ain’t flying with me.

To be honest, this would’ve been fairly mediocre for the 80s. It has a rather 70s Rainbow hard rock feel within the song compositions and rhythmic drive especially prevalent in the guitar and keyboard department but only occasionally flairs up to 80s standards. In reality, this is fairly weak. Sandberg’s vocals are fairly flat for a power metal vocalist, Birch-Jensen is no Malmsteen or Jason Becker as the solos are fairly cookie cutter and uninspiring and the drums of Wildoer are downright lazy. I’m blown away by how boring this album really is. The only “star” on board is Andersson with his keyboard contributions but even they are nothing new under the sun.

This was a hard album to sit through. It is so cliche, so trite and so inferior to anything to emerge as neoclassical or power metal that i simply cannot believe anyone thought that this was a good idea in the first place. The tracks are weak, the musicianship is lax and my attention span makes me feel like i’ve been banished to an inferior dimension parallel to the 80s where i’m forced to listen to crap like this for eternity. I would probably give this 3 stars if it did come out in the 80s but this is just pure crap for 2001. The track “Loving You” even tackles the stomach-hurling power ballad that was mandatory for pop glam metal bands of the 80s. Is this nostalgic? No! I’d rather listen to crappy Bon Jovi or Poison over this. The album is somewhat ok-ish but i’m left feeling pretty bored. This is no Symphony X for sure.

EXMORTUS Ride Forth

Album · 2016 · Neoclassical metal
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adg211288
Ride Forth (2016) is the fourth full-length album by US thrash metal act Exmortus. The band previously caught my attention with their previous effort Slave to the Sword (2014); an excellent thrash metal effort that had a strong footing in both the power metal and neoclassical metal camps.

This time around though the Exmortus sound has evolved to greatly favour their neoclassical element, which I’d say is the dominant sound on Ride Forth. There is still some thrash here, but I have great difficulty considering this to be a thrash metal album (especially a technical thrash metal album which is Exmortus’ usual niche). The riffs are fast paced but overall more in line with power/speed metal, a feeling only enhanced by how melodic the album is. Thrash metal implies a level of raw abrasiveness that musically Ride Forth severely lacks. The vocals are growled (yet intelligible), but that nods more towards melodic death metal, or more aptly extreme power metal (which contrary to popular belief is not what Dragonforce play), to my ears.

Of course having heard Slave to the Sword previously this all just seems like a natural progression of the band’s sound. Exmortus are pretty damn good at writing an awesome neoclassical guitar lead. Overall though, I have to say that I don’t find Ride Forth to be an as interesting album as Slave to the Sword. It’s a good well crafted release from the US band but it doesn’t have me clambering for more nor overly interested in giving it many re-listens down the line. I find that the opening track Speed of the Strike really hits its mark in terms of making the record’s new direction felt, but once you get a few tracks in the album starts to sound a bit business as usual. The instrumental Appassionata is insanely awesome though, also a clear highlight of the album.

While I do have to concede that Ride Forth is a step back for Exmortus I don’t actually feel let down by this album. I think it’s great that Exmortus choose to try something a little differently with the influences I heard on Slave to the Sword. It shows that they’re not a one trick pony who are content to make a carbon copy of their previous work, which of course means that there’s every chance that those who didn’t enjoy Slave to the Sword as much as I did will in turn enjoy Ride Forth more than I have. It takes all kinds after all.

JOE STUMP The Dark Lord Rises

Album · 2015 · Neoclassical metal
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Steve N. Mavronis
They call him the “Shredlord” for good reason. No, this isn’t a review of the Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel with a new character on-board. But as the Universe spawns more Guitar Gods, he’s right up there next to the royal thrones currently occupied by his influences; Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, and the late Gary Moore. Like the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus giving mankind the forbidden fire of knowledge, in a very real way Joe Stump does the same with the students who study from him, and devoted fans alike. He’s an Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee Music College in Boston, Massachusetts. His musical career spans over 20 years with 13 solo albums and projects with other bands like Reign Of Terror and HolyHell. His newest solo album features 11 instrumental tracks running just over 1 hour, 6 minutes.

01. Hostile Takeover - A mighty pick slide introduces this aggressively played song with a pulsing main riff that reminds me of playing the 3D shooter game Doom. That’s how it makes me feel - like I’ve been ravaged by hordes of Zombie Soldiers, fire throwing Imps, and one-eyed Cacodemons! It’s pretty intense and in your face. The melody lines and arpeggios are quite interesting and his guitar solo totally rocks. Lion Music released the full song on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Qf7hc-U_jxc so take a listen.

02. Stratomaster - Joe’s inner-Blackmore comes out in this song, with a ‘Double Penetration’ vinaigrette blending of classic rock and neoclassic elements. This makes for a tasty musical tossed salad indeed. Straight to the point, this is a rocking song that Shreds throughout. There is also a cool spooky rising and falling rhythmic interlude section towards the end that I really like too.

03. Out For Blood - This song is looking to exact some revenge and isn’t looking for any redemption for sins committed in the past. Scalar runs, galloping palm mute rhythm chords, neoclassic melodies and pedal tones, drum matching staccato, harmony parts, fast articulated arpeggios… Joe’s taking no prisoners so you’d better listen or get out of the way!

04. The Black Knight Returns - An erie eastern feeling is in the air. I’m not sure how Joe’s getting an almost Indian Sitar-like sound. Maybe he’s using a delay and octave pedal effect with volume knob swells? But whatever, it’s a unique recording on this album. The Blackmore vibe and driving rhythm serves to intensify the musical journey you’re being taken on. That’s what good songs do. Checkmate.

05. Tortured Soul - Joe lays off the accelerator a bit for what must be a Gary Moore inspired piece. Lesser notes in this case translates into musical expression that’s packed with plenty of feeling and emotion, very much like one of my earlier favorites of his called The Beacon. This song is literally crying out with pain and anguish wanting to be released. Gary, we still miss you. Rest in peace bro.

06. The Dark Lord’s Allegro - Niccolò Paganini always left his audiences spellbound too. I mean, how can any human possibly play that stuff? Joe has completely mastered the style that Yngwie had reinvented centuries later that we now know as Neoclassic Rock. This song captures the essence of what Paganini passed onto us. Malmsteen will always be our Neoclassic King. Stump earned the right to be called Shredlord.

07. Staring Into The Abyss - You lean over the steep precipice, your heart pounding out of your chest, adrenaline pumping to prepare you for what’s next. Do you jump in? This song features tremolo picking, flanging, choral effects, pinch harmonics, heavy Maiden-esque sounding riffs, and some really great neoclassic soloing. There’s a lot going on here. What more could you ask for?

08. Concerto No.2 In B Flat Minor - As the name implies this short piece is a very classically oriented song. It’s in a key that I really love and reminds me of a philharmonic symphony orchestra performance for 2 electric guitars playing together in perfect harmony with each other. It’s a keeper.

09. Neo-Classical Shredfest No.4 - After a series of arpeggios segue into a little evil sounding motif, this song suddenly breaks into a uplifting theme that seems to harken the spirit of the late Randy Rhoads. I really like how the bass lines compliment the Shredlord’s playing too. His speedy neoclassic solo takes you Beyond the Sun and back again into a heavy riff progression that ends with a climatic cadenza of Shred Fury.

10. Battle Tested - This is the Heavy Shred anthem of the album. It packs a punch and won’t let up. Joe’s phrasing is very melodic and musical, yet the song has all the power of an exploding volcano. Hot neoclassic lava flows down its flanks, forging a Guitar Axe like a hardened steel weapon fit for a Shredlord of his caliber. This is one of my favorites.

11. Brothers In Shred (Bonus Track) - For the first time in history Joe Stump features 2 guest guitarists on this special bonus track. Dean Cascione (2:41) shows off his Paganini inspired soloing mastery of the neoclassic style along with his signature arpeggios and pedal tones. David Shankle (3:11) solos so much faster than humanly possible it should be illegal. All 3 of them have a distinctive style all their own. The overall song has classic Shredlord signature riffs and neoclassic styled composition.

MARTY FRIEDMAN Dragon's Kiss

Album · 1988 · Neoclassical metal
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siLLy puPPy
MARTY FRIEDMAN may be best known for his decade long stint as lead guitarist for Megadeth churning out metal masterpieces like “Rust In Piece” but it was this album that Dave Mustaine heard that convinced him to hire MARTY to fill that roll. His debut solo album DRAGON'S KISS has been a favorite shredding classic for a long time now. After the two album duration in Cacophony with fellow neoclassical shredder Jason Becker, MARTY FRIEDMAN released his own thunderous roar of a shredder's manifesto. This is an all instrumental affair with MARTY handling all guitars, bass and production. Jason Becker makes a cameo on three tracks and Deen Castronovo from Cacophony handles drumming duties. This is an early Shrapnel Records release and like most of them from the era the production is utter crap.

This is an album for lovers of virtuoso musicianship. MARTY FRIEDMAN remains one of the finest guitarists in all of rock history but on this debut album he displays his sweeping arpeggios, exotic scales, masterful picking and progressive time signatures with a sense of flair and bravado unmatched on his following solo releases. MARTY is all about worshiping the melody and nails it on every move here. Although he can shred like nobody's business, it's his calculated discretion as to when to do so and when to let the note wail milking every conceivable possibility for its use. The music here is thunderous traditional 80s metal with speed ladened licks running up and down the scales shifting moods and tempos in a flash but also contains fair amounts of laid back slow building crescendo inducing scales and chord changes. Every little note is well placed and the aim of this music is to create a pleasing emotional response while simultaneously blowing your mind technically speaking.

DRAGON'S KISS is simply put a brilliant masterpiece of instrumental music that works in every possible way. Melodically, energetically, exotic flair etc. I am so tempted to give this 5 stars because MARTY's guitar playing and songwriting are of that caliber however the production is just awful and MARTY's bass playing skills don't match his guitar talents. A very close call but these flaws really keep this album in the 4 star range. If you are thrilled by faster-than-the-speed-of-light guitar wizardry that worships the melody then this is a mandatory addition to any guitar freaks collection where melody rich metal will melt your soul with every sweeping picking frenzy. Every track on here is outstanding but I still have a few faves. One of my absolute favorite instrumental musical pieces ever is the mind-blowing “Forbidden City” followed by “Evil Thrill,” the beautiful “Narada” and “Jewel.”

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