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 (shared with Power Metal & US Power Metal):
  • DippoMagoo (leader)
  • adg211288
  • Sisslith

neoclassical metal top albums

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CACOPHONY Speed Metal Symphony Album Cover Speed Metal Symphony
CACOPHONY
4.20 | 17 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Rising Force Album Cover Rising Force
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
4.08 | 43 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Inspiration Album Cover Inspiration
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
4.17 | 10 ratings
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MARTY FRIEDMAN Dragon's Kiss Album Cover Dragon's Kiss
MARTY FRIEDMAN
4.09 | 13 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
4.11 | 10 ratings
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TONY MACALPINE Edge Of Insanity Album Cover Edge Of Insanity
TONY MACALPINE
3.84 | 7 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Facing the Animal Album Cover Facing the Animal
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.83 | 8 ratings
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TONY MACALPINE Maximum Security Album Cover Maximum Security
TONY MACALPINE
3.78 | 10 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Alchemy Album Cover Alchemy
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.75 | 10 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Marching Out Album Cover Marching Out
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.73 | 25 ratings
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YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Trilogy Album Cover Trilogy
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN
3.71 | 23 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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JASON BECKER Perpetual Burn

Album · 1988 · Neoclassical metal
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SilentScream213
Jason Becker, to me, is actually the least appealing of the many Neoclassical guitar heroes of the 80’s. He is arguably the most talented guitar player, but when it comes to songwriting, or playing anything memorable, or evocative, he doesn’t do it for me. There’s also the backing band – or lack thereof. Unlike some shredders like David Chastain who love giving their highly capable backing band moments to shine, this is just Becker, basically soloing for 40 minutes over very simple and repetitive backing music. His skill is incredible yes, but it’s basically a gimmick album at this point. The only appeal is that this guy plays so amazingly fast it might distract you from the fact that nothing else is going on.

TONY MACALPINE Maximum Security

Album · 1987 · Neoclassical metal
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SilentScream213
As per MacAlpine’s usual style, Maximum Security is a classy, lush guitar hero album that showcases a lot more than pure speed or technical proficiency (though MacAlpine has those in spades). Great attention is paid to the songwriting and atmosphere here, with keys playing a very prominent role. They switch between dueling with lead guitar melodies and adding thoughtful ambiance to back it. Not much needs to be said about the guitar work itself, which is mostly top tier quality if a bit generic as far as guitar heroes go. Every song (save the short piano solo) is very strong, and most even manage to be memorable in their guitar hooks, which is a hard feet in instrumental metal.

VINNIE MOORE Mind's Eye

Album · 1986 · Neoclassical metal
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SilentScream213
Aside from perhaps Watchtower, this was the most technical, progressive, and impressive display of musicianship in metal as of 1986. Sure there were other guitar gods – Malmsteen, MacAlpine, to name a couple – and any one of them could be considered “the best.” Vinnie Moore could absolutely compete with the big names in terms of pure technical skill. However, Moore had two qualities that most guitar shredders lack.

First of all, Moore is not just a soloist – he is a brilliant songwriter. As far as instrumental metal goes, Moore doesn’t write songs that sound like no more than a showcase for his talent; they are complete compositions, entertaining throughout, memorable, sometimes catchy, sometimes evocative. I haven’t quite figured out why yet, but I do prefer my music to have vocals, and usually instrumental music feels like it’s missing something to me. Mind’s Eye does not. It is fully realized material that stands on its own.

Second of all, the backing band. This might as well be a supergroup – MacAlpine himself is on keys, just as proficiently filling the role as he does shredding solo – but every member is very, very skilled. Moore is obviously the bandleader, but he does not outshine the other members. They keep up, they are given moments to shine, and they constantly add unique elements under the masterful guitar playing. Not only are there no songs less than great, but there are really no moments less than great, as there is always so much going on in every given moment.

Unfortunately, it does have a ceiling. Instrumental virtuoso metal might not get better than this, but that style is still a limited, niche style best in small doses.

YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Marching Out

Album · 1985 · Neoclassical metal
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SilentScream213
Yngwie’s sophomore solo album is much more traditionally structured like a regular album, with almost every song featuring vocals (strong vocals at that) and the improvised noodling is kept to a minimum. Depending on your taste, that can be a plus or a minus, but for me it’s a huge plus. Yngwie works best as support – he writes fantastic riffs, and his solos are excellent in small doses, rather than dedicating entire songs to him improvising. Although far from pop songs, the vocals feature some fantastically catchy choruses, and though the songs delve into anthemic arena rock territory, Yngwie keeps it interesting by ensuring the backing riffs are as technical and engaging as ever.

Definitely an improvement over the debut in my opinion, which was impressive but occasionally boring.

YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN Rising Force

Album · 1984 · Neoclassical metal
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SilentScream213
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.

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