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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Malmsteen, Yngwie J (And Rising Force) - 1984 Rising Force
Malmsteen, Yngwie J (And Rising Force) - 1984 Rising Force

ARTIST: Malmsteen, Yngwie J (And Rising Force)
ALBUM: Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 825 324-1 (LP), 825 324-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1994, Polydor (Japan), POCP-2309 * 2007, Universal Japan), UICY-93352


LINEUP: Yngwie J. Malmsteen - guitar, bass * Jeff Scott Soto - vocals * Barriemore Barlow - drums * Jens Johansson - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Black Star * 02 Far Beyond The Sun * 03 Now Your Ships Are Burned * 04 Evil Eye * 05 Icarus' Dream Suite Opus * 06 As Above, So Below * 07 Little Savage * 08 Farewell


Malmsteen's reputation as a technical genius was well sealed by the time of this, his first recording under his own name. Malmsteen had moved to the U.S. in 1983 after one of his demo tapes had caught the eye of Shrapnel label head Mike Varney. Malmsteen had little alternative than to relocate to America after finding little interest in his work in his native Sweden, and his first project, as assigned by Varney was Steeler, a competent metal outfit that boasted Ron Keel on vocals. Despite a punishing debut it was the only output from Steeler, dissolving due to no real interest in them. Malmsteen's next stop was Graham Bonnet's Alcatrazz, another wonderful project for Malmsteen, that again only lasted one studio album and a live recording. It was all superior to what followed, Malmsteen going solo with his Rising Force band, featuring the vocals of Jeff Scott Soto and ex Jethro Tull drummer Barriemore Barlow. This established Malmsteen as a neoclassical guitar king, with a series of lengthy instrumentals that to this day fit in well with the current European Power Metal boom. Whether it excited or not is open to opinion, at times melodically awesome, other moments repetitive and stagnant.

The Songs
One of the more amazing aspects of 'Rising Force' is that it reached no 60 on Billboard, confirming Malmsteen's ever burgeoning reputation at that point, the comparisons between he and Ritchie Blackmore reaching overload. Malmsteen took his style a notch further, playing with more speed, but perhaps less interest, as the album is comprised largely of mammoth guitar and keyboard pieces with precious little of Soto's vocals. Thus many tracks are indistinguishable from each other unless precious attention is paid to every minute note emitted from Yngwie's Strat. This style of metal always has been an acquired taste, you either like it or you don't. There is merit to be found in 'Far Beyond The Sun' which surges frenetically, a staggering display of galloping riffs, backed by bursts of keyboard squalls and the blinding fretwork of Malmsteen. It's more satisfying to hear Soto in action, witness the excellent 'Now Your Ships Are Burned', a prime slice of energetic 80's metal. This compares favourably to early Savatage, namely 'The Dungeons Are Calling'. The second half contains some quieter acoustic moments, notably some medieval sounding organs from Johansson which leads into 'As Above, So Below' which nears the Manowar scale of epic metal, Soto's soaring vocals outshining even Malmsteen. Thumbs up for the pompish keyboard interlude on 'Little Savage', which provides a brief moment of excitement.

In Summary
This established Malmsteen as a key figure in guitar circles, as overnight aspiring guitarists sought to emulate his distinct style leading to another wave of speed over all else in the mid 80's. The album was nominated for a Grammy in the rock instrumental category, a deserved nomination. Malmsteen took his neoclassical bent even further in 1986 with 'Trilogy', although I'm more partial to the more accessible AOR/hard rock stance of 1988's 'Odyssey', which saw Joe Lynn Turner take over the vocal department. 'Rising Force' can be a task to fully appreciate, but there are enough worthwhile passages that endear it nearly twenty years later. Just keep your eyes open until they arrive..

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#1 | Jokerdean on March 22 2006 18:43:27
This Really lit a fire under all us guitar players asses! Blazing speed, chops, vast musical knowledge, damn Yngwie has it all. I loved the fact that he has a J in his name, so we didn't confuse him with the other Yngwies at the timeGrin (LOL) I Love this one! Still Play it today! Wink
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