Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Rising Force - Yngwie Malmsteen

This is the debut album by Yngwie MalmsteenSwedish neoclassical metal/shredder. This album is pretty solid, I'll say that off the bat, this album also finds itself often on lists of "Best of..." lists. I figured I should do this because of my recent listening to Yngwie. But what broke the camels back and brought forth the review is to show why World on Fire not only sucks, but it causes cancer. The line up for the album is one Yngwie on guitar, Moog Taurus (a foot operated synthesizer), and bass. It also features Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Jen Johansson on keyboards and Barriemore Barlow on drums. 
  1. Black Star: Opening the record we get a classical guitar introduction. I really like that and its a nice introduction before the bass and drums set up the actual song and the lead guitar comes in. I like the sort of building its doing and the synths acting as strings to set up the atmosphere. The dual lead guitars are great and I think add to the atmosphere and feeling. I like how this isn't overtly in your face. The guitars aren't overwhelming. I mean you can barley hear the bass, but the guitar is great sounding and the drums are still audible. There is a composition to this that is interesting and the bass during dual harmonies part that repeats is freaking great. Shame you need headphones to hear it, or maybe Jason Newson has an uncredited bass performance here :D. But this thing really is a great tune and a great introduction to what's about to come. Also I do have to admit I have a soft spot for these sort of epic early/lo-fi synth neoclassical guitar shredder type albums. I don't know who to explain it, but if they tend to have similar production. 
  2. Far Beyond the Sun: Maybe my favorite song by Yngwie, along with I'll See The Light Tonight. There's a confidence here that may have been lacking on the last track, but I love the harmonies on this and damn is this thing great to drive on a highway fast to. It's really what Yngwie is all about, well back before he became someone stuck in the 80's. I really think his tone is great here, and the composition is also more focused and "fire!". Great stuff, and possibly the best trait of it being kinda fun and exciting to hear. There's is a glorious feeling when you get that sort of return to the head in the solo. It's pretty epic. 
  3. Now Your Ships Are Burned: I hate myself, I'm a guitarist and I can't fucking think of the techniques he's using. This is the first song with vocals, from Jeff Scott Soto, but the intro is pretty great. There's a sort of Scorpions vibe, but maybe sped up, to this track. Something with Uli playing on it. Jeff is a solid singer, and the instrumental shines here to be honest. I love the sort of vamp in the middle and how it has a part for the bass to shine. That's a nice little touch, it isn't just Yngwie's guitar (though he is also playing the bass, so you could argue he's doing it to show off). I don't know, I don't think it's that. 
  4. Evil Eye: I really like this composition a lot, and it opens with a solid classical guitar intro. I don't think it over stays it's welcome but I think the transition works for the song. The down side is its based off Bouree, and since I don't know the entire composition by heart I can't say what is or isn't just a variation, or if it was just inspired by the track. When the song starts it starts out epic and feels great. I like the double hits of the drums, the gallop (can't think of what that's called). I really think the instrumentation and how everything is working together to make a sort of hypnotic feeling is great. I could almost see this taking you down to hell. The little changes here and there keep the track from becoming stale. It works well in my honest opinion. I also love the vamp section for the dueling keys and guitar and then the dual keys/guitar. Damn! This is fucking spit fire. This really is a well put together instrumental composition. The guitar solo towards the ending is nice and when the track slows down that's also a nice touch but yeah. It's solid and I love the ending, that's a really nice touch. Something different I guess you know. I've said I in this tracks review haven't I.
  5. Icarus' Dream Suite Op. 4: This track finds itself based off Adagio in G minor by Remo Giazotto. Now that being said I really dig this track and its very epic. There is a great laid back and almost heavenly feeling to the beginning of this tune. The keys almost make me wanna say Angelo Badalamenti sounding, though this predated Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. After that some gorgeous acoustic guitar comes in with some great keys and a nice guitar wailing in the background, but not too overtly. I like when the other instruments come in, and the transitions on this is pretty great to be honest. This track feels like it deserves to be the six minutes it is. I mean I like majority of the track here, but some feel like they might go a bit long for what your getting i guess. This is justified. I really like the sequence in the track also, I mean it kinda takes you out of the song, but I do like it. I also love that guitar and the sort of like multiple guitars playing at the same time transitioning into that being played on electric guitar and a band. This is top notch bru. I do like the distant acoustic guitar sounds on this album a lot, I don't know why but I do. I also like the playful lead that comes in and it just feels fun. This also reminds me a bit of Love to Love by UFO (an all time favorite of mine). 
  6. As Above, So Below: Now this is where I think the album kind of loses some steam. Not in that this is bad, but in that I kinda feel this should end the album. The organ intro would be a great transition into the last track, or to close the album. I mean don't get me wrong I dig this tune and move the harmonies. I also like that Jeff's back, but I feel like this should have finished the album maybe. I really like the vocals on this in the chorus. I mean again Jeff is a bit confusing. I think when he's singing in there are times he doesn't sound like he's hitting the notes but then the long high notes are glorious, and I am chorus is fucking great. I don't know, also I think the sequence here works very well and doesn't take you out of the song. The guitar work and the key work on here is, guess what I'm gonna say...... Top notch. No really, this thing is fucking great. The thing I can't pin down is the vocals though, but I don't think I may ever. Now after that outro I'm kinda checked out. Like that's the most logical outro, for what is presented on the album. 
  7. Little Savage: This should be track 6. I mean yeah I like this song, but after that last track and sitting through the rest of this album I don't see how this enhances or really adds to the album. I mean there's a part of me that loves the slower solo part, but then there's a part that goes, why why why place this after that last song. I mean maybe the solo section is worth it to be here, but place it one track before. I also like the harpsichord, but yeah I like harpsichords so. I also like the keys on this quite a bit, but again at this point in the record there isn't much of a point I guess. I mean the way this ends might have even worked better if the organ followed.
  8. Farwell: I think this would work as an ending track if it sequenced from As Above, So Below. Like the organ maybe ended and the sustain from it carried over into this. Or the acoustic guitar and organ crossed and the organ became the guitar. Or maybe a few seconds of silence to let the organ die off and then you hear the acoustic guitar. Then you get the book closer you wanted Yngwie. Which yes its your first record, so I can't be super mad, but I mean I wish you would have done one of those you know. 
Overall I have to give this album a 8.8/10. My friend Justin (his review here) mentioned he didn't like virtuous-osity-ness shoved down his throat, Here it feels natural, and lacks the cockiness (though has confidence) of his later albums where he doesn't need to change his sound or style or even practice playing. I'd go as far as after Trilogy it goes down hill. This works because it's fresh, then, and well its also kinda fun to hear and maybe try to learn the lead guitar lines, licks and sweeping. Plus these are all memorable, and don't sound exactly alike. It doesn't just have one or two songs that are only revisit-able on an occasion or greatest hits/anthology collection spanning a career, there are multiple songs that should appear one of those. These songs here are all solid enough in their own right, and deserve to be heard. I like this record quite a bit. 

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