Malmsteen released his first solo album Rising Force in 1984, which featured Barrie Barlow of Jethro Tull on drums. His album was really meant to be an instrumental side-project of Alcatrazz, but it contained vocals, and Malmsteen left Alcatrazz soon after the release of Rising Force.
Rising Force won the Guitar Player Magazines award for Best Rock Album and was also nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Rock Instrumental’, achieving #60 on the Billboard album chart.
Yngwie J. Malmsteens Rising Force Rising Force
Label: Polydor 825 324-2
Style: Heavy Metal
Recorded: Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, California
Genre: Neo-classical metal, heavy metal, instrumental rock
Producer: Yngwie Malmsteen
Rising Force is the first studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released in 1984 through Polydor Records. An article in Guitar World magazine ranked the album as first in the all-time top ten list of shred albums.
All songs written and composed by Yngwie Malmsteen.
1. “Black Star” 4:53
2. “Far Beyond the Sun” 5:52
3. “Now Your Ships Are Burned” 4:11
4. “Evil Eye” 5:14
5. “Icarus’ Dream Suite Op. 4” (based on Remo Giazottos “Adagio in G minor”) 8:33
6. “As Above, So Below” 4:39
7. “Little Savage” 5:22
8. “Farewell” 0:49
Yngwie Malmsteen electric guitar, acoustic guitar, Moog Taurus, bass guitar, production
Jeff Scott Soto vocals
Jens Johansson keyboard, harpsichord arrangement (track 7)
Barriemore Barlow drums
The very mention of the name Yngwie Malmsteen should be enough to have any rock fan jumping out of the window, for was he not one of the inventors of that guitar abuse called “shredding”? For the uninitiated, shredding simple means that the guitarist shows off his amazing technical playing abilities via intricate and lightning fast guitar passages. The downside of putting such emphasis on guitar techniqe however was that Yngwie, and all the shredders that followed in his wake, tended to overlook the importance of writing good songs. The result would often be interesting to guitar freaks, but not to the rest of the world’s population.
Not so on this debut however. Malmsteen gathered some very talented band members around him and came up with one of the rare “Shredland” examples, where the songs are as strong as the playing. Apart from that it’s also important for a second reason as it’s an early, maybe even the earliest, example of a new Heavy Metal subgenre called ‘Neo-Classical Metal’ which combines Heavy Metal riffs with certain style elements from Classical composers such as Mozart, Johan Sebastian Bach and Beethoven (although it’s especially the spirit of Paganini, one of Malmsteen’s favourite composers and musicians, that shimmers through in this case).
The music on Rising Force can be described best as a pumped up version of Rainbow, with lots of fast and long instrumental passages that serve as a background for Malmsteen’s amazing guitar solo’s. ‘Little Savage’ especially is an instrumental that you can listen to without going “yawn” after a few minutes. It’s composed intelligently, with a few different themes that follow each other in a natural way. But ‘Evil Eye’ is even better, even more elaborated. If Mozart or Bach were metalheads, this is what their music may have sounded like. But there are “real songs” on the album as well. With vocals, I mean. The lyrics are mostly fantasy stuff, yet it’s not the lyrics that count, but the vocal melodies carrying them and these are more than decent. ‘Now Your ships are burned’ is but one example of such a song.
In short, there isn’t anything negative I can say about this album, even though I’d want to. On this debut, the song writing and the vision behind it all still equalled his narcissism. So, if you have only heard his later work, and you thought it was pompous and soulless, take some time to rediscover the man’s earlier stuff. You might be pleasantly surprised.
This dude from Sweden with the attitude from hell and the fingers forged of lightning really turned some heads. After snagging Uli Jon Roth licks in Alcatrazz, Yngwie settles down on his own and created one of the most important neo-classical shredder albums of all time. Just listening to it every now and again still fills me with awe. Since most of Rising Force is instrumental, Yngwie never caught on with the chick crowd and therefore never attained Rock God stature. He was more of a musicians musician. The two songs that bear lyrics are “As Above, So Below” & “Now Your Ships Are Burned” giving us a glimpse of the coolness that was Jeff Scot Soto on lead vocals. “Black Star” is the quintessential Yngwie staple. “Far Beyond The Sun” rocks in so many ways that it makes your head reel and the intensity of “Icarus Dream Suite Op. 4” with Yngwie trading licks with keyboardist Jens Johansen is insane. “Evil Eye” is very cool and one of the first songs I ever learned on guitar. “Little Savage” is mostly Yngwie showing off his speed to a pounding, semi-monotonous beat. And “Farewell” is just a little lesson in harmonics. Overall, you wanna hear a pioneer in the guitar shredding community. Yngwie J. Malmsteens Rising Force is the album to buy. You won’t be disappointed. After listening to him, you’ll wind up using your guitar as a coffee table, as Spinal Taps David St. Hubbins once said of The Ynger. Dig it!
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginning of a Maestro,
Yngwie Malmsteen had quit the two bands before creating Rising Force with him as the main person. Malmsteen quickly recruited Jens Johansson (Keyboardist Phenomenon who is currently in a dying band Stratovarious), Barriemore Barlow (On the drums, whew this guy rocks!), Jeff Soto for vocals (Jeff Sotos voice isn’t heard that much on this album but people don’t really care as if you buy this album you should expect mostly an instrumental type of record) and Yngwie Malmsteen on the Acoustic, Electric AND Bass guitar. What in hell’s name does he NOT play? His raw and pure energy had been recorded in this album and I doubt anyone can find something as great as this album. Yes somehow this was the first album I had bought and I don’t think I regret EVER buying this.