Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force
Yngwie is the Swedish, lightning-fast, guitar shredding egomaniac that helped change the way people look at metal. He started off with Steeler and Alcatrazz before going out on his own. I have been fortunate enough to see Yngwie and Graham Bonnet with Alcatrazz opening for Ted Nugent. Also saw Yngwie on his "Rape and Pilage Tour '85" with Jeff Scott Soto.

Rising Force Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force (Polydor) 1984

1."Black Star"-instrumental (4:51)
2."Far Beyond the Sun"-instrumental (5:49)
3."Now Your Ships Are Burned" (4:09)
4."Evil Eye"-instrumental (5:12)
5."Icarus' Dream Suite, Op. 1"-instrumental (8:30)
6."As Above, So Below" (4:36)
7."Little Savage"-instrumental (5:21)
8."Farewell"-instrumental (0:48)

I bought this album as a new release and was BLOWN AWAY! I played this album so many times I wore the grooves off the vinyl. Had to replace this with a cd. Jeff Scott Soto is a great vocalist. I saw the band on this tour, although they were playing "new" songs off Marching Out as well. I bought a t-shirt from this tour that I hung onto until May 2000, when I sold it on ebay.

Maching Out Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force-Marching Out (Polydor) 1985

1."Prelude"-instrumental (1:00)
2."I'll See the Light, Tonight" (4:24)
3."Don't Let it End" (4:07)
4."Disciples of Hell" (5:55)
5."I Am a Viking" (5:58)
6."Overture 1383"-instrumental (2:59)
7."Anguish and Fear" (3:47)
8."On the Run Again" (3:22)
9."Soldier without Faith" (6:08)
10."Caught in the Middle" (4:17)
11."Marching Out"-instrumental (3:08)

This is Yngwie's finest moment. There is not a weak song on this disc! This is helped by the phenomenal keyboard playing of Jen Johanssen and the great vocals of Jeff Scott Soto. Of course Anders Johansson (drums) is no slouch either. As I said, I saw Rising Force play much of this material on their "Rape and Pilage Tour 1985." It was a great show with some great showmen. Jens Johansson briefly joined Dio, and now plays for Stratovarius. Anders Johansson was last seen with another Swedish band, Hammerfall. By the way, the cover pictured above, which is the copy I own, is not the original cover art, but rather the re-issue cover.

Yngwie Malmsteen-Trilogy (Polydor) 1986

1. "You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget" (4:29)
2. "Liar" (4:07)
3. "Queen In Love" (4:02)
4. "Crying" (5:01)
5. "Fury" (3:54)
6. "Fire" ( 4:09)
7. "Magic Mirror" (3:51)
8. "Dark Ages" (3:54)
9. "Trilogy Suite Op: 5" -instrumental (7:13)

Yngwie was still at his creative best here, although his tendency for commecialism was beginning to show. Yngwie's compositional skills are at their peak here as well, and even the medieval imagery in the lyrics contributes to the overall feel of the music. The last GREAT Yngwie disc for a while.

Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force-Odyssey (Polydor) 1988

1. "Rising Force" (4:25)
2. "Hold On" (5:11)
3. "Heaven Tonight" (4:06)
4. "Dreaming (Tell Me)" (5:19)
5. "Bite the Bullet" -instrumental (1:36)
6. "Rioit in the Dungeons" (4:22)
7. "Déjà Vu" (4:17)
8. "Crystal Ball" (4:55)
9. "Now Is the Time" (4:34)
10. "Faster Than the Speed of Light" (4:30)
11. "Krakatau" -instrumental (6:08)
12. "Memories" -instrumental (1:14)

I've always been a fan of Malmsteen, but my main criticism has always been that he plays with total technique at the expense of
hook-laden song writing, and often times emotion and aggression as well. "Odyssy" while being a good album, suffers from the same thing. The addition of former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner certainly spices things up a bit. Overall, however, this album is not Yngwie's finest moment. It is quite obvious that he was attempting to gain some mainstream radio airplay so that even his shredding guitar solos are toned down a bit. I suppose this could be considered a good thing but isn't the dazzling guitar playing the whole reason to listen to Yngwie? Anyhow, I use to own this one before, but traded it on the PM Board for something I couldn't find anywhere else. I figured I could always find another copy of this used, and I did.

Eclipse Yngwie Malmsteen-Eclipse (Polydor) 1990

1. "Making Love" (4:56)
2. "Bedroom Eyes" (4:00)
3. "Save Our Love" (5:24 )
4. "Motherless Child" (4:01)
5. "Devil in Disguise" (5:45 )
6. "Judas" (4:25)
7. "What Do You Want" (3:58)
8. "Demon Driver" (3:41)
9. "Faultline" (5:07)
10. "See You in Hell (Don't Be Late)" (3:45)
11. "Eclipse" -instrumental (3:45)

Loads of neo-classical commercial metal tracks on this disc, but the songwriting begins to suffer on this one. Yngwie started to write songs that were there simply to either showcase his guitar playing abilities or to gain him some radio airplay. No doubt that Yngwie is one of the best, as far as dazzling, lightning-fast technique goes, but when the songs start sounding like they could have been on Rainbow's later day offerings, then he just sounds like one of the many, rather than the originator.

Fire & Ice Yngwie Malmsteen-Fire & Ice (Elektra) 1992

1. "Perpetual" (4:12)
2. "Dragonfly"(4:48)
3. "Teaser" (3:27)
4. "How Many Miles to Babylon" (6:09)
5. "Cry No More" (5:15)
6. "No Mercy" (5:29)
7. "C'Est la Vie" (5:17)
8. "Leviathan" (4:20)
9. "Fire and Ice" (4:28)
10. "Forever Is a Long Time" (4:25)
11. "I'm My Onw Enemy" (6:07)
12. "All I Want Is Everything" (4:00)
13. "Golden Dawn" -instrumental (1:27)
14. "Final Curtain" (4:43)

With the advent of crappy grunge/alternative rock that made the lack of talent a cool thing, many of the 80's shred guitarists including innovator Yngwie, were left out in the cold. After signing a big label contract Yngwie felt the need to play more radio-oriented pop metal. Unfortunately, the radio wasn't playing this type of music in the early 90's as the trends had changed, so the album failed to burn up the charts and Yngwie was dropped by Elektra. Yngwie, in my opinion, always sounded best when playing the neo-classic metal of his early Rising Force days. The majority of this album is commercial pop metal. "Cry No More" is the excellent exception, however, as it contains an arrangement of Bach's "Badinerie" and some jaw dropping guitar work.

The Seventh Sign Yngwie Malmsteen-The Seventh Sign (CMC International) 1994

  1. "Never Die" (3:29)
  2. "I Don't Know" (3:26)
  3. "Meant to Be" (3:52)
  4. "Forever One" (4:35)
  5. "Hairtrigger" -instrumental (2:43)
  6. "Brothers" (3:48)
  7. "The Seventh Sign" (6:32)
  8. "Bad Blood" (4:25)
  9. "Prisoner of Your Love" (4:28)
  10. "Pyramid of Cheops" (5:11)
  11. "Crash and Burn" (4:06)
  12. "Sorrow" -instrumental (2:03)

'Seventh Sign' starts off as one would expect any Yngwie album, with fast riffs, solos blazing and neo-classical melodies. What is surprising about this disc starts at song two, "I Don't Know." Yngwie drops the fast shred for a Jimi Hendrix-type song complete with the cry-baby, wah-wah solos. "Never Meant To Be" continues in a slightly more bluesy mood. Surprising, yet a pleasant change. I should also make mention that American (ex-Loudness) vocalist Michael Vescera does a fantastic job on this disc as well. 'Seventh Sign', along with most of the Malmsteen catalogue has been re-issued with different cover art by Spitfire. The above cover is the original.

Magnum Opus Yngwie Malmsteen-Magnum Opus (Vicery Music) 1995

1. "Vengeance" (4:49)
2. "No Love Lost" (3:07)
3. "Tomorrow's Gone" (5:20)
4. "The Only One" (4:01)
5. "I'd Die without You" (5:49)
6. "Overture 1622" -instrumental (2:41)
7. "Voodoo" (6:19)
8. "Cross the Line" (3:32)
9. "Time Will Tell" (5:09)
10. "Fire in the Sky" (4:57)
11. "Amberdawn" (4:25)

This album features ex-Loudness singer Mike Vescera. I must say that he does a marvelous job and even co-wrote half the songs on this disc. Overall, however, this disc seems a bit predictable for Yngwie, finding him once again reaching for commercial success with pop hard rock numbers and sugar coated ballads (i.e. I'd Die Without You," "Cross the Line"). Now, I am not saying this is a bad album at all, it's just undistinguishable from several other albums in my Yngwie collection. Of course Yngwie's neo-classical guitar riffs abound and the instrumental is awesome, but after repeated listens I found it hard to come up with anything to say. In other words, nothing stood out in this disc. One strange thing about this disc is that it is somewhat hard to find in this form. The Spitfire re-issue is everywhere, but this particular copy with the original artwork and layout was never given a proper release in the U.S. as far as I know. Luckily a friend found me this copy. Strange thing is that the record company address is in New York. They obviously don't have very strong distribution or marketing here. Let's hope that Spitfire does a better job for the Swedish guitar virtuoso.

Inspiration Yngwie Malmsteen-Inspiration (Spitfire) 1996/2000 re-issue

1."Carry on Wayward Son" (5:09)
2."Pictures of Home" (4:56)
3."Gates of Babylon" (7:12)
4."Manic Depression" (3:39)
5."In the Dead of Night" (6:11)
6."Mistreated" (7:29)
7."The Sails of Charon" (5:05)
8."Demon's Eye" (4:53)
9."Anthem" (4:18)
10."Child in Time" (8:07)

1.- 6. Interviews and demo material including:
"Merlin's Castle" ('80), "Soft Prelude in G Minor" ('82), "Haunted" ('78), "Evil" (?), "Voodoo" ('95).

As I have said on previous "tribute" reviews, I am a sucker for albums like this. How can I resist one of my favorite artists doing covers of some of my other favorite artists. It's painfully obvious where Yngwie's "inspiration" comes from with the inclusion of FOUR songs from Deep Purple, and one from Rainbow!!! I've always been a fan of Ritchie Blackmore myself but never considered him to be the awe inspiring guitarist that Yngwie obviously does. Of course he did help write one of the greatest albums of all time "Machine Head." Of the five Blackmore songs, "Gates of Babylon" is probably my favorite with "Pictures of Home" running a close second. In any case, besides Ritchie, Yngwie also plays homage to Kansas, Jimi Hendrix, U.K., the Scorpions and Rush. There is a wide variety of excellent vocalists on this disc that compliment Yngwie's shred soloing. Original Rising Force vocalist Jeff Scott Soto is by far my favorite but Rainbow's Joe Lyn Turner (who sang for Yngwie's "Odyseey) and ex-Uriah Heep vocalist Mark Boals are excellent as well. Even Yngwie takes a stab at singing on Hendrix's "Manic Depression." He's not terrible, but he doesn't have the charisma of all the others. Actually, King's X have also done a stellar version of this Hendrix song. Oh, I might also add that the cover art has been changed on this US re-release as well. The new insert is not bad, but not really any better than the original. All in all, "Inspiration" is a very enjoyable disc. All hail the king of ego, and a darn fine guitarist I might add...Yngwie Malmsteen.

Facing the Animal Yngwie Malmsteen-Facing the Animal (Mercury) 1997

1. "Braveheart" (5:18)
2. "Facing the Animal" (4:37)
3. "Enemy" (4:53)
4. "Sacrifice" (4:16)
5. "Like an Angel" (5:47)
6. "My Resurrection" (4:47)
7. "Another Time" (5:02)
8. "Heathens from the North" (3:38)
9. "Alone in Paradise" (4:33)
10. "End of My Rope" (4:23)
11. "Only the Strong" (6:04)
12. "Poison in Your Veins" (4:21)
13. "Air on a Theme" (1:44)

Facing the Animal is a good Yngwie disc. I've not been to fond of some of the more recent Yngwie albums but this disc is a return to the heavier sound of the early Rising Force days. The first four tracks simply shred from beginning to end. Track 5 "Like an Angel" is a ballad, as the title suggests, but still contains plenty of cools guitar solos. The thing about Yngwie that has bugged me in the past is that he seems more concerned with showing off than with writing good material. While Facing the Animal still has loads of self indulgent Yngwie solos, the songwriting is much more enjoyable. Also of note, Cozy Powell (of Rainbow fame) plays drums on this disc. I wonder why he dropped the "J" in Yngwie J. Malmsteen? How are we suppose to distinguish him from all the other Yngwie Malmsteens?

Yngwie contributed an excellent version of "Gates of Babylon" to the Dio tribute album with Jeff Scott Soto back on vocals! He also played an awesome version of Aerosmith's DREAM ON with Ronnie James Dio on "Not the Same Old Song and Dance-A Tribute to Aerosmith." and played lead guitar on Queen's "Keep Yourself Alive" on the "Dragon Attack-a tribute to Queen" cd.

Concerto Suite Yngwie Johann Malmsteen-
Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat Minor Op. 1
(Pony Canyon Korea) 1998

1. "Icarus Dream Fanfare" (5:26)
2. "Cavalino Rampante" (3:57)
3. "Fugue" (3:40)
4. "Prelude to April" (2:43)
5. "Toccata" (3:57)
6. "Andante" (4:21)
7. "Sarabande" (3:23)
8. "Allegro" (1:29)
9. "Adagio" (3:09)
10. "Vivance" (4:50)
11. "Presto Vivace" (3:40)
12. "Finale"x (1:49)

I find it amusing to read reviews that claim that this disc it is the first album to combine the electric guitar with a backing orchestra. Deep Purple were doing this in the early 70's. Aerosmith played 'Dream On' with an orchestra backing them in the early 90's, and in the late 90's Metallica played two shows with a complete orchestra backing them. What Yngwie did succeed in being the first at was creating the first work of its kind to feature the electric guitar as the lead instrument in a concerto. A connoisseur of classical music, I am not, although I do own a few classical tapes by such composers as Bach and Beethoven. However, it is impossible for me to comment much on this cd other than to say that I enjoy it, although I can also honestly say it is selective listening as are my Bach and Beethoven tapes. Perhaps this will get a little more play than those because of the addition of Yngwie's shredding guitar solos over the orchestration, but if you are looking for another Yngwie heavy metal platter, it won't be found here. Still, some guitar fans and those seeking a refreshing change will dig this disc as I do. Spitfire re-issued this disc in the U.S. but unfortunately with far inferior artwork, although the sound quality is equal to that of the imports.

War to End All Was Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force -War to End All Wars (Spitfire) 2000

1. "Prophet Of Doom" (5:31)
2. "Crucify" (6:44)
3. "Bad Reputation" (4:52)
4. "Catch 22" (4:12)
5. "Masquerade" (4:54)
6. "Molto Arpeggiosa" -instrumental (4:13)
7. "Miracle of Life" -instrumental (5:39)
8. "The Wizard" (5:18)
9. "Preludium "(2:26)
10. "Wild One" (5:45)
11. "Tarot" (5:38)
12. "Instrumental Institution" -instrumental (3:55)
13. "War To End All Wars" (4:15)

Hmmm, not sure why Yngwie has gone back to the Rising Force moniker as his supporting players include vocalist Mark Boals, keyboardist Mats Olausson, and drummer John Macaluso, none of whom were part of the original Rising Force. Perhaps the reason for the return back to the name is because "War to End All Wars" is made up of the same strength, aggression, passion and neo-classical heavy metal that those earlier classics were made of. "War to End All Wars" is packed with Yngwie's jaw-dropping, lightning-fast guitar shredding. The three instrumentals alone are worth the price of admission. The other songs are excellent as well, but to be quite frank, who listens to Yngwie for vocals? Mark Boals is a strong vocalist with a somewhat operatic voice and does add a flare to the songs. One song worth mentioning is "Wild One" which is a speed metal number with lyrics that recall past Malmsteen song titles. Since Malmsteen is such a big Ritchie Blackmore, fan, I assumed that the U.S. bonus track "Black Sheep of the Family" was a Rainbow cover, but it's not. Rather, what we are given is a reggae tinged jam, which sits kind of strange in the midst of all the neo-classical based songs. The only real negative I have to say about this disc is the production isn't Yngwie's best. The overall mix is a bit bassy, compared to other discs on my stereo. Picked up this disc for a mere $7.99.

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