I finally listened to an Yngwie Malmsteen/Rising Force album today

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Stephen J, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Stephen J

    Stephen J Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Austin, TX
    I've known about YJM for I guess 33 years or so, whenever he first reached the rock press. He was billed as "faster than Van Halen!", as if 'speed' was all there was to Eddie's playing, in the same way Eddie had been billed as "faster than Hendrix!" five or six years before, as if speed was all there was to Jimi's playing. And while he never really took off as a huge rock star, he also never disappeared. Throughout the mid and late 1980s, he was kind of floating around out there, living on an island of his own making, releasing records. Probably his biggest impact was being the leader, along with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani - of the 'shredder' genre. But, you guys already know all that.

    So anyway, I'd never actually listened to an Yngwie album so I put on "Marching Out" this afternnon, the second Rising Force LP, released in 1985, and one I'd read good things about. I assume the title speaks to the aspirations for the album, which was to take over hard rock the way Metallica actually ended up doing with next year's Master of Puppets.

    Verdict: While I liked some things about the LP, I also can see why it didn't conquer much rock territory back in the day as well. The problem is the songwriting - overall, the songs just do not connect lyrically, and the music is generic glam metal, which I never really liked. I did like some glam metal, but not the generic kind, and to me, this album lacks the hooks that Motley Crue and Poison brought to the table, and going the other way, it lacks the heaviness and ferocity of a Megadeth or a Slayer.

    And maybe this will sound mind-boggling to fans, but I was impressed with the singer. Not sure who the singer is but he has a powerful set of pipes, and his soaring Steve Perry-like vocals allow him to hit the high notes the anthemic/fantastical lyrics require. In contrast, the weak point of this LP to me is Malmsteem's soloing. And no, I'm not trolling. To me, Malmsteen's solos rarely connect, they feel grafted on to the songs, and they have a sameness to them from one track to the next. Plus, the other musicians just kind of 'stand around' while he does this, which IMO hurt the experience of the solo. Compare that to say Van Halen, where even when Eddie is soloing, he's also 'talking' with the other band members, especially his brother on the drums. He and Alex carry on fierce conversations when Ed is soloing (e.g., see "light up the sky" from VH2), but Yngwie just didn't have anyone to talk to on this record, or maybe he didn't know how to talk to them. Either way, the sound suffers. And in the end, I'm not even sure he was faster than Van Halen, LOL.

    But I did like other aspects of his playing. I liked several of the opening riffs he came up. He clearly had a knack for this. There are three or four riffs that a better co-writer could have used to kick off some very good songs, build some strong melodies around, but here they go to waste because the rest of the songs just can't sustain what the riff promises. And I found his rhythm playing impressive as well. His rhythms are both tight and slippery, he throws lots of neat asides in to them and that keep things earnest and interesting. But then ... we get a solo, and the air spills out of the balloon. As an example, hear "Caught in the Middle", a song that IMO has a great opening riff, some wicked rhythm playing under the vocals, but then the plot is lost when Malmsteen launches in to a disconnected solo. This happens too many times on Marching Out.

    Hey I know, he's Yngwie J. Malmsteen and I'm not, but that's my take.
  2. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Alcatrazz - No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll and Rising Force are much better albums to me. Marching Out has some great stuff on it, but the solos are not really composed like on previous albums. It seems like he just "played" over the songs. Try the two earlier albums, and Jeff Scott Soto rules! This is a song he did with Alex Masi. So good.

    Alex Masi - Under Fire.

  3. redfloatboat

    redfloatboat Forum Resident

    I don't mind that album but imo he has only one great album and that is Trilogy.
    Mark Wilson likes this.
  4. Purple

    Purple Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    You might want to check out Steeler featuring Keel and Malmsteen. It's a more balanced showcase of Yngwie's talents (i.e., he's restrained a bit), features better "songs," a little more raw, and is the one Yngwie album I own. It was well enough received to score Keel a deal at A&M records. Allmusic gave it 4 stars...

    Steeler -01- Cold Day In Hell (HD)

  5. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Give the solo another listen. Maybe it sounds disconnected because it modulates up a step IIRC. However, if you listen to the arpeggios he plays and the runs he plays there are some very connected dorian runs right in step with the modulation. The break in the song provides some contrast to the main riff and chords in the verse and chorus. The break chords are similar to the chorus chords though IIRC.
    Keep in mind the break is purposefully different key and chord wise. Not all breaks have to be based on the verse or chorus chords and key. That is what makes his music interesting to me.....it breaks with pop and blues forms. You won't hear him keep strictly to pentatonic and blues scales. He is more European based in his playing. Some folks don't like that but that is their choice.
  6. dylankicks

    dylankicks Forum Resident

    Oshkosh, WI
    To me, the first album is WAY better!
  7. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

  8. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    Yeah, I particularly love Alcatrazz. They should have been huge.
  9. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    That's the restrained version of Malmsteen??? :eek:
    O Don Piano, Purple and black sheriff like this.
  10. Barnabas Collins

    Barnabas Collins Forum Resident

    Jeff Scott Soto was briefly a replacement for Steve Perry in Journey about a decade ago so no wonder you made the connection. ;)
  11. Gregster

    Gregster Forum Resident


    He's a great entertainer, & certainly not for everyone's tastes !

    As a musician, I find his skills & showmanship quite amazing ( you should check-out his air-kicks lol ), but we must remember that the "competition" was at it's fiercest for the guitar-world through the 1980's IMO, & producers would have likely pushed the records sounds & solo's to suit a fan-base that was already won-over, & that they didn't want to lose.

    The reason that he's still around & successful to this day, is that he remains a really good performer, & still delivers-the-goods. People expect a certain experience from his shows, & he still gives them that.

    Credit where credit is due,

  12. Stephen J

    Stephen J Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Austin, TX
    I had no idea, but it makes sense! I did hear Perry in his vocals on this LP.
  13. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    For him, yeah. :)
  14. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    I thought the song might've been a fairly standard heavy metal effort with a semi-long solo, but the whole first half was an homage to "Eruption"!
    Stephen J and Purple like this.
  15. black sheriff

    black sheriff Forum Resident

    Don’t forget balanced. The first four minutes is just Yngwie and the last two minutes is the rest of the band...and Yngwie. :laugh:
    Dudley Morris and Stephen J like this.
  16. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Drum machines are not inherently evil.

    Austin, TX
    I think the correct recommendation is Odyssey with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. That one’s filled with catchy tunes.
    hutchguv, Trader Joe, JasonA and 10 others like this.
  17. Jimmy Agates

    Jimmy Agates Forum Resident

    Eclipse is to me his best and most melodic album plus a killer singer on it too in Goran Edman.
    Lonecat and Stephen J like this.
  18. The singer here, Ron Keel, later referred to Malmsteen as "a pen!s with fingers". This shows why. :)

    Amazing as he may be technically, to me he sounds like a sequencer playing through a guitar sampler. Kind of dull for more than a few songs at a time. Accordingly, his fan base rarely extended beyond other guitarists looking to study/cop his moves.
  19. David-Shea

    David-Shea Toastmaster General

    Suffern, NY
    I Am a Viking is on this album. Total win!!!
    Rollie, Trader Joe, Curveboy and 5 others like this.
  20. Stephen J

    Stephen J Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Austin, TX
    Yes, listening now as I did is a-contextual and the context of music matters. Things that seem generic in 2018 might have been new and important in 1985. In my defense I did live through that time though and think I recall it well enough. Maybe not.

    As for YJM's performances these days, I'm sure he delivers for his fan base in the same way Springsteen and U2 do for theirs.
  21. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    Seems the same for most of the "shredders", though, isn't it? I mean, does anyone who isn't a guitar obsessive care about Steve Vai?
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    Yngwie is a strange monkey ....
    If you like mainly instrumental stuff it is hard to beat Yngwie J Malmsteen's Rising Force (the solo debut) Brilliant neo-classical structures, fantastic playing, beautifully used finger vibrato.
    If you like Rainbow, Purple etc then you want to try No Parole From Rock And Roll by Alcatraz
    If you like really well written Popish Metal the Odyssey album is the album to get.
    Of the first three Marching Out really is the weakest, in my opinion.

    Jeff Scott Soto really did sing well with Yngwie, but I'm not aware of anything else he did
  23. Stephen J

    Stephen J Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Austin, TX
    Someone said he replaced Steve Perry in Journey for a while, before they got the Philippine singer. He sounds close enough to Perry to me.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    could be. i like a few journey things, but i am no expert
  25. Musician95616

    Musician95616 Forum Resident

    Davis, CA
    "Rising Force" is probably all the Yngwie the averagely-interested person needs to know about Yngwie. He pretty much said it all in that one record.
    HotHere, barnabyjames1, DJ LX and 5 others like this.

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