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The first solo effort. - 76%

hells_unicorn, September 15th, 2006

This was an extremely low point in Yngwie's personal life, even when considering the monster comeback he had made from a horrible car accident and the death of his mother with his successful 4th album "Odyssey" and the following tour. You can get the sense that he was under a bit of stress in the music on this release, which has several songs on it with rather negative themes such as "Motherless Child", "Judas" and "Faultline".

In addition, all of the other members of Rising Force, consisting of both the Johannsen brothers and vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, had gone on to other projects, spelling the end of the band. It is for this reason why the name Rising Force was dropped from subsequent release in the 90s. Although most of the new musicians that fill the shoes of the old maestros are highly capable (especially Mats Olausson, who is an amazing keyboardist), they don't carry quite the same power that the others had.

The weak link in this line up is obvious. Although Goran Edman is not by any means a bad vocalist, he is not suited for this kind of music. His voice is far too clean sounding, and gives much of the music on this album a highly Glamish sound. Although this doesn't destroy the atmosphere, it does take away from some of the otherwise faster and heavier songs on here.

We've got some pretty solid fast tracks here. My personal favorite is "Motherless Child", both for the sad and thought provoking lyrics, as well as the driving beat of the double bass pedal matched with the fast paced guitar riffs. "Demon Driver" is another decent cooker, though the lyrics are a tiny bit cheesy. "See you in Hell" is the heaviest of the three faster tracks, although the vocals kind of clash with the rest of the arrangement.

Slower heavy tracks include "Making Love", which lightlights some of Yngwie's craziest soloing and some of nice heavy riffing. "Faultline" has some interesting quasi-oriental keyboard sounds mixed in with a classic sounding power chord riff. "Devil in Disguise" is probably the heaviest song on here, although the intro is a rather intricant sounding classical solo guitar etude, showcasing Yngwie's versatility as a player.

Some heavily keyboard oriented work that features new keyboardist Mats Olausson include "Judas" and "What do you want". Although lyrically the former is stronger, the latter has a much more interesting synth line. Both are mid-tempo and have a good deal of Malmsteen madness going on. These songs are also the ones where Edman's voice fits in the best.

As this is the first solo album in the Yngwie catalog we are also introduced to something that would become standard through much of his early 90s work, a more classic rock sounding 2nd track. In this case, "Bedroom Eyes" sounds a tiny bit like a Jimi Hendrix song, at least when listening to the main guitar riff. We also get some really decent wah shredding on this. Unlike some pentatonic wankers such as Kirk Hammet, Yngwie shows his wisdom as a player and opts not to overuse the wah pedal.

"Save our love" is the only ballad on this album, but it features a highly technical keyboard intro courtesy of Mats Olausson, which pretty much equals the virtuocity that Jens Johannsen had displayed on previous works. The acoustic guitar line at the beginning reminds me slightly of "Don't let it end", although the rest of the song is much slower and less triumphant sounding as it's predecessor, and that Edman is clearly no Jeff Scott Soto.

The closing track carries the same name as the album, and like the previous 2 releases, gives us a rather brilliant concept of which to draw imaginary visuals from while listening. This one is alot more catchy and simplistic at times than the other two, but then rips into some radically more technical shredding once the tempo gets kicked up a notch. Although I am partial to "Krakatau", this one gives it a good run for it's money.

In conclusion, this is not quite up to par with past efforts by Yngwie, all of which were supported by the amazing Johannsen brothers. It would be alot better if Yngwie had found a more intense sounding vocalist, but when you consider the musical scene in 1990, metal in the US was basically about to suffer a very painful death due to a lack of innovation, and in that environment, Goran Edman may have been the best that Yngwie could have hoped for. I recommend it to core Yngwie fans, and other admirers of guitar shredding.