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After the monumental, almost entirely instrumental debut album, Malmsteen comes back with a second album, this time more band oriented and with only two instrumentals. The relentless high tempo guitar soloing is reduced in favor of Jeff Scott Soto's powerful lead vocals. The basic formula for the non instrumental tracks is verse-chorus-verse-chorus type of thing with the leading guitar throwing in between some fast neoclassical sections. I often wonder if such a type of album is just a commercial attempt at trying to reach a wider audience, or a true experiment to try a more vocal based approach for songwriting.
Anyway, both instrumental tracks ('Overture 1383' and the title track) are kind of disappointing comparing to the thunderous sharpness the instrumental tracks from 'Rising Force' had. 'Overture 1383' begins as a 3/4 galloping, pretty similar to Iron Maiden, riffage. Then the drums stops and the song becomes slow paced with some clean guitars at the background and a mellow leading theme that doesn't really goes anywhere. After awhile Malmsteen remembers that he has some skills to show and attacks the fretboard in high tempo, but before he manage to pull out something more than average, the song ends. Now, the title track which is also the ending track, is just a pure disappointment. It sounds like Malmsteen trying to copycat 'Black Star' from his former album with the mid paced rhythm but again, this song just vanishes before anything interesting happened. 'Marching Out' is a huge step down as far as instrumentals goes, providing a couple of undeveloped and meaningless tracks that are surely no at the same level of 'Rising Force'.
Rest of the album is an average 80's metal. You got the high soaring (and quite powerful) vocals of Jeff Scott Soto that makes this album less boring than it could be, some cliche lyrics about vikings and the devil and some catchy choruses ('I'll See The Light Tonight', 'Anguish and Fear') to make this album not totally forgettable. Another plus of the album is the presence of 'Jens Johansson' that still played here a few blazing synth solos that collided with the guitar solos quite well.
Anyway, 'Marching Out' is quite anemic effort comparing to Malmsteen's debut. Too many flaws, not enough highlights, nothing spectacular.
Okay, I have to say this right off the bat: I am a huge Yngwie Malmsteen fan. Anybody who knows me well will tell you that. I always have been a fan and probably will continue to be. But this does not mean I do not understand his faults. But when people start to whip them out as they often do, I point them towards the direction of this album.
Coming off of Yngwie's last album "Rising Force"(which is also fantastic), one might think what's left to prove? The ability to write good vocal songs.
You see, although I really do like "Rising Force" the problem with that album is the vocals songs. They are not particularly interesting, and although not terrible, not anything too memorable. And overall, that album lacked balance.
But any problems that were obvious on the previous album have nearly completely disappeared(more on that later). First off, Jeff Scott Soto(one of the best vocalists in this genre) has reappeared with a much more prominent role than before(this time even contributing lyrics to multiple songs), secondly, Anders Johansson is the drummer this time who fits the shred genre better then Barriemore Barlow did, and finally, Yngwie continues to show his incredible talent in a few different ways than before(sure he still uses the harmonic minor scale frequently, and shreds a whole lot, but he explores some different areas as well)
So onto the actual music: The moment you pop the album in you hear a typical intro. Nothing special, but it does set up the first real song pretty well. Then we hear the amazing "I'll See The Light Tonight" with it's instantly recognizable main riff. And this is a perfect example of Yngwie exploring some different areas. THE RIFFS! This album is packed full of awesome riffs probably more so then any other Malmsteen album. The vocals are fantastic, and the drums/bass provide a powerful backup. And of course, Yngwie delivers a killer solo.
This represents the overall mood of the album: Fantastic vocals, powerful drums/bass, amazing riffs and killer solos. Now if you look at the list you'll see there is something missing. Keyboard! With a monster like Jens Johansson as your keyboardist you should use him more frequently which is one of the very few flaws in this album. However he does still get some killer playing in songs like "Anguish And Fear", and "Soldier Without Faith".
Highlights here include the crushing "Disciples Of Hell"(talk about amazing riffs), "I Am A Viking"(nice change of tempo), "Anguish And Fear", "Soldier Without Faith", and the melodic "Overture 1383". The first 3 show off the great chemistry between Soto and Malmsteen, "Soldier Without Faith" shows the band's attempt at a more epic track, while "Overture" shows that Yngwie truly can play melodically.
I really can't complain about anything on this album. It's just brilliant, each member contributes what they need to. Even bassist Marcel Jacob(R.I.P) shows he knows how to be in the backround without being too invisible. The vocals are just so godly on this album as well. And Jens' solos are definitely something to write home about. I also love the lyrics. I guess, overall the greatest thing I can say about this album is, unlike the album before this and some after it, this album really sounds like a BAND, not just one person with people backing said person up.
But enough of the great. What is wrong with this masterpiece you may ask? Well the only flaws(and the reason why this gets a somewhat lower score) is Jens not on it enough and the song "On The Run", nothing too terribly wrong with it but it is not very exciting overall.
So overall, it's an amazing album that may not break too much new ground, but it is so much fun to listen to. And when listening to it you can't help but notice the talent of not only the musicians technically but also songwriting wise(which is a talent of Yngwie's that is often downplayed). It's simply fantastic
After flooring the metal community with his phenomenal debut album, Yngwie Malmsteen followed up his stellar neo-classical assault on the senses with a simpler, more straightforward power metal album. Though perhaps initially viewed as a step in the wrong direction, this is the direction that Yngwie would maintain for the rest of his career. Marching Out was the first of what would be several steps at simplifying the Malmsteen formula, but is easily among his best works.
Featuring only two instrumentals (discounting “Prelude,” which is basically worthless), it’s very clear that Yngwie was taking a step back in order to round out his writing. His guitar solos were still virtually untouchable for 1985, but his rhythm work was vastly simplified in order to better accommodate the increased vocal presence. This is a good thing, as it allows Jeff Scott Soto to demonstrate why he is one of the best vocalists to ever be featured on one of Yngwie’s albums. Sure, he’s still just a hired gun (after all, Yngwie writes most of the lyrics/melodies), but man can that guy sing. The derivative lyrics of tracks like “I’ll See the Light Tonight” and “Caught In The Middle” go almost completely unnoticed; the listener remaining fixated upon Soto’s vocal mastery.
And with more vocals, straightforward arrangements, and the appropriate drum/keyboard accompaniment, the sound of this album equates to a slower power metal, with a touch of 80’s mainstream metal. “I’ll See The Light Tonight” is the album’s signature tune, having the most memorable riffs/vocal lines/guitar solo of the batch. “Don’t Let It End” is completely underrated, featuring a very emotive performance from Soto. “Disciples of Hell” is the heaviest, with an acoustic opening sequence as impressive as anything Yngwie has written before or since. Everything else is quite good, though the instrumentals are mere shadows of his other works. Let him show restraint during the vocal songs, but his solo pieces should be over the top. This is what he does best, so let him do it already.
To be honest, I still kinda prefer the neoclassical instrumental approach that was unleashed on his debut, but at the same time I recognize that had he tried to repeat it, it’d have resulted in the cheapening of the style and Yngwie’s eventual obsolescence. Opening up his songwriting to include more actual “songs” instead of only writing classically-inspired suites; this is the reason that Yngwie has managed to not only survive all of these years, but to permanently establish himself as a guitar legend.
Anyway, Marching Out is an excellent album from an excellent band. So buy it already.
Originally written for: http://www.metal-observer.com
While everybody fellates the self titled debut, Rising Force, I don't see the genius in it. It strikes me as endless masturbation. This, on the other hand, has actual songs, with smashing singing and stellar performances from other members. It is this progression that I will talk about.
First off, they dumped their first drummer, whos style isn't fit for shred. Anders Johansson, on the other hand, is a beast. He doesn't wank (although his drums in Johansson's Sonic Winter are deadly), but stands tall with a thunderous thud from the snare drum and an aggressive speed metal style. Barlow Barrymore, I'm sure he's good at some other genre of drumming, but speed metal/shred isn't his style. His snare was too muted on Rising Force, and I always got the zzzz's from him. Anders, on the other hand, rules. A real titan behind the kit.
I was disappointed to listen to this album and hear Jens Johansson's signature keyboard oodles and noodles were significantly reduced on this album. Indeed, while Jens Johansson's role is somewhat diminished from the endless organs of Rising Force, it is to include the added presence of Jeffrey Scott Soto, who puts out smasher after smasher of performances, putting memorable pipes in songs with shout-along chorii such as I'll See the Light Tonight, Anguish and Fear, On the Run Again, and Don't Let It End (the rest of the song might be boring, but I'll be damned if I wasn't singing along when JSS went "No, no, no, don't let it EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDD"). The bass, as per most Yngwie albums, is neglected. Boo frickety hoo.
Which brings me to Yngwie. He doesn't surprise me much on this album, but given the impossibly high standard he set on Rising Force (as per technicality), doing the "usual" is only a good thing. They lowered the guitar volume on this CD, which makes his cat screech guitar tone more tolerable, and the lines here are more accessible as SONGS, not random noodlings.
And that brings up the final point. Here, we have SONGS, songs that are interesting to listen to, get stuck in your head, and make you throw the horns. Not random noodlings of a bored shut-in teenager, but actual SONGS from an actual BAND, not Yngwie Malmsteen shredding on top of accompaniment. And because it sounds like an actual BAND here, playing actual SONGS, I can listen to this and not get bored. It doesn't rely solely on Yngwie's shredding, which is nice. Of course, it's not perfect, nor is it really monumental. But it's 10 catchy songs that get stuck in your head, and a good listen for when you're speeding down the interstate going 30 mph over the speed limit, swerving through traffic.
Yngwie took a different route from the amazing yet highly inaccessable debut and opted to write an album with more songs and less instrumentals. The results are completely amazing, and although both albums got the same score, I prefer this one a little bit to the debut. We have all the right elements that make a great mid-80s metal act, drawing lyrically from the dark subjects touched upon in the NWOBHM, though the music is still far more complex.
Jeff Scott Soto gives the vocal performance of a lifetime on here, pushing the limits of how far a natural male voice can soar, and still maintaining the rough edged rock style that was present on the debut album. "I'll See the Light Tonight" and "Soldier without faith" represent two of probably the most amazing and simultaneously impossible to recreate singing feats ever put forth by a metal band. Although I love his work with Axel Rudi Pell, this is by far my favorite album with him as singer.
The guitar solos are equally as complex and magical as before, but their time length and overall structure have been balanced out a bit more, making them easier to remember after few listens. Such tracks as "I am a Viking" and "I'll See the Light Tonight" have melodic themes that can be easily recognized, despite being highly complex and fast.
The instrumentals on here consist of "Overture 1383" and "Marching Out", both of which are dramatically shorter than those on the first album. The former has alot of tempo and textural changes, as well as a very catchy, yet somewhat cliche melody line during the solo section. The latter is pretty steady rocker with a good deal of amazing guitar work, and works well as a closer.
There are essentially no bad songs or filler on here, although some songs are so amazing that you find yourself wanting to skip back to listen again, or skip over a couple of the less amazing songs to get to them. I usually am able to listen to an album straight through the first time, but this one was an exception as I found myself wanting to listen "I'll see the light tonight" and "Soldier without faith" over and over.
In conclusion, this album is a bit more accessable than the first one, so I can recommend it to fans of traditional metal and power metal a bit more enthusiastically. Fans of Symphony X, Rhapsody, Dark Moor, Helloween, Adagio, and Stratovarius can all find something of their own favorite bands in this album. But again, if you have some odd disapproval for music that is complex or that has melody, stick to the noise that you listen to and spare us your insignificant opinions about Yngwie's ego or his soloing style, NOBODY CARES!!!
To my surprise, when I bought it, this was primarily a vocal album, but I was thrilled to see that the awesome singer who appeared on Yngwie's classic first album, Jeff Scott Soto, was on this album. This album, in fact, got lots of airplay on the college radio metal I was listening to at the time (mid-80s), and made me want it even more since the songs were stronger and more fully-realized on this album.
The production is pretty much classic mid-80s style; big, booming drums and ambient guitars, and the vocal is king. But it works for Yngwie's bold and dramatic style of writing, and the following are my fave tunes on the album:
"I'll See The Light, Tonight"--Yikes! That gripping opening riff and the intense opening howl from Jeff signals the beginning of a real rollercoaster ride of a tune. One of Yngwie's best riffs on the chorus, simple as it is, and chorus in question is sooooo catchy, and made even better by Soto's deep, masculine wailing. And whatta solo! One of his best in that realm as well.
"Don't Let It End": A fabulous performance from Soto on this tune, emotional and convincing, matched by Malmsteen's work of course. Another catchy number for sure.
"Disciples of Hell": The first goofy set of "metal" lyrics on the album, and while the chorus lyrics are silly in particular ("Nobody knows who's Disciples of Hell/Father's a priest, and he's casting a spell"), Ybgwie makes up for it with his usual fine standard of playing and Jeff even manages to make the chorus sound meaningful with his passionate vocal deilvery.
"I Am A Viking": More goofy metal lyrics a la Manowar (only Manowar were first and better at it--and they're American!) , but damned if this isn't a right little crusher. Killer chorus, with its singalong feel. "Dragon ships are charging through the waves/Just want to sail away, far away, into the sea, YEEE-AAAAHHHHHH!!!!"
"Anguish and Fear": Great opening riff that precedes the verses as well, a nice classical-sounding part with a tricky-sounding unison guitar and keyboards bit. Another excellent chorus from Meister Soto!
"On The Run Again": Yet more excellent vocals and playing, just a standout tune for me in the first place.
"Marching Out": The only other instrumental on the album, and a beauty it is. It has some of Yngwie's most tender and emotional playing in the beginning and it builds to full shred mode in a plausible manner, with dynamics and taste. The latter is not normally something you'd associate with him, but Yngwie indeed demonstrates considerable taste and restraint on this song.
This was the last really good album he made before he started, well, repeating himself and writing the same stuff over and over. And he ran Jeff out of the band to be replaced by the annoying Mark Boals--bad move! But I still love this album to this day, and my worn vinyl copy still has a prominent position in my collection alongside his debut.
By far my favorite Malmsteen album. This album has everything a melodic, neo-classical metal band woud look for in the 80's. All the songs on this album are Yngwie classics. This album starts of with the intro Prelude, this song can be thrown out. It doesn't really do anything to get the mood going. Only towards the end do you start to hear some feedback of guitars. Prelude is basically worthless, it could have been better.
But then we jump into the glory that is Malmsteen! I'll See the Light Tonight blasts off with a great riff, which latter transcends into a lead lick. Awsome drumming and Scott's scream add to the essence of this awsome song. The whole song has awsome lyrics, great Malmsteen riffs and solo's (occasionally during the riffs, Malmsteen will let out an artifical harmonic sound, this happens throughout the whole album). Everything about this song blend togther, including the synths and keyboards. Don't Let It End, is another great song. It is slow and seems like it will be crappy, but Scott's vocals keep you on your feet. Then it blasts into pure heavy metal. It is awsome how they do the vocals then the riff and drums, great job of blending the music to fit the vocals!
And the greatness continues, with the best Malmsteen song of all time, Disciples of Hell. It starts out clean, like a Spanish guitar solo, showing the amazing guitar skills of Malmsteen. But then it jumps into pure speed and headbanging delite. Scott's screams, Yngwies awsome riffs and neo-classical solo's keep the song up in the great category. The lyrics are also kick ass: Burning candles in cantations/ Human Sacrifice/ Getting drunk from blood, not wine/Pointy daggers shine. By far the best song on this album!!!
I Am a Viking, another one of those classic Malmsteen songs, slow but very progressive riffs, and awsome lyrics. I am a Viking in going out to war!!! The next song Overture 1383, is a instrumental. It starts out heavy and then ends in a slow, very neo-classical style of guitar playing. Awsome guitar work here!
Anguish and Fear is where anyone can truly see Malmsteen has made music. Everything blends, especially in the beginning with the super fast riff, lead intro lick, and the harpsicord. Scott also has amazing vocals once again on this song. On the Run is another great song, the intro has a kick ass riff, and awsome solo. The rest of the songs are good, not the best, but still good, especially for this album. Honestly people, there is nothing to hate about this album. It has all great Yngwie tunes. All these songs have amazing guitar work, keyboards, vocals, and even drums. The blending is just perfect. It can't get any better than this!!!
This is where he definitely gets his shit together as far as actual SONGS are concerned. There are no real overwhelming losers to be found here, and the riff work is a good match for the leads, and thus the songs don't get frightfully boring.
We start with a little prelude which leads into "I'll See the Light Tonight". Forget any 53 minute shredfests that he may have, THIS is the greatest Yngwie song of all time. Total classic 80s metal - a band like Malice would not seem out of place playing this one. Great stuff!
"Don't Let it End" is more of the same - a bit slower, but still great. Then we have the epic "Disciples of Hell" (no one can stop what's already begun!!) with maybe the greatest solo of the entire album.
"I Am a Boring" is pretty much the worst song on here. It kinda plods along. That said, it still has a great solo in it, so it's far from entirely forgettable, but it just doesn't have the instant attention-grabbing catchiness of the other songs on here.
Then, Overture 1383 (where does he come up with these seemingly random numbers) runs us into Anguish and Fear, which is a pretty nice 80s metal song, though not quite as good as "On the Run Again", or the longer, more developed "Soldier Without Faith". Here what Yngwie manages to do better than on any other album is write actual SONGS where the guitar solo doesn't completely overpower the actual riffs, and thus we have 6 minutes of winner. "Caught in the Middle" is also very good, then Marching Out is a little outro piece.
Overall, this is the one to get. It's the best Yngwie, the most enjoyable, and the one with the least gratuitous shredding for shredding's sake.