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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.