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In 1984 Yngwie J.Malmsteen released his debut Rising Force in my opinion it’s his best and most accomplished album to date. Rising Force is also one of the very first neo-classical metal releases. Rising Force unlike the rest of Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s albums is much more focused on the classical side of this genre than the metal. Rising Force takes a lot of influence from the baroque style of classical music albeit with a guitar and other metal instruments. The album as a whole is nearly flawless in terms of execution and really shows how great a virtuoso talent Yngwie really is.
Most of the songs on Rising Force are instrumental’s besides Now Your Ships Are Burned and As Above, So Below (which showcases Jeff Scott Soto’s excellent range and vocal ability). Even for Yngwie the songs are very solo based but unlike the rest of his albums, they are put to great use in adding emotion instead of the more aimless shredding he is known for. Rising Force is also far more melodic than anything else Yngwie has ever done, hence the atmosphere is much more present which really adds great effect to each song. Keyboard use is present and works to great effect on Rising Force it adds crucial atmosphere (it also solos with Yngwie on some of the songs). Each song does something different and really shows that Yngwie should have gone this direction instead of simplifying his songwriting for the masses. The production is top notch albeit it could use a remastering job just for the sake of having a louder more modern volume level.
The band’s performance is excellent on Rising Force each one of the band member’s already being experienced before this release. As said before Yngwie’s guitar work and soloing is certainly at the virtuoso level and is the highlight of Rising Force. Jeff Scott Soto’s performance is excellent he hits the high falsetto notes with ease and really fits the music on Rising Force well. Jens Johansson is a master keyboardist and he is very effective at providing background effect and atmosphere throughout Rising Force. Barriemore Barlow is the low point of Rising Force because he rarely changes his drum beats, barely even uses drum fills, and just provides the beat.
Unfortunately Rising Force isn’t perfect and has its share of faults. Rising Force’s length is too short for this style of metal being just under 40 minutes with only 8 songs. Rising Force’s length would have worked more effectively if each song was longer and the album length was around fifty minutes. As said above the drumming could have been much better but I believe it was more the fault of Yngwie. Slower and more simplistic drumming takes notice away from the drums for listeners and focuses them more on the guitar work.
Overall Rising Force is a landmark neo-classical metal tour de force of compositional and virtuoso talent. The best songs are Black Star, Far Beyond the Sun, Now Your Ships Are Burned, Icarus’ Dream Suite Op.4 (the most epic song I have ever heard from Yngwie), and As Above, So Below. I highly recommend this release to any fan of neo-classical, symphonic, and even progressive metal.
-3 points drum work is simplistic
-2 points album length could have been increased for greater effect