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Yngwie goes up the scales; Yngwie goes down the scales…
“My name is Yngwie J. Malmsteen and I am here to BORE. YOUR. ASS OFF!’
If you have any interest in the archaic concept of songs please, please disregard the very positive reviews this album has received here and indeed, in the majority of the mainstream press. Don’t let the ‘too cool for metal’ cover fool ya, this is a waste of your time and mine. This is a massive ego-trip by a man who’s ego can only be compared to those true giants of near misanthropic psychosis like Axl Rose, Michael Schenker, and Scott Weiland. Essentially this is Yngwie soloing for forty minutes and damn the consequences!
“I write the songs, I produce the album, I design the cover art, if I weren’t so busy multi-tracking my guitars I’d play all the other instruments, and yeah, that nigh-unreadable gothic text in the liners is mine too!”
Here Yngwie elects to do everything, and outside of the shredding very little of it well. The production on this thing is horrible, particularly on the vocal tracks. I noticed on a first listen that the vocals weren’t very loud, so I turned the volume up a little and discovered the only thing that got any louder was Yngwie. The drums and bass extremely low in the mix and often merging into one time-keeping thump, and (due to the egomaniacal writing) forced for the most part to keep the same beat or to do that ‘stop start’ thing wherein THE STAR solos in the spaces. Furthermore, I’m not even sure if there are keyboards on every song, because if they are they are hopelessly overwhelmed by… you guessed it. There are a few keyboard leads capably if uneventfully handled by hired gun Jens Johannson and these at least are given somewhere near the same volume as the guitar.
“And here is where I pull out my acoustic guitar and then uhh… shred some more.”
I am not just out and out against virtuoso albums in general. I like Joe Satriani quite a bit, Steve Vai is the man, and of course Liquid Tension Experiment is just genius. What I don’t like is the fact that Yngwie doesn’t even bother (or can’t) coming up with anything you’d care to remember. I appreciate the power metal-ness of this release particularly coming out in ’84. but the fact is the two vocal tracks are some of the worst power you’re ever likely to hear, everything hesitant except for, god forbid, the guitar with what seems to be capable rhythm section playing nothing on interest and Jeff Scott Soto doing a limp-wristed Dio (although granted he’s chopped off at the knees by the self-indulgent bastard twiddling the knobs) and being forced to sing simple and lame even for power metal lyrics. Check the rhyme scheme on these, it’s laughable.
“I call this one ‘White Porpoise Operetta in G’… hey, is anybody out there?”
Kids, I defy you to listen to this album and actually be able to recognize a song an hour later. You might think, ‘hey, that’s a cool guitar part’ but literally seconds later it’s just disappeared. Other than “Icarus Dream Suite Op.1” (and I only mention it because it’s on right now) which has an interesting intro and outro acoustic riff, none of the instrumental sections are even catchy. Put this up against “Surfin’ with the Alien” or “Summersong” and watch it whither like the pretentious pap it is.
“I think Rising Force is my least favourite record out of my catalogue, which means it’s only 100 times better than anyone else.”
This album somehow became a holy grail of shred, perhaps only because the nebbish, elitist school of neo-classical guitar aristocracy realised it was something that would take them more than two hours to know front to back. Personally, I feel that the next album from Malmsteen, Marching Out, is actually a pretty good album, an integral piece of power metal history. However, Marching Out is not the album I’m reviewing right now, and most certainly not the album I’m handing a whopping 17% to. Rising Force is the only metal album I’ve ever fallen asleep listening to… in the middle of the afternoon.
“Thank you people, you’ve been great! Well, at least I have.