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Guitargasmic debut. - 95%

ballcrushingmetal, July 19th, 2015

As a way of background, Malmsteen was a very atonishing guitarist and he was born to be a shredder. His ability to hit precise fast notes and play neoclassical guitar (which is not an easy style) make him an outstanding guitarist. His live performances stunned important musicians, such as Iommi or Gene Simmons, and after a good pair of albums with Alcatrazz and Steeler, he decided to start a new road with his band Rising Force.

The self-titled debut is quite different from the hard rock/traditional heavy metal albums with Alcatrazz or Steeler; it is almost instrumental and just two songs have lyrics, leaving room for purely guitargasmic songs. Thus, note that a correct appreciation of the album should be oriented from a guitar playing perspective and not like if you were reviewing an album with band oriented songs, like in many other reviews I found in this and many other websites, which at the end of the day fail on reviewing the album.

The album sound is purely shred, but there are many ways to make shreddy albums. You can find a more neoclassical driven sound in MacAlpine's music, but Joe Satriani and Steve Vai play their notes with hard rock music rather than playing heavy metal. In the case of Malmsteen, his album has a neoclassical but dark atmoshpere like if he was playing music from the barroque or something similar. Although the album respects the atmosphere and it never changes (even in "Little Savage"), the album does not have an specific structure. I have no problem with that, since a lot of good albums are composed in this way, but many people who disregard thr quality of guitar solos could have an issue with the lack of a defined structure. I mean, this album was made for shred lovers.

Of course the whole thing is about Malmsteen's free-style guitar soloing, with neoclassical music played by the Johannson's brothers as a background, which basically was medium to slow-paced and just had intense moments in "Now Your Ships Are Burned" and "As Above, So Below". Their music was well done, keyboards duels with Malmsteen's guitars were correctly written (not like the annoying thing that Jens wrote with Stratovarius that was nearly bullshit) and their sound was nice, while drumming was what the dark background needed, since the star here was Malmsteen.

Regarding Malmsteen's guitar playing, it was awesome and he used many complex guitar techniques, such as arpeggios or very fast notes. His best moments were "Black Star" and the heavier instrumental "Evil Eye". These pair of songs are part of his career highlights and part of the unskippable moments of the album. Maybe he could do something better with "Little Savage", but at the end the song is O.K. if you consider that the same is a moment breaker. Anyway, the album could be deemed as one of the best shredding albums of all time.

As mentioned above, note that the album is for you if you are fanatic of guitar solos. Otherwise, try another album like "Marching Out", since your opinion would not be correctly oriented.