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The height of Yngwie's technical skill - 90%

The_Ghoul, October 11th, 2008

The 80's were a great time for Yngwie. He had a creative peak (Marching Out) that he wouldn't hit until Magnum Opus 10 years later. On Odyssey, he would reach his commercial peak. And on Trilogy, he hit his technical peak. The guitar playing here is above top notch, and easily blows everything else out of the water. What's more, is that this album, despite the greatness of Marching Out, is the foundation of the "yngwie sound". Every Yngwie album made after this can be easily heard in Trilogy.

We have a fairly good mix of songs here, ranging from slow (Dark Ages) to fast (Liar). Liar and Fury, the two uptempo songs, kick absolute ass. They pretty much form the basis of all future uptempo lyrical matter, and foreshadow the "YOU'VE UNLEAHSED THE FHOOKIN FYOORY!" debacle nicely. We also have some more midtempo treats (Magic Mirror and Fire) which possess brutally inspired licks and solos. I'm still trying to learn the first lead on Magic Mirror, it's hard as hell, and Fire sounds like Heaven Tonight, but way less cheesy and way better. However, You Don't Remember and Crying form the cheesier end of the spectrum, and if you like mid-slow pop metal songs, then you'll find those to be absolutely thrilling. They are by no means bad songs, but just not my cup of tea. As well, it was a a poor choice to open the album with You Don't Remember. Liar or Magic Mirror would've been more appropriate.

WARNING: 2 paragraph fellating of a single song to follow.

Any misgivings about Trilogy are instantly eased by Trilogy Suite op. 5. Jesus christ that song is awesome. It's so awesome, that a friend of mine, the most closeminded black metal nerd ever, downloaded the song and gushed to me about how awesome it was. In fact, it's so awesome, that one of the licks in the beginning was copped by Gorgoroth on Oggeledelse Og Undergang. While it is indeed 9 minutes of shredding, isn't that what we listen to Malmsteen instrumentals for? However, for those who don't like 9 minutes of shredding, it's got substance too. It's really melodic and has a beautiful acoustic section in the middle, amidst the stratocaster madness.

While on his ordinary songs, it's preferable to have the fretboard acrobatics take a backseat to coherence and simplicity to make room for the often outstanding singing, on his instrumentals, it's full speed ahead. And here, Malmsteen doesn't fail to deliver; it's sure to get your head bobbing up and down and up and down. It must be noted as well that the keyboards are equally awesome, and get several solo spots in between Malmsteen's shred-fests. If a song defined shred, it would be this. It certainly fits the cover, as this is high enough energy to slay even the mightiest tiamet.

However, the other members of the band shouldn't be skirted. Anders Johansson, as I've said before, is a beast. His drumming radiates power, and has only gotten better since Marching Out. And although many people bash Mark Boals, I personally like his singing. In fact, having listened to his future efforts with Ring of Fire and on Malmsteen's later albums (Alchemy and War to End All Wars) I must say that this is his best performance, especially on Fury and Magic Mirror. As well, as good as Joe Lynn Turner and Jeff Scott Soto are, Trilogy wouldn't be the same without Mark Boals.

All in all, Trilogy defines Yngwie's career better than any album. Sure, there may be a couple shortcomings, but it's made up in full and then some by the momentuous Trilogy Suite op. 5. As well, when Trilogy is awesome, like on Liar, Fury, and Magic Mirror, it's fucking excellent, instantly memorable, "best songs he's ever made" awesome. And when Trilogy is lacking, it's still listenable. Given that I rarely listen to an album all the way through unless it's good shit, I must give this thing a 90. It truly deserves its cover.

Less Remarkable, Still Yngwie - 75%

DawnoftheShred, April 5th, 2008

With two successful, guitar-intensive albums under his belt, Yngwie Malmsteen was a household name. But mainstream success has a way of tempting the prospective artist to become unsatisfied with what they have already achieved. This temptation, most fans reason, is why Yngwie continued to commercialize his sound as the 80’s progressed. Though neoclassical and power metal elements still abound on his third album, 1986’s Trilogy, the overall sound is more reminiscent of typical 80’s pop metal than not.

For the most part, Trilogy isn’t very remarkable as far as metal albums go. Many of the songs feel same-y, with the only real differences occurring in tempo. There’s your straightforward rocking numbers (“You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget,” “Fire,” “Queen in Love”) and there’s your up-tempo power tracks (“Fury,” “Liar”). Both are seasoned with the heavy synthesizers all the bands were so fond of in the mid-80’s and despite a few distinctive riffs arising as the album progresses, there’s not a whole lot of variety here. Mark Boals is the vocalist on this album and he shows that he’s certainly no replacement for Jeff Scott Soto. Boals isn’t bad (he proves his worth from time to time), but he lacks character, not to mention a decent vocal range. And with the standard drums, standard bass, and generally non-technical keyboard work, the only outstanding aspect of Trilogy is the guitarwork. And honestly, Yngwie’s shredding does start to get predictable here.

But there’s still the matter of instrumentals. On Marching Out, the vocal songs were rock solid with the instrumentals being mediocre exceptions. This is exactly the opposite on Trilogy: while the vocal songs lack definition, the two instrumentals are the highlights of the album. “Crying” is characterized by its central acoustic line (synth-backed of course) that serves as the base for some of Yngwie’s more emotive soloing on this album. Some of the harmonic ideas presented here must have certainly had an impact on Michael Romeo, as his compositions in Symphony X regularly reflect this and other Malmsteen masterpieces of the 80’s. Of course, it’s nothing compared to the album’s closer, the epic “Trilogy Suite Op. 5.” Returning in full to his neoclassical roots, the “Trilogy Suite” is one of his finest works, period. Everything just comes together on this song; guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards all working towards a common goal of instrumental perfection.

So although mediocrity abounds, Trilogy is still a pretty good listen overall. And with one of the coolest album covers of all time (though there are more than a few Philistines that dismiss it), it’s definitely worth checking out.


Originally written for: http://www.metal-observer.com

A small step down the ladder. - 93%

hells_unicorn, September 14th, 2006

Riding off the success of 2 highly rated albums, Yngwie and Rising Force entered the studio to release yet another instant classic. Unfortunately, they undertook this endeavor missing the original voice that got the where they are, and this is the only place where the album lags a bit. However, the songs remain as strong as ever and the master of shred has actually ratcheted up his instrumental efforts back towards the greatness of his debut effort.

Unlike many I know who have ripped Mark Boals as a no-talent Ian Gillian wannabe, I don't think he is that bad of a vocalist. However, on this particular release he has some problems. His mid-range up to the middle high range is quite strong, but when he gets up into the scream range, it sounds extremely forced. And the fact that he is up in that range fairly often makes him an annoyance at times. Fortunately, the rest of the band is still pulling their weight, enough to mostly make-up for this short fall.

Many of the tracks on here are a bit more radio friendly, as they are down tempo and have fairly toned down solos compared to past works. "You don't remember, I'll never forget" is a solid 80s classic, with a nice catchy keyboard part and some decent minimalistic riffs. "Queen in Love" is a highly catchy song with a powerful chorus, a great hook of a main riff, and probably the best lyrical storytelling Yngwie has put forth. "Fire" is a pleasant love song with a very recognisable guitar riff, again sounding quite 80s. "Dark Ages" is a slow moving tune fairly similar to "I am a Viking", but makes up for a lack of flash and speed with a highly catchy main theme.

We have some decent fast ones on here too. "Liar" has some excellent lead fill ins and some hauntingly morbid lyrics. "Fury" is loaded with strong double bass work courtesy of Anders Johannsen, and some exciting tapping riffs by the maestro. "Magic Mirror" is a bit slower, but loaded with goodies in the instrumental department, and Mark Boals gives one of his better vocal performances.

The true power on this album, however, is the instrumental efforts on here. "Crying" is a rather somber ballad with some high speed acoustic lead lines, fairly similar to late Renaissance lute work actually, but perhaps a bit more noodling. The magnus opus of this album is clearly the "Trilogy Suite", which consists of 3 amazing sections. The first is kicked off with a crazy set of cadenza lines, that leads into a barrage of high speed lead riffs matched by some equally high speed bass (also performed by Yngwie) and drum work, and Jens mimicing the riffs on his synth. The slower section has some more acoustic work, functioning as a tocatta that introduces us to the 3rd and final section, which has an atmospheric quality that gives the feeling of flying through the air. When you associate the music of this amazing instrumental with the rather mystical looking album cover, the result is a magical trip through the imagination that you will not soon forget.

In conclusion, Yngwie faithful may see the flaws in this release, but this is about as far from a throw away album as you can get. Yngwie gives us some of his best lead work here, and his lyrics are still mostly on the right side of the creation process (though I concede his later songs are a bit corny). So what are you waiting for? Get your ass off the couch and either get to your local CD store or planet your potato roots next to your computer and type in the URL for Amazon.com!

This Slips A Bit - 70%

corviderrant, April 8th, 2004

After two classic albums, Yngwie started to slip with this one. He became a little too obsessed with mainstream success, and his ego got too out of hand, and as a result he began alienating bandmembers and fans alike. This album does not feature Jeff Scott Soto (my fave singer of his), instead it has the incredibly annoying Mark Boals, whose high-pitched Halford-wannabe howling sets my teeth on edge. This album is where Yngwie's limitations as a songwriter start really appearing, I agree, and it lacks the character of his first two albums.

"You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget" is not only an awkward title, but a lame song to start an album with. The keyboards sound too much like a circus and the vocals immediately grate from the moment Boals opens his mouth. He fares slightly better on other tunes, but this one in particular is awful, as is "Liar", with the horrible ending squeal of "LI-AAAAAAAAAAARRRRR!!!!" ringing in your ears too long to let you enjoy the other tunes. In terms of playing, "Fury" and "Crying" make up for the awful vocals with spirited guitar/keyboard tradeoffs and fabulous playing respectively (thankfully, the latter is an instrumental), and "Fire" even has a good opening riff which is promptly buried by more attempts at vocal pyrotechnics. The rest...ehhhh, it's good but not great.

Naturally, Mr. Malmsteen will claim that everything he's done is brilliant and worthy of infinite praise, but most folks beg to differ right around the time of this album. I'm one of 'em, and if I ever meet the guy, I'll be glad to tell him to his moon-shaped Scandahoovian face if only to have the pleasure of watching him throw one of his famous tantrums and promise to "bring the fuckin' fury!" my way. Whatever, man. Get this if you are a completist, I say, or download it if you must.

Not as strong as the first two - 61%

UltraBoris, December 1st, 2002

So here is where Yngwie's flaws as a songwriter start to really show themselves. Sure, the guitar playing is top notch, but some of the songs on here are just plain boring.

"You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget" - well, he manages to pull one out that is just awesome. This is classic 80s metal here. Nice happy chorus, good riffs, oh and of course killer lead guitar (what did you expect? Kerry King?). Then "Liar" is okay, but kinda boring in that the riff ideas never really go anywhere. You staple a decent but incoherent main solo onto three very generic and predictable verses. Then, "Queen in Love" is more of the same.

"Crying" is an instrumental - pretty well done, though not quite as good as some of the other stuff on here. Decent, though. Then, we go through a bunch more forgettable songs, including the relatively fast but otherwise forgettable "Fury" and a few others. Finally, we get to Trilogy Suite, which is the highlight of the album. Here, Yngwie decides "forget writing verses and all that shit" and just shreds. This is what he is good at, and this is definitely the best song to be found here.

So is this album essential? Not as much so as the first two... but hey, maybe for just the cover art alone it is!

Decent Offering - 80%

FatalStrike, August 30th, 2002

Yngwie continues his own brand of neo-classical metal with his third album Trilogy. Yngwie has been known to put technique over actually making decent songs, but on this album he manages to deliver the right mix of technique with good lyrical and musical content. The album begins with You Don't Remember, I'll Never forget, a mid tempo song that conjures up memories of Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime album, which would be released two years later. Liar is a great song, much in the vein of Judas Priest. Queen In Love is much in the vein of the first song. Crying is a great instrumental highlighting Yngwie's incredible talent with the guitar. Fury follows with a vengeance, being one of the fastest and heaviest songs on the album. Fire is a decent song, nothing special. Magic Mirror is another highlight of the album, properly mixing crunch with melody. Dark Ages is a slow melodic piece. The album ends with the highlight of the album. Yngwie's neo-classical Trilogy Suite Op.5, this is a monster of a song. Yngwie shreds all over the guitar, and winds in and out of acoustic and electric.
Fans of neo-classical metal will enjoy this album. As with all of his albums Yngwie shows his incredible skill, and manages to produce songs that can stand on their own.