Great Metal Albums of 1985: Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force

The last of the 1984 albums that didn’t come to my attention until 1985 and it wasn’t until May of said year that I was treated to this one. I remember it well, fairly well anyway. I was sitting in the cafeteria of my local glorified high school, (community college), when a friend offered me a listen on his walkman saying, “I think you’ll like this.” He was right, I did like it. It was the opening track to the “Rising Force” album by Swedish guitar god, Yngwie J Malmsteen. It was said that the J is there so we won’t confuse him with all the other Yngwie Malmsteens in the world.

“Black Star” the opening track I mentioned changed my entire outlook on guitar instrumentals, which was a hard thing to do because I have always had great admiration for masters of the axe. It was just the way that then 21 year old Yngwie made the guitar scream and bend to his will as he played that had me totally hypnotized. “Black Star” was simply the perfect introduction for me and apparently, he still plays it live.

One criticism aimed at guitar albums is that all of the tracks sound the same. Yes, I know, complete hogwash but if anyone says it to you, then you can point them to this album. All of the tracks are original and unique as Yngwie strains his guitars to fit the sound of each song. Whether it’s the faster paced “Far Beyond the Sun,” it is rumoured he still plays that one live too or the classical sounding “Icarus’s Dream Sweet Opus 4,” Yngwie delivers a unique sound every time.

While the guitarist is the main attraction here, you must give credit to the supporting cast. Jens Johansson premieres his keyboard skills on the album and shows he is very good at what he does. One must also give credit to drummer Barriemore Barlow. He has to keep up with a guitarist who can change direction at any time and often does so. And while there are only two vocal tracks on the album, it was here where I got my first experience of Jeff Scott Soto. Even with very little vocal opportunity, he shows he’s got the pipes. Fortunately, he would be given more opportunity on future albums as “As Above, So Below” is proof that Jeff and Yngwie made a very good combination. See, if it hadn’t been for Danny Vaughn, Jeff would have been my vocalist of choice for the 80sMetalman Band of Underrated Musicians.

Track Listing:

  1. Black Star
  2. Far Beyond the Sun
  3. Now Your Ships Are Burned
  4. Evil Eye
  5. Icarus’s Dream, Sweet Opus 4
  6. As Above, So Below
  7. Little Savage
  8. Farewell

Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen- guitars, bass, Moog Taurus

Jens Johansson- keyboards

Jeff Scott Soto- vocals

Barriemore Barlow- drums

In the later years, I would learn all about Yngwie’s over inflated ego and how he doesn’t play nice with others but that’s in the future. What I knew in May 1985 was that he could rip a guitar, which he does extremely well on his debut album.

Next post: David Lee Roth- Crazy From the Heat

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13 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force”

  1. […] Source: Great Metal Albums of 1985: Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want this one! I have Trilogy but I wanted this for Jeff Scott.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Big debates back in the day.

    Who was better? Malmsteen? Vai? McAlpine? Satriani?

    Liked by 2 people

    • “They are all ‘better’ in their own very different styles,” is what we all should have said back in the day, but I guess that would have been less fun. Now, assuming we can all agree that the true measure of ‘best’ is a count of albums by each I now own, then Satriani (12) beats Vai (8) beats Yngwie (4), with poor Tony an apparent no-show.


    • Nowadays, we do say the all have different styles which is true. All four had signature songs with me. For Yngwie, it was “Black Star.” For Joe, it was “Surfing with the Alien,” for Steve, it has to be “The Audience is Listening” and for Tony, “The Witch and the Priest.” All great guitar jams.


  4. As you say, this is a great album. ‘Black Star’ and ‘Evil Eye’ are my faves, but I second the praise for Jeff Scott Soto. I had the opportunity to see him earlier this year with Sons of Apollo and he sounds as good, if not better than ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Barriemore Barlow is an awesome name.

    Anyhoo, my collection still lacks a Yngwie album. I need to rectify that… I’ve been holding out for the one he’s slaying the dragon with rock riffage!!

    Liked by 1 person

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