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Released: 1999, Canyon International
The name Rising Force brings back loads of memories for me. I will never forget the first time that I actually took notice of Yngwie J. Malmsteen. It was the video for "I’ll See The Light Tonight" from the "Marching Out" CD. The video starts off, if I remember correctly, with a barbarian doing some sword work. Then Malmsteen breaks in with the opening riff as he swings his Fender Stratocaster around his neck by the strap. This was awesome. The whole video was set on a medieval looking soundstage complete with a fire breathing dragon. How much cooler can you get than that? How could Yngwie help but spawn a horde of imitators and admirers when was so damn cool? However it was the CD "Trilogy", with Mark Boals on vocals, that really made me a fan of Malmsteen. Boals stratospheric vocals on tunes such as "Liar" and "Magic Mirror" combined with Malmsteen’s awesome guitar work made "Trilogy" an instant classic. Fast forward to 1999 and Malmsteen has resurrected the Rising Force moniker and recruited Boals for vocal duties. "Alchemy" contains all the ingredients for a great CD.
Alchemy is 14 songs in the classic Malmsteen vein. The instrumental track "Blitzkreig" kicks off the CD with some serious shredding. "Leonardo" slows things down just a bit and reacquaints us with Mark Boals and he hasn’t lost a bit of his vocal skill. Instead it sounds like he has picked up a bit of range. Up next is "Playing With Fire" which again is a showcase of Malmsteen’s guitar virtuosity and Boals vocal talents. "The Stand" sounds like it came straight out of the "Facing the Animal" sessions and "Blue" is almost a blues based number with Malmsteen shredding all over it. "Wield My Sword" is one of the highlights of the disc. This is a classic Yngwie tune that could have been on the classic "Trilogy" CD with lots of double bass, shredding guitars and strong vocals. Mats Olausson adds some tasteful keyboards to compliment this song. "Legion of the Damned" drags the tempo back up after the slower "Blue" with a more groovy riff and a more subdues Yngwie. I’ll give him credit. He knows when to shred but he also knows when to calm down and let the song speak for itself. Other standout tracks include "Hanger 18, Area 51" and the instrumental trilogy "Asylum".
With "Alchemy" Yngwie J. Malmsteen has succeeded in creating a powerful CD in the vein of "Trilogy" that not only showcases his godly guitar gymnastics but also shows his song writing skills. His last CD "Facing The Animal" featured a more toned down guitar style but with "Alchemy" Yngwie J. Malmsteen has returned to his shredding roots and created one great CD to boot.
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