Released: 2009, Rising Force Records
Yngwie is a clever guy. Last year he acquired the rights to some of his back catalogue. He likely realized the only way to make a living these days is to do it yourself and own the rights to your own material. The upshot of all this is that since forming Rising Force Records and 400 Horses Music, Yngwie has had a ton of catalogue on the market this year. His label has released 3 DVD’s and four CD’s in 2009. Specifically for those of you keeping track at home, an acoustic album, a Greatest Hits, a collection of rare Japanese bonus tracks and lastly this disc, a reissue of his 2005 demo album.
As a fan I’ve known about this for years but wasn’t ready to shell out the Japanese import prices for an album of demos. Now it is available domestically in North America so I snatched it up. Despite having only seven songs it is a pretty good value clocking in at over an hour. These are some of the longest songs of his career many of them over eight minutes long.
Inside is a brief explanation of the contents, which is essentially an 8-track demo recorded in Sweden in January of 1980. The sound is standard, a bit muddy but by no means unlistenable. The album was issued to combat the bootleggers and give fans a chance to hear the ‘genesis’ of the artist. It also has lyrics and a couple of pictures, man, does he look young! He changed the original album art as well.
Even as a teenager his talent and innovation are undeniable. Love or hate the man (because of image, history, media and so on) most rational music fans would have to admit after listening to these demos from 30 years ago, he was incredibly talented and innovative. Martin Popoff in his 2000 book ‘Heavy Metal’ has praised Malmsteen as, “the corner-stone of no less than three metal sub-genres.” (p. 109). Today it might sound dated, as some observers have suggested there is a glut of neo-classical power metal on the market, however, taken in context of a teenager in 1980 he was one of the first and perhaps the best.
The real treat for die-hard fans will be spending time picking out the various bits and pieces from these demos that eventually made it into other songs later in his career. If you are a die-hard, you will recognize many parts that might bring a smile to your face. This reissue is an essential part of his catalogue (for those of us that didn’t get the pricey original version) and a valuable history lesson.