NOISE A TIME AGO: 1984 | Start Classified

The year is 1984. It’s hardly spring yet. Metallica have not yet released their second album, Iron Maiden are on the 4ththWith power slave in progress. Steve Vai only debuted at the beginning of the year Flex capable. Celtic Frost, atheist, Hiand sepulture (among many others) were newly founded this year. These are just a few examples to set the stage, but it all clearly shows where things were at the time: metal was still in its infancy, with a limitless universe awaiting, from brave pioneers and the titans known as Guitar virtuosos (and/or shredders) known to be discovered were still pretty much a thing of the future.


Come March 5thth and Yngwie Malmsteen makes himself known through his debut, which is more than aptly titled Rising Power. That’s exactly how Malmsteen came across in his early years. A rising force. The world was hardly ready for what he offered, but that offer was feverishly accepted with open arms nonetheless. Rising Power was pretty much what it implied on a musical level, particularly with its cover showing what is now an iconic staple, the cream colored Stratocaster held aloft amidst blazing flames.

The record was pretty much the spark that ushered in the era of the guitar virtuoso as we know it to this day. While all of those hallmarks are long since out of fashion, shredding is a staple of metal today, to the point where when it’s slightly overused, or not quite used in taste, or even fucking used at all, it’s automatically labeled a becomes cliché. I think that’s a monumental achievement for an album, and few albums manage to keep things like that on their résumé, and fewer still boast of greater accomplishments. For that alone, it’s definitely worth the praise.

Admittedly Malmsteen is far from being the most charming and unassuming musician, quite the opposite as the years went by and unfortunately his musical output showed first signs of stagnation in the late 90’s and early 00’s with the first major mark of decline after 2005 Unleash the anger. The quality of his work has suffered greatly from a lack of acceptance of peak crossing (I suppose), as well as God knows what for other reasons. As a musician, it now feels like he’s little more than a veil of the glorious beacon he once was.

Okay, that’s a bit grim, but I think it’s worth mentioning, even though I’ll always see him as the young Swedish guitar legend who changed the face of this music segment forever. That has a lot to do with how everything went for me. I discovered Malmsteen’s music when I was about 11 or 12, I can’t remember exactly. You know how it is, it’s still an impressionable age, especially in terms of art. I still vividly remember hearing Black Star for the first time though.

It was just something different, unlike anything I had ever heard before. As if this discovery wasn’t overwhelming enough, I found out that she was about twenty years old at the time, which to my consciousness and perception felt like an absolute eternity, something really old. It was amazing how fresh and smooth it sounded. It was like opening a door to a magical realm where wild fantasies became reality and I dived right into it. Regardless, the main theme/lick in the song stuck with me for years to come. But the blazing guitar lines were the ones that really made it all stick. Thankfully I wasn’t aware of the possibility that guitars could sound like that.

Further unpacking of the contents Rising Power, I was also impressed by “Far Beyond the Sun”, which was so aptly titled at the time that I couldn’t think of a better title. I rode waves of scales and arpeggios on Malmsteen’s Strat across the solar system and far beyond the sun into the great unknown. It was a maximalist adventure packed in a sachet. I was the superhero of my own fairy tale. I was young and immortal, basking in an incomparable splendor. While my neighborhood co-workers were playing with toys and riding bikes, I was under the stars and couldn’t wait to come back and tell them how great it was.

Continuing with my comments on “Black Star” and “Far Beyond the Sun”, they have stood the test of time and become Malmsteen’s most successful songs, making it onto most if not all of his concert sets, with obvious waves of the Praise behind you. Malmsteen also mentioned in an interview for guitar world 2008 that he will probably play “Far Beyond the Sun” and “Black Star” until his death. I guess we’re on the same page on some level.

While I was never really impressed with “Now Your Ships are Burned” and “Evil Eye” (although “Evil Eye” was on John Krieger‘s “Bourree”), but I was absolutely smitten with “Icarus’ Dream Suite Op. 4”. A good part of my musical upbringing up to that point consisted of the top hits of mainstream classical composers. was known to me Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart, stream, Paganini, etc. I also really liked certain pieces of theirs. Obviously I had nothing against Malmsteen, he was just obsessed with them – especially Bach. For the more musically savvy, it’s immediately obvious upon listening to his guitar tracks. He embodies this style of composition down to the smallest detail.

So, in that breath, it only made sense that I was naturally drawn to “Icarus’ Dream Suite Op. 4″ like a moth to a flame. This made even more sense when I found out that “Icarus’ Dream Suite Op. 4” is adapted from/based on “Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ”, a composition which is commonly attributed Tomaso Albino this is actually arranged/composed by Remo Giazottobased on a fragment of a manuscript written by albino.

Of course, I had similar feelings for “As Above, So Below” as I did for the aforementioned third and fourth tracks, but I retained quite a fascination with “Little Savage” and an even greater fascination with “Farewell,” which sort of ‘mocks’ us along the motif “Black Star”. I think it’s a nice touch to close the record with exactly what sparked it.

Statistically I think Rising Power isn’t exactly the one I hold with most favorites, but as far as the little things are close to my heart, it’s one of the most important albums of my musical past. For the amazing adventures I’ve had exploring and for the other adventures it took me on, as well as musical voyages of discovery to distant, never-before-seen realms, it was also the second major milestone I’ve had as a music listener, and I will always appreciate.

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