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Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force

Yngwie Malmsteen is arguably the most technically accomplished hard rock guitarist to emerge during the '80s. Combining a dazzling technique honed over years of obsessive practice with a love for such classical composers as Bach, Beethoven, and Paganini, Malmsteen's distinctively Baroque, gothic compositional style and lightning-fast arpeggiated solos rewrote the book on heavy metal guitar. His largely instrumental debut album, Rising Force, immediately upped the ante for aspiring hard rock guitarists and provided the major catalyst for the '80s guitar phenomenon known as "shredding," in which the music's main focus was on impossibly fast, demanding licks rather than songwriting. Malmsteen released a series of albums over the course of the '80s that, aside from slight differences in approach and execution, were strongly similar to Rising Force, and critics charged him with showing little artistic progression. He was also reviled as an egotist whose emphasis on blazing technique ultimately made for boring, mechanical, masturbatory music with no room for subtlety or emotion. Malmsteen responded by insisting that since he was already playing music he loved, he had no desire to develop any further, and that his love did come through in his playing. He also vehemently insisted that it was his imitators, not him, who reduced songwriting and composition to merely generic vehicles to show off the guitar player's amazing technique. Toward the end of the decade, Malmsteen fell out of favor with metal audiences, and even some of his musician fan base seemed to tire of him and the incredible amount of practice it would take for them to emulate him. Following a series of personal setbacks, tragedies, and even injuries, Malmsteen eventually resurfaced on small, independent labels and then recorded at a prolific, rapid pace, continuing to play the music he loved in his patented neo-classical style.

Yngwie (pronounced "ING-vay") Malmsteen was born Lars Johann Yngwie Lannerback in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963, later adopting his mother's maiden name following his parents' divorce. He was an unruly child, and his mother tried without initial success to interest him in music as an outlet. However, when seven-year-old Yngwie saw a television special on the death of Jimi Hendrix featuring live performance footage of Hendrix setting his guitar on fire, he became obsessed with the guitar, learning to play the music of both Hendrix and favorites Deep Purple. Through Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's use of diatonic minor scales over simple blues riffs, Malmsteen was led toward classical music, and his sister exposed him to composers like Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Mozart. He spent hours practicing obsessively until his fingers bled, and by age ten, his mother allowed him to stay home from school to develop his musical talents, particularly since he was considered a behavioral nightmare. Also at age ten, Malmsteen became enamored of the music of 19th century violinist/composer Niccolo Paganini, as well as Paganini's flamboyant style and wild-man image; this would provide the blueprint for Malmsteen's synthesis of classical music and rock. By the time he was 18, Malmsteen was playing around Sweden with various bands attempting to find an audience for his technically staggering instrumental explorations, but most listeners preferred more accessible pop music; frustrated, Malmsteen sent demo tapes to record companies overseas. When Mike Varney, president of Shrapnel Records -- a label synonymous with the term "shredder" -- heard Malmsteen's tape, he invited the guitarist to come to the United States and join the band Steeler in 1981.

Steeler recorded one album with Malmsteen on guitar, but dissatisfied with the band's rather generic style, Malmsteen moved on to the group Alcatrazz, whose Deep Purple and Rainbow influences better suited the guitarist's style. Still not quite satisfied, Malmsteen formed his own band, Rising Force, with longtime friend and keyboardist Jens Johansson. The new band's first album, also called Rising Force, was released in 1984; it was a largely instrumental affair spotlighting Malmsteen's incendiary guitar work and Johansson's nearly equally developed technique. The album was an immediate sensation in guitar circles, winning countless reader's polls in guitar magazines, reaching number 60 on Billboard's album chart (no mean feat for an instrumental album), and receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Malmsteen's subsequent albums, Marching Out and Trilogy, also sold quite well and consolidated his reputation and influence as a composer as well as a soloist. However, on June 22, 1987, a speeding Malmsteen crashed his Jaguar into a tree; in breaking the steering wheel with his head, he received a blood clot in his brain that nearly killed him and extensively damaged the nerves leading to his picking hand. In the course of recovery, he learned that his mother had died and that his manager had swindled him out of his earnings. Undaunted, Malmsteen regained the use of his hand and recorded Odyssey, his most accessible, radio-friendly collection to date; the single "Heaven Tonight" widened his audience beyond a devoted core of guitar fans and helped push the album into Billboard's Top 40. Following a world tour including the then-Soviet Union, the Rising Force unit disbanded and Malmsteen formed a new band in his native Sweden for 1990's Eclipse. The album was a success in Europe and Japan, but stiffed in the U.S. without much promotion.

An angry Malmsteen left PolyGram and, prior to the release of 1992's Fire and Ice, he was married to and divorced from a Swedish pop singer. Fire and Ice debuted at number one on the Japanese charts, and Malmsteen toured the world again. However, disaster struck frequently over the next two years. Hurricane Andrew destroyed Malmsteen's Miami property; his manager of four years died of a heart attack; Elektra dropped him from their roster; a freak accident left the guitarist with a broken hand, in addition to frequent bouts of tendinitis caused by his lightning technique; and in August 1993, Malmsteen's future mother-in-law, opposed to his engagement to her daughter, had him falsely arrested for holding the woman hostage with a gun. The charges were quickly dropped, and Malmsteen secured a deal with the Japanese label Pony Canyon after his hand had healed completely. He returned to recording with a vengeance, releasing The Seventh Sign in 1994, as well as two mini-albums (Power and Glory and I Can't Wait), and then Magnum Opus in 1995 and the all-covers album Inspiration in 1996.

After several years in near obscurity, Malmsteen returned to the headlines in 2002, after a fellow airline passenger threw water on him after he allegedly made a slanderous comment about homosexuals. This incensed Malmsteen, who had to be escorted away by security, all the while screaming to the passenger that she had "unleashed the f*cking fury." This stint proved to be so popular in revitalizing his career that his comeback album in 2005 appropriated the phrases as its title. While his popularity has largely faded in the U.S. due to a backlash against the excesses of '80s shredders, Malmsteen still finds audiences in Europe and is more popular in Japan and Asia than ever. Instru-Mental was released in February 2007. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio


I laugh at the people who say Yngwie has no feeling in his playing! Just listen to the end of this song. It gives me cold chills! Just saying.....
Joan Jett is going into the rock and roll hall of fame
Deja Vu
Love this song.. 80's at it's best
Jeff Beck is better
msilvermerli n
he is a master of our time, and history will be kind to him one day. like si many masters before him their contribution was not fully appreciated right away. he is truly remarkable, and love his newer stuff also. Angels of love is great record!
F**kin epic rock right here folks!!
16 years old when rising force album came out. The good ole days,yngwie, k i l l e r buds and enough p**sy to keep the beard looking like a glazed donut.
cristianmarc o 2 0 1 2
Per nielsson of scar symmetry is pretty sick. Malmsteens tone is cool, i call it glassy.
Yngwie plays with soul on alot of his ballads, if you listen he never misses even a hint of a note on his breakneck shredding sets and hits. I got his autoghraph at the Toy Tiger here in Louisville Ky in the 80's, along with his pick , and lost my van in Boston with autographed picture, I gave his pick to my Brother Monte
Yngwie is pure Aspbergery brilliance. You have to accept the former in order to embrace the latter. There will be tantrums, angst, grudges and ruts that try your patience and loyalty. You may need to leave the room for a while now and again. But his talent is undeniable and, manifested in measured doses, compels you to forgive and admire.
Joe Lynn Turner & Yngwie- Best combo ever!
Also, if you play the scales he uses at a non-superhum a n pace, they're still really cool sounding. So, while he may not be the type to utilize much feel, to say that he has no style is ignorant. Most of the people that say things like that are either jealous or too lazy to spend the time practicing that he does.
The simple fact is, Yngwie is known for his shredding, because he spends so much time getting faster. That discount blues players for their style. There's room in music for a lot of different styles and it doesn't mean one is better than the other. I play guitar and my lead style is more blues based, with a lot of bends, vibratos and basically making notes sing and scream. However, one cannot discount players like Yngwie, Petrucci and Herman Li. It's not easy to build that kind of speed.
maxhammer200 5
Incomparable Master. Brought back to us Neoclassical . Thank you! Live show Fillmore SF 10/11 was epitome of spellbinding Awesomeness.
Chet Akins, Les Paul, and Frank Zappa are better!
Good guitar player, BORING as hell to listen to.
No one can beat slash on Guns N Roses
greatest guitarist on the planet.
i dont care what he did or does...Malms t e e n rocks
favorite song from rising force is no question caprici di diablo! such and epic song!!!!!!!! ! ! ! !
for the ultimate "shredder" however, look to cooley, batio or gilbert.
@joejoed6--g o o d call. so many people are afraid to say that and i have been saying that for years. hendrix revolutioniz e d rock guitar at the time, but was indeed a sloppy player. he couldn't play 1/10th of yngwies compositions .
Greatest Malmsteen solo ever from Rising Force? I really love the one at 2:23 from "Fury" off the "Trilogy" album. No over-shreddi n g and tons of emotion!
Yeah many days as a teenager listening to this.....Goo d Times.
Saw him in Concert, he didn't even have a bassist but he jammed anyway.
Hendrix, really. He was only good in the eyes of the ones that where on drugs. Other than that, he was really a sloppy player.
Awesome guitarist
What the hell does that mean, "Hendrix was a classic showman?" I'd take hendrix over this dude any day.
Awesome skills hes up there with Joe "sach" and Steve Vai
yngwie is god. there are none higher.
hendrix was a classic showman-malm s t e e n is a classic guitatist
Guitar god.
Yngwie and joe lynn turner are two rock legends,epic song,makes you rock out hard..
ibashzombies . I agree lol, Herman Li (Dragonforce lead guitarist) would be annihilated by Yngwie Malmsteen.

Long live all of the shred gods!
it has nothing to do with just speed malmsteen is the best. but my personal fav is chriss oliva of savatage if i was a guitar player i would want his style
anybody who loves yngwie should really check out vinnie moore as well! I think you will enjoy his music also. Hes another great guitar virtuoso. Especially vinnies song: In Control, or the maze.

Let's have a shredding race: Malmsteen vs. the Dragonforce guitarist!
boo to epica, their stuff sounds like more evanecence or however you spell that dumb name. crap! Yngwie is the best!!!!!
Malmsteen is one of the best on electric guitar...he is one of the ones that stands alone on his unique sound.
he changed the way people play i will see him holloween night in ft lauderdale fla.
LOL, they list Yngwie as a similar artist.
Yngwie rules!
True, Epica is awesome (and unbelievable performing live).
you like classical + metal? check out Epica.

the end.
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