80s Classic for August 2002
2. I'll See the Light Tonight
3. Don't Let It End
4. Disciples of Hell
5. I Am a Viking
6. Overture 1383
7. Anguish and Fear
8. On the Run Again
9. Soldier Without Faith
10. Caught in the Middle
11. Marching Out
Rising Force (1984)
|Even More Yngwie:
Fire and Ice (1992)
Seventh Sign (1994)
Magnum Opus (1995)
|I think it is about time somebody wrote a review for Marching Out; one of the greatest and most honest of Yngwie's releases. It takes some courage to write a review for such an important album, and I have hitherto not had such courage at my disposal, however I will now use the remainder of this pompous sentence to implore that you do not blame me for inevitable omissions. After having released undoubtedly the fastest guitar album ever at the time in "Rising Force", the predominantly instrumental neo-classical opus, Yngwie had formed a full band, (also called Rising Force). The vocalist Jeff Scott Soto is definitely one of my favourite Yngwie vocalists, with a unique voice that defines songs like "I'll See The Light Tonight", and "I Am A Viking", which any vocalist would need some guts to try and cover, like on Yngwie's live video of 1998. In my opinion the earlier albums of Yngwie have more feeling than the recent ones, but his skill has actually improved, and the quality of the recordings have improved, (when 'improvement' is intended, such as Alchemy as opposed to War To End All Wars). I must impress that I believe Alchemy has nearly the same amount of 'feeling' as Rising Force, Marching Out, Trilogy, and Odyssey, only he was more skilful by 1999. I am eager to get on to the songs, so I will just say that this album displays a creative young Yngwie, and despite Yngwie's insistence that Marching Out is not as good as his other albums, just remember he has said that about Odyssey and Facing The Animal also.|
Well, very quiet, then quiet, then a bit louder, then a little louder still, then a massive surge and
2. I'll See The Light Tonight
In comes a pummelling riff that kicks the album off with style, leading to a very unique vocal section that earns this song the popularity that it has gained. This song seems tailor made for Soto as it is seems unrealistic that other vocalists could make such a potentially cheesy song one of the best on the album. Energy is maintained and exploited throughout the 4 minutes 24 seconds, giving the listener high expectations for the album, and even a sense of awe in the quality of the shred. The solo reassures you that Yngwie's neo-classical dictionary of guitar techniques is being referred to just as much as in the debut album, and a "Eastern" touch is ripped into the solo just for assurance of his unquestionable prowess. This song is a great one, and made me pay attention the moment it started. If you are partly unsure about vocals, this will be the first song that you feel can be cranked up to a high volume without embarrassing you. The prelude to the guitar solo is one of my most frequently frequented practice parts for my guitar, (Jackson Soloist USA 1993, not that I would show off).
3. Don't Let It End
I don't know a great deal about vocalists and singing, but this is quite a nice bit of singing from Soto, and although it does not have much grace, it does work. The rhythm played in the background is extremely catchy even through its subtlety, and shows good songwriting skills from Yngwie. The solo is of the same great standard that would be expected from an early release from Yngwie, and some nice touches are included in the trailer solo. Overall, not a brilliant or memorable song, but DLIE is a good addition to the album. It is probably important to outline that whenever I hear the bad first few seconds of the song with Soto's singing, I feel compelled to flick to the next track. I think given more patience, such a button pressing instinct would be proven an unfortunate way to miss out on a decent song.
4. Disciples of Hell
Yngwie plays a very nice classical piece on a nylon string for the intro, and it works very nicely after the first "two" quite full-on songs. The main part of this song is a high paced dark song, showing Soto really expending some effort. It is of the same formula as most of the songs on this album, making a catchy main section, an amazing solo, and a slower finale. The middle solo takes some playing, consisting of very fast relatively typical classical work forming into signature Yngwie greatness. The solo is similar to that of Trilogy Suite in terms of pace.
5. I Am A Viking
I do not personally appreciate the opening screeches from Soto on this number, and I would say that the singing is not the best on the album, (inducing a headache with relative ease). If you listen carefully, this song is personal to Yngwie, using his home country and tradition as the basis of a meaningful and emotional tune. The first thing that strikes you about this song is the extremely distinctive riff, and then the fairly epic song begins. There is little more that can be said about the solos because they all display extreme skill from the master; Yngwie J Malmsteen. There is a nice little 'outro' constructed that lets the listener contemplate the song a little. I don't rank this song as one of Malmsteen's greatest as a number of other people seem to do as I feel the general tune is a little corny. When accounting for the fact that my first listen of this was in 2001, and it was released 16 years earlier in 1985, I am probably unjust in saying it is corny because it is the type of tune that you either find amazing or trite. I probably found it the latter due to countless bootlegs undoubtedly subconsciously making me think I have heard the sort of thing before, during those 16 years. I Am A Viking: a classic for some, a little mediocre for others.
6. Overture 1383
One of my favourite on Marching Out is 1383, which has almost unaccompanied clean playing in a little classical gem. The song begins with a good typical rock and neo-classical paced guitar line being driven by bass and drums, leading shortly to a very nice piece of medi-evil sounding acoustic work. Yngwie generally is distinguished as a neo-baroque player, but here I am convinced that he could do just as well as a neo-medievil player. I like this type of classical music in general, and Yngwie uses the style of music very nicely to play a great piece of instrumental guitar. I may be mistaken and this style may be a type of baroque music, but anyway, I do like these kind of scales; (when reading this in the future I will probably revel in my ignorance of musical history at the time of writing).
7. Anguish And Fear
Full speed, full virtuosity, no filling song, that gets straight to the point, and doesn't take long to get there. This song displays the skill of the other musicians in the band being able to keep up with Yngwie; it sounds like Yngwie is making the drummer, singer, and bassist really earn their bread. A strange technique is utilised by Yngwie in the solo that I have been trying to copy in recent weeks, where he juggles the notes, (which is shown in Soldier Without Faith aswell). The opening guitar playing, (equivalent to a riff in arguably lesser music although Yngwie will usually incorporate more complex structures than simply a 'riff'), is a great little tune, and is a good one to know if you are a guitarist. It is a great challenge to best it as well as Yngwie, but the solo then leaves any aspiring doppelganger of his guitar playing a little disheartened, whilst it leaves you behind on Yngwie's original but definitive shred style. This is one of the strongest songs on the album and is certainly one of the hardest guitar parts to play.
8. On The Run Again
Starting with a slightly more pentatonic based riff that diverts a little from the neo-classical influence of the album, and a matching intro solo. I really love Soto's vocals on this song; they really suit the song even in the extreme octaves, and I feel that OTRA brings the band together very nicely. There is some suffering where the ending is rather trite and messy, but that is just a factor of most metal music of the mid and late 80s, (and probably earlier, although my tastes are refined to the mid 80s plus). This song is one of Yngwie's early hard rock style tunes, and consequently is not my favourite on the album, though I find it fairly memorable and certainly good for it's genre.
9. Soldier Without Faith
This is my favourite on the album, with a beautiful ambient first minute, leading to an excellent riff devised by Mr Malmsteen, and then a signature solo which tears the Strat's fretboard to shreds. I love Soto's singing, the basswork, and the sensitive drumming on the song, but the attention simply must be given to Yngwie's work on the solo. Yngwie sounds like he has matured about four years with his playing, but redeemed his original neo-classical fingerprint. For any guitar fan, (or surely and music fan), the extended solo is first class post to the penthouse of prowess, (metaphorically writing). Apart from the introduction section which I find very nice to listen to, setting the scene as a calm-after, (or before)-the storm war-zone feel, the song has three great solos and about two great verse sections. Yngwie definitely improved his guitar skills between the Marching Out and Odyssey, (three years), and then again up until his recent releases like Alchemy, but Soldier Without Faith remains as a classic.
10. Caught In The Middle
Another great song that is slightly more sentimental than most of the fast songs, and is quite catchy. The keyboards get really smoky for the brilliant solo, placed after Yngwie's efforts. This is another example of a more hard rock style, which I don't exactly adore, but it isn't a bad song, and still contains great neo-classical style that ensures your finger needn't search for the > button. This is, in fairness, a cool song, and the main guitar part is technically extremely hard to play at the speed Yngwie plays it.
11. Marching Out
The last taste of neo-classical speed guitar is played at the beginning briefly, then leading to an amazing balad-paced solo. If anybody on earth thinks that Yngwie lacks emotion in the notes he plays, I will bet anything they have not heard this masterpiece. This is the perfect end to a superb neo-classical album. This results from the brilliance of Yngwie's skill built up over the countless days that he practised inhumanly, and the brilliance of the selected notes played on this simple, slowly quieting backing track. Inhumanly brilliant!
To conclude The singing is by no means perfect, but is very distinctive, and really had me hooked for several weeks, so I would say that Jeff Scott Soto has done a great job on this album. You will find his voice a bit 'funny' at first, but it will grow on you and soon you will be nodding your head along with his emphatic singing. The bass and drums are to the usual quality of a music-based album from any artist of Yngwie's formidable level, keeping pace excellently with the boss, (Yngwie of course). Yngwie really wanted to make sure he made an impact after his superb debut album, and Marching Out matches the standard of Rising Force, adding to some skills such as more eastern sounding sections in the solos and more sensitive playing. The vocals could seem annoying, but I think they really give the album a sense of being unique. I believe that the only Yngwie album that competes in terms of soloing with thought, skill, and emotion, is Odyssey, which although seems commercialised at shallow glance, has some incredible music hidden within the tracks. To be devastatingly honest, this album is not incredibly memorable for me; I just think it doesn't have a massively memorable feel to it, (however, Soldier Without Faith and especially Marching Out do have this memorable factor, not really present in the bulk of the album). If you are an Yngwie fan, I'm sure you already possess this great album, but if not, make sure you buy it as soon as possible if you love the guitar or just want some great metal music, particularly if you aren't afraid of vocals.