Review Summary: Yngwie's second album, and his first to feature lyrics in most of his songs. This album, for its time, was very unique and helped mold neo-classical and power metal. Great vocals and arrangment, however songs can be drawn out and lyrics are mostly horribl1 of 3 thought this review was well written
Yngwie Malmsteen made somewhat of a musical revolution in 1984 with his debut album, Rising Force. The album was one of the first of its kind and in a way became the grandfather of modern neo-classical metal, and his future albums would definitely help in some way to mold modern power metal as well. It was not like many of his others in the sense that it was predominately instrumental, and Marching Out was his first recording that focused a full band, although his guitar playing is still the most prominent.
The album itself is one of his best works and features not only impressive playing but strong vocals from Jeff Scott Soto and complex keyboard work from Jens Johansson. The songwriting lyrically is quite a bit lacking in an actual purpose in many of the songs, and in my opinion is one of the worst albums lyrically for Malmsteen, as they tend to be corny and confusing. Aside from the lyrical aspect, most of the album musically is great, and for the most part all have their own flavor they give to the album.
Prelude is a minute long intro of almost nothing but some strange sound effects, it is not really a song.
I'LL SEE THE LIGHT, TONIGHT-
This song to this day still ranks as one of his most popular songs and is featured on almost every live setlist. Although the lyrics are, to me, not even understandable and quite random, the songs musicality is great, and is one of the best on the album. It has a good pace to it and is not too long or too short, which sometimes becomes a bit of a problem for some of the tracks on the album. The vocal work on this track show Soto at his best for sure. It has always been one of my personal favorites from Malmsteen, 5/5
DON'T LET IT END-
First off I would note that this song is one of the few times in the album we get to hear as wide a range from Soto as we do. The song starts of acoustic with only Soto in falsetto until it goes into a heavier more driving riff. The latter part of the song is fairly interesting in the fact that the riffs differ from the rest of the song and add some nice flavor. The lyrical work is a step up from "I'll See the Light", in the sense that we can actually pick out the message, but still is not a giant improvement, and because of the structure of the song, the lyrical work has a greater overall impact on how you will receive the song. It's arrangement is decent and definitely highlights Soto a lot, and I give it a 3.5/5 simply because it has the potential to bore you after the first one or two times listening to it.
DISCIPLES OF HELL-
The first minute of the song does tend to ruin it for me if i don't feel like skipping through it, as it features an acoustic solo that is decent, but highly unnecessary and poorly placed considering the whole mood of the song, which turns into a heavier song about human sacrifice and Hell. At this point I hope you've pieced together that the lyrical works are not improving at all, and is very apparent in this song. The arrangement can be a little strange at times and its time is a little excessive in my opinion. Overall it is just an average song with a few cool moments in it, but nothing amazing, 3/5.
I AM A VIKING-
This song is great in most of its aspects. I'll mention first off, at risk of being redundant, you may be able to tell by the title that this song is about vikings and features, again, no improvement in his lyrics. However, aside from that and the fact that the song is about a minute and a half-two minutes too long, it is a great track. It is a slower paced, heavier song than the predecessors so far, and its arrangement is actually quite good, in the sense that the way everything is placed and how it flows together works nicely. The verse is a pretty simple, heavy repeating, and the chorus is pretty musically strong and separate from the rest of the song, in a good way. One of the strong points of the song is actually the solo, which is interesting coming from me for the fact that although I like his solos, they tend to get to the point where nothing really pops out at me anymore. The drum line is solid and although as mentioned before, the time is a bit of an issue, I generally don't skip it or change it in the middle of the track, 4.5/5
This song is the first instrumental on the album, and we should be grateful it is under 3 minutes, because most instrumentals by Malmsteen tend to get drawn out like none other. His use of dynamics are great in this song as it goes from a heavy, driving metal riff with the entire band to a slow and mellow acoustic/electric accompaniment and actually turns out being really good, and one of the only instrumentals I'll listen to all the way through, 4.5/5
ANGUISH AND FEAR-
This is one of the more faster paced songs on the album, which is good because it still begins to get boring towards the end, simply because of its typical nature. Overall it is a decent track and there isn't really anything wrong with it, save for the lyrics, but it is just typical and poorly placed, so I generally don't find a lot of flavor to it. The strongest point is the guitar/keyboard solo trade-off about half-way through the song, ending in a harmony, which sounds really cool in the song. 3.5/5
ON THE RUN AGAIN-
I enjoy this song because of its simplicity musically, and it is a refreshment from the all-out complex songs on the album. The arrangement is also very simplistic, as there is not a whole lot of structure in terms of what is defined as the verse, the chorus, the bridge, and so-forth. Musically, it is a hard rock feeling track and the riffs definitely, for all intensive, purposes, suck you into the song. Lyrically, for a change, it makes sense and for the message that is being conveyed, it is one of the only decent lyrical works on the entire album. It is well timed and well placed, and very underrated as well, 4/5.
SOLDIER WITHOUT FAITH-
The song opens with an intro thats about 50 seconds too long, and at around 1:20, finally goes into a heavier moderate tempo riff. The lyrical work is not really poor on this track, but with the meaning of the song, they are unnecessarily corny, and could have been expressed in a way that would have made them be received in a more serious manner. The whole song is arranged strangely and although dynamics are good and keep the song flavored, it still is very drawn out, at 6:10, and the riff begins to get on your nerves. One of the weakest songs on the record, 2.5/5.
CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE-
Surprisingly, the lyrics are one of the strongest points of the song, and actually was the reason I actually grew to enjoy the song, which is about waking up and everything around you has changed. The presentation is well put together and if all of the lyrics on the album were similar, it would be an overall better record. Although it is a bit redundant musically to the rest of the album, it is still a good track, featuring another guitar/keyboard switch off solo. The song, if put in the position of another song on the album, would have a much stronger affect on the overall quality of the track, 4/5.
The other instrumental song on the album, and is actually a great way to close the album out. The riffs are catchy and the use of dynamics are excellent, as the song stays unpredictable, making it hard to be bored by it; it also has a decent length to it, which would otherwise ruin the song. The song is pretty typical however, in the sense that it starts fast and heavy and goes slow and mellow, and towards the last 45 seconds or so, it isn't much special, but is still overall an above average track, 3.5/5.
Marching Out is probably one of Yngwie's best records before Fire and Ice, where his style started to change a little bit. It is a very important album for its time, and one of the first of its kind. Definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of neo-classical metal, or don't mind good metal with a more complex musical side to it, and lyrical aspects of songs are not the most important thing to you.
Yngwie's guitar playing
Jeff Scott Soto's vocals are flawless
Songs are well arranged for the most part
I'll See the Light Tonight
I Am A Viking
Caught in the Middle
Don't Let it End
Lyrics are for the most part horrible
Songs can become drawn out
Songs can become redundant within themselves and as compared to the rest of the album
Soldier Without Faith