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Yngwie J. Malmsteen, a virtuoso guitarist who burst onto the music scene in the early 1980's with the rather stereotypical 80's Metal band Alcatrazz, became renowned for his speedy play and mesmerizing solos. After Yngwie departed from Alcatrazz, he launched a highly successful solo-career. Yngwie's debut album "Rising Force" put Malmsteen on the map as a solo artist when the album drew critical acclaim for it's virtuoso-like guitar work. Yngwie followed "Rising Force" with his second album "Marching Out". Yngwie's sophomore release didn't draw as much praise as his debut did, but it never-the-less was another work of sheer guitar brilliance and helped elevate Yngwie to the ranks of a guitar-god. Malmsteen was hyped, if not over-hyped, when he came into the music scene early in his career. Many called him the "Next Hendrix" and critics began to deem Yngwie as the next great guitarist, and possibly the best to ever live. While Yngwie's rankings as a guitarist are up for debate, in order to live up to his praises Yngwie released "Trilogy" his junior release. The album shows a more mature side of Yngwie, both in his guitar and in his lyrics.
1. "You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget" - A revered classic of Malmsteen's, the song is a rare instance of when Yngwie's lyrical skill can be as good as his guitar skill. While the guitar work in this song is much better than the lyrical work, "You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget" is a song that is a bit more mainstream than most of Yngwie's works and is one of, if not, the best song on the album. The song sets the tone for an album full of emotion that is expressed as well lyrically as it is musically.
2. "Liar" - Again Yngwie surprises fans and critics alike with his song writing ability in the second song on the album. Liar is almost self-explanatory, the song talks about lies and the effect they have. Liar is a raw expression of emotion that Yngwie normally was only able to convey in his guitar playing, showing some versatility Malmsteen is able to express his emotion through words and verses and choruses as well as through notes, riffs and solos.
3. "Queen in Love" - The third song on the album, "Queen in Love", happens to be my favorite of the album and my favorite lyric-involved work of Yngwie's arsenal of works. The brilliant use of the King and Queen metaphors throughout the song give the listener an interesting perspective on what Yngwie must feel when he is writing the song. While the lyrics are a little corny and repetitive, they are delivered in typical 80's metal fashion and are easily enjoyed through choruses verses that are catchy and memorable.
4. "Crying" - On the fourth track of the album, Yngwie returns to his usual virtuoso-guitar work. As the 1st three songs in the album conveyed Yngwie's emotions through lyrics, "Crying" does so through guitar. The soft and relaxing acoustic guitar sets the stage for somber sounding solos that are just as capable in stirring up emotion as the deepest lyrics are. "Crying" shows that while Yngwie can be mainstream like the early songs on "Trilogy" he has stuck to his roots and delivers another powerful guitar performance. The song is like a return to greatness for Malmsteen.
5. "Fury" - My least favorite of the songs on "Trilogy", "Fury" is possibly Yngwie's worst lyrical job on the album. The song, in my opinion, is what many people feared when Yngwie's lyrical skills were displayed early in his career. The writing in "Fury" is much too corny as the singer seems to talk to the listener like they are conversing, it seems he is telling a story and is trying to teach a moral. The moral of this story: Skip this song on the album, it's poor lyrics and singing can't be covered up by the guitar played in the song as it seems Yngwie relied on the lyrics to do the job in this song.
6. "Fire" - The sixth song on the album is like "Fury('s)" Mr. Hyde and "Fury" is "Fire('s)" Dr. Jekyll. Plainly said "Fire" is "Fury" gone right. While the repetitiveness of fire used as a metaphor and the line "feel the fire the burning desire" being said over-and-over is a little annoying, this song is a great work of Yngwie's as the guitar begins to shine through in this song more so than in "You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget", "Liar", and "Queen in Love"
7. "Magic Mirror" - The seventh track on the album seems to find Yngwie more comfortable writing lyrics in accompaniment of his guitar as the lyrics and guitar seem to flow together more smoothly. The lyrics may not be the best on the album but unlike other songs that have the singing and guitar together awkwardly, "Magic Mirror" is a more maturely written song.
8. "Dark Ages" - "Dark Ages" is much like "Magic Mirror" in the respect that it is a song that is technically sound, but may not be the most arousing song to the ears. Although it is a step up from "Fury", this song is a step below "Fire" and "Magic Mirror" and comes nowhere close to the first three tracks on the album. The song has a good riff but that riff just seems to get too repetitive and the lyrics also are repetitive and bland. The solo adds a break from the repetive riffery and freshens the song up.
9. "Trilogy Suit, Op: 5" - In particular Malmsteen fashion, "Trilogy" has one song that seems to shine above the rest and set itself apart from the others. "Trilogy Suit, Op: 5" is that song, a marathon of an instrumental, "Trilogy Suit, Op: 5" makes up for the lack of instrumentals on the album. Possibly Yngwie's greatest work, this song shows off Yngwie's sound guitar fundamentals, his technique, speed, classical influence, and many other things. The songs fast and furious guitar will be complimented by periods of slow classical work that show Yngwie's maturity as a guitar player even at the tender age of 23.
- Yngwie's guitar, again, is amazing.
- Yngwie's lyrics seem to be more well developed and are catchier.
- "Trilogy Suite, Op: 5" is in itself a pro
- For untempered Malmsteen listener, the guitar is too repetitive and fast.
- Yngwie's lyrics make progress, but at times don't make enough.
- The albums lyrics may seem kind of corny.
In summary, "Trilogy" is an album that shows Malmsteen's amazing guitar work as well as his decent lyrical potential. While many, like me, feel it is not as good as "Rising Force" the Swedish Guitar-Maestro's debut, "Trilogy" lives up to the expectations many had for Yngwie as a solo artist. If Yngwie's band did not solely revolve around his guitar and he was more a key component in a band rather than a solo guitar artist, Malmsteen could have risen to the heights of Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, etc. But as a solo guitar artist, Yngwie is held in the highest regards.