Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Odyssey” (1988)

Yngwie’s blazing fingers returned for another round with 1988’s Odyssey, his fourth album as a solo artist.  This time ’round Joe Lynn Turner lent his voice to the proceedings (he penned the lyrics as well).  Turner, ex of Rainbow, possessed a nice set of pipes with a hint of rasp, perfectly suited for AOR/hard rock (though not necessarily metal).  Odyssey‘s focus was mostly on ear-friendly, moderately commercial songs, and some catchy ones at that.  The album starts like a house of fire with the amazing power metal majesty of Rising Force, my favorite Malmsteen song of all time!  Turner shines brightest on the glam tinged Heaven Tonight, the most commercial track on the disc.  Of course, no song on Odyssey is complete without an obligatory (extended) Malmsteen solo.  Again, with Malmsteen, the obvious “wow” factor is there, even if it feels like we’ve heard all of Malmsteen’s tricks before.  The great keyboardist Jen Johansson (formerly of Silver Mountain) turns up to help the cause.  Even the great Bob Daisley gets credit for some of the bass duties.  However, Odyssey does contain a fair amount of mediocre tunage, despite Turner pouring his all into his vocal takes.  Some of the tracks sound a bit banal and underdeveloped, like the songs were just put together as an afterthought to provide substrate for Yngwie to set off some six-string pyro.  Odyssey ends with a couple of instrumentals in Krakatau and Memories, much to my sleepy-eyed chagrin.  My score: B+

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