REVIEW: Yngwie J. Malmsteen – Trilogy (1986)

YNGWIE_0001YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN – Trilogy (1986 Polygram)

Trilogy: not only my first Yngwie Malmsteen album (cassette), but also the first Yngwie Malmsteen review here at mikeladano.com.

Trilogy was, appropriately, Yngwie’s third album.  It was also his first with new singer Mark Boals after the departure of the uber-talented Jeff Scott Soto.  I received this album (cassette) for Christmas of ’86 and it was all but instant dislike.  I knew a couple Yngwie songs, but none of the new ones, and I didn’t care for the new singer.  I saw this listed in an A&A Records and Tapes flier so I asked for it for Christmas.  All I really knew was that Yngwie was heavy metal and that he was a blazing fast player.  That did not prepare me for the distinctly European flavour and neo-classical leanings of Trilogy.

As it was, Polygram used to put out the shittiest quality cassettes.  My copy of Trilogy was unlistenable in a matter of months, so until I got it again a decade later on CD, I didn’t have a chance to let it grow on me.  In 1996 a used CD came into the store, and I was mocked for buying it by staff member the Boy Who Killed Pink Floyd.  Here’s a weird thing about our old store receipts.  They would imprint, permanently, whatever was on them onto the jewel case of a CD.  My jewel case for Trilogy still has a faint accidental imprint of the receipt, so I know that I bought it October 11 1996, at precisely 4:29 pm!  Apparently I paid by debit card.

Trilogy has grown on me over the years and now it’s a favourite Yngwie album.  I still get what I didn’t like about it as a kid.  The drums don’t sound very good (the album is self produced) and Mark Boals can be a bit over the top at times.  There’s no denying the guy has range and power, but it was all flat-out back then.  And of course Yngwie’s songs aren’t always the catchiest.  You need to give them time, and I have.

The one song that I did like as a kid was the mid-tempo opener “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget”.  I’ve always thought the melody and hooks were strong, and I still think it’s the strongest track on the album.  “Liar” is also excellent, from the fast part of the spectrum.  It sounds at times like Yngwie really wanted to be Ritchie Blackmore, but that’s OK.  There are very few that can come even close to Ritchie Blackmore.  “Queen in Love” is another mid-tempo track, similar to “You Don’t Remember” and almost as strong.  As a kid, I found this one too slow.  As an adult, I’m playing air bass along to it.  (Yngwie played all bass on the album.)

YNGWIE_0002One of things that I was most excited about hearing on an Yngwie album were instrumentals.  “Crying” is the first, which features both classical and electric guitars.  I’m noticing Yngwie has a nice vibrato when playing classical.  This fine instrumental track is only hampered by the production values.  Too much bass and poor drum and cymbal sounds distract the attention.  The album side is redeemed by “Fury” which is another blazingly fast Yngwie electric medieval dance, and good enough for me.

“Fire” commences with some incendiary guitar, but the song itself is a plain old hard rocker with Jens Johansson providing keyboard hooks for the verses.  Then from some sorcerer’s bag of tricks is “Magic Mirror”, but it is indeed just smoke and mirrors.  Killer chorus aside, the song doesn’t catch, except when Yngwie is unleashing his own electric magic.  “Dark Ages” sets the scene; some dark cloudly and cold landscape about a thousand years ago.  This is a slow Dio-esque prowl, with Boals screaming his balls off.  It’s a bit much with the screaming, but the song does not suck.

I was expecting more instrumentals than this, but Yngwie saved a seven minute epic instrumental for last.  “Trilogy Suite Op:5” is as bombastic as you’d guess it is.  Running the gamut in tempos and tones, Yngwie composed a track here that is highly enjoyable.  Jens and Yngwie get to duel with each other, but it’s definitely a guitar showcase.  Electric and classical, Malmsteen pulls out all the stops on his opus.  I mean, hey: it’s Yngwie J. fucking Malmsteen!

I am glad to say that I enjoy Trilogy a lot more today than I did in 1986.  Bonus points are added for the cover art.  Dio, after all, only had a single-headed dragon!

3.5/5 stars
YNGWIE_0003

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46 comments

    1. Jeez! imagine the carnage if he plugged it in?! Or maybe that’s part of some galactic handicapping system and that’s why Dio got to use a sword to compensate for his lack of reach?

      Personally, I think I’d want a Rickenbacker bass to hand in the event of a dragon attack. I reckon I could get a good swing in with one of those.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Being a Swedish hard rocker, Yngwie Malmsteen was a big thing when he went to America. He made the headlines big time when he teamed up with Graham Bonnet and his band Alcatrazz, Steeler was just a side note, but the fact that he went to the US and became a star was big news here. We never had an international rock star (well, we did have ABBA, but they weren’t exactly hard rock…) before and therefore everybody and their grandma know who Yngwie is today.
    I was a fan of his Rising Force solo stuff from day one. However, I think that Jeff Scott Soto is a much better and more enjoyable singer than Mark Boals so that was a bit disappointing that he left. Also, the Rising Force moniker was gone from this album which was weird as Yngwie always loved that name. His oldest friend Marcel Jacob (RIP) was also gone and Yngwie wrote the song Liar about him. In Yngwie’s world he can’t do no wrong and everything is everybody elses fault.
    I knew Marcel and he was always very polite about everything Yngwie even though he treated him like crap, but he did say that the reason he left was that he didn’t get paid and that Yngwie put his faith in the wrong people (manager/crook Andy Truman).
    That said, I think this album is great and I can’t really find any bad tracks on it. Trilogy Suite Op:5 is also the best instrumental Yngwie ever wrote, if you ask me.

    Marcel started the band Talisman with Jeff Scott Soto in the early 90’s and they existed until Marcel’s suicide in 2009.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So there is some of the inside scoop right there!

      Mark Boals has a great set of pipes but I really prefer Jeff Scott. Incredible singer…I was hoping he would stay in Journey. Unfortunately for him the guys in Journey wanted a soundalike so they searched and found Arnel. I like what Jeff Scott had with Journey though. They could have written a great album together.

      Could be right on the “Trilogy Suite” being Yngwie’s best instrumental…but I sure have not heard them all!

      “I like the way he puts Yngwie J. Malmsteen on his albums so you don’t confuse him with all the other Yngwie Malmsteens in the business.” — DAVID ST. HUBBINS.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Its the way he plays it behind his head, with his teeth and humps it – whilst denying point blank that he’s trying to be Hendrix and/or Blackmore. What a guy!

          Mind you his uncle Yngwie R. Malmsteen, is simply the best tuba player the world has ever seen …

          Liked by 1 person

        2. You do know he was born Yngve Johan Lannerbäck, but when his parents divorced he took his mother’s last name, Malmsten.
          Then he thought he should make his name more American sounding, hence Yngwie Malmsteen. Yes, Yngve, your name sounds very American now… ;-)

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Oh man! That is so hilarious. But “Yngve” looks more like how it is pronounced! I had no idea how to say it when I was a kid, so I pronounced it like “Yeng-wee”.

          Like

    1. “Framing the package” is now what I have decided to re-name my solo album.

      The picture will be me in red leather pants holding an empty picture frame right below the belt.

      Like

  2. This is one of his that I’m not that familiar with. Even though I’ve owned it for a while. I’ve bought that box set recently so that’ll give me an excuse to give it another spin and I’ll read your review again when I do!

    And lol at Sarca’s “framing the package”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Framing the package…it’s good cover art protocol.

      I am always pleasantly surprised when I spin this. Hope you like it too, especially since you already bought it!

      Like

  3. I think Peter Jackson was inspired by Malmsteen when he shot the second episode of The Hobbit.
    I share similar views to you on this one – it was a bit of a mess, but it did lead to the Joe Lynn Turner tie up which was a much better album. Saw him on that tour, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yngwie went a little mainstream on this album. Too much vocals and he new singer was not as strong. Queen in Love is my favorite/ most memorable tune on Trilogy.

    Liked by 1 person

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