Review: Odyssey

Odyssey is the fourth studio album from Yngwie Malmsteen and his band Rising Force. The band now equipped with a new singer, Joe Lynn Turner of previous Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow fame went on to record a more commercially accessible album. The results is a highly enjoyable but heavily dated heavy metal record.

Though the previous three albums from Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force had some catchy songs with big vocal performances between the fiery instrumentals, it didn’t add up to a full band album. That is until they released Odyssey in 1988. Fans of the original band will be happy to know that there are two smoking instrumentals, Bite The Bullet and Krakatau/Memories. These tracks show Yngwie in his prime and hold on to that amazing show boating style that you found on Rising Force, Marching Out and Trilogy. His playing is lightning fast with a real beautiful emphasis on the neo-classical style that he helped create. In between these moments however, there are plenty of catchy riffs, some of which really smoke. This same riff heavy approach can be found on the opening trio of songs, Rising Force, Hold On and Heaven Tonight. Now, these songs are about as clichéd as you can get in terms of ’80s heavy metal. One is a lightning fast speed metal number and the other two are mid tempo stompers with a big pop friendly chorus. These song styles set the standard for Odyssey in a consistent but highly enjoyable manor.

With that said, each musician sets a high standard on the album with some top quality musicianship. Joe Lynn Turner puts in some great effort. Odyssey features easily some of his best vocal performances of the ’80s rivalling the albums he recorded with Ritchie Blackmore. The criminally underappreciated Jens Johansson matches the speed and ferocity of Yngwie himself as they play off one another with some serious speed and finesse. Of course you can’t mention Jens without mentioning his brother Anders. If there is one speed metal drummer that deserves a bit more respect, it is this guy. Sure, his beats aren’t the most complex but the power and precision put on here is extremely tasteful and exactly what this kind of heavy metal required. For those curious, Bob Daisley known for playing with… quite literally everybody features on four tracks and sounds as good as he always does.

When you look back on an album like Odyssey, it is very clearly an album of its time and has really dated pretty badly in some regards, especially in terms of the production. But there is no getting away from the fact that though the songs aren’t as trend setting as the previous three albums, they are extremely catchy, they are great fun to listen to and features some top quality musical ability. I’d recommend Marching Out and Trilogy before Odyssey, but once you have those in your collection, this little ’80s gem is worth the purchase.

Rating : 8 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Rising Force
  2. Hold On
  3. Heaven Tonight
  4. Dreaming (Tell Me)
  5. Bite the Bullet (instrumental)
  6. Riot in the Dungeons
  7. Deja Vu
  8. Crystal Ball
  9. Now is the Time
  10. Faster than the Speed of Light
  11. Krakatau
  12. Memories