Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Bandleader shouts out classics including Judas Priest's 'Sad Wings of Destiny' and Morbid Angel's 'Altars of Madness'

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Yngwie J. Malmsteen, 'Rising Force' (1984)
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8/10

8. Yngwie J. Malmsteen, 'Rising Force' (1984)

That wasn't the first record I bought with him. ... My friend had Rising Force, like, copied on a cassette tape. So I heard it and I was like, "That's not possible. ... Nobody can play like that." It sounded like a synthesizer; it sounded so clean and so effortless. Like, it must have been some studio trickery or something. But it was beautiful songs, absolutely gorgeous guitar playing, and it was also extreme because parts of it were so fast. And as an aspiring lead guitar player, I thought that it just killed Eddie Van Halen; it killed Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, all those guys. It was just something on a completely different level than what anybody else was doing at the time. 

And I had, like, the equivalent of four bucks, I think. So I went down to the local record shop where I lived and picked up not that record, but I bought Marching Out, the second album. That was the first one I got, which is an equally great record, I think, but it's also more of a vocal record. And [Rising Force] only had two songs with vocals on it. And I was really intrigued by the fact that this was an instrumental, or 80 percent instrumental record. And it still maintained my interest, from the first note to the last. And his playing was just ... it was magical. ... It's like Robert Johnson, like "Crossroads," selling his soul to the fucking devil, that kind of thing. There was something about Yngwie Malmsteen in those days that was just demonic, I think. He played like nobody else; he created a whole new genre for lead guitar players, a whole new arena. And not only that: His guitar playing is great, but these metal songs, they're so well-structured and so well-written. ... And I've played it so much and I've tried to play, like, the slower things that I could make out how to play myself, but once I did, it went into this fast run and I couldn't play along anymore. But it's still one of those records, to me, that's a party record. But it's also a party-killer record to other people. 

But it's a beautiful record that I would recommend to metal fans out there, especially guitar players, of course. It is an acquired taste because there's a lot of things going on there, lots of notes, lots of fast guitar playing. But it's so tastefully done. It's not just mindless shredding on that record. It's just beautiful. And his tone on there is just the best ... like since the Eighties and up till now, he's got the best tone – on that record and on the Alcatrazz record [No Parole From Rock 'n' Roll] – of any guitar player in the world. Nobody has outplayed him when it comes to metal music since.

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