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Malmsteen, Yngwie (Rising Force) - 2008 Perpetual Flame

ARTIST: Malmsteen, Yngwie J (And Rising Force)
ALBUM: Perpetual Flame
LABEL: Rising Force Records
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Yngwie J Malmsteen - all guitars, bass, keyboards, lead and backing vocals * Tim 'Ripper' Owens - lead vocals * Derek Sherinian - keyboards * Patrick Johansson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Death Dealer * 02 Damnation Game * 03 Live To Fight (Another Day) * 04 Red Devil * 05 Four Horsemen (Of The Apocalypse) * 06 Priest Of The Unholy * 07 Be Careful What You Wish For * 08 Caprici Di Diablo (Instr) * 09 Lament (Instr) * 10 Magic City * 11 Eleventh Hour * 12 Heavy Heart (Instr)



It's been a long time since I sat down and gave a Malmsteen CD a good listen. Unfortunately, his latest offering 'Perpetual Flame' did not give me much time to reacquaint myself with my couch, headphones and his music, but from what I did hear, there is life with Malmsteen still. Look, I'll admit to being a huge fan of his 1988 'Oddysey' album, but that album, along with a handful of other offerings from around the same era is where it's at for me - in terms of liking his music. What has been an annoyance for me over the years is the constant guitar widdly diddly and retreading of the same musical ideas. I'm certain many of Yngwie's guitar solos run about in his head like a horse running around a racetrack, but often faster! It was more out of curiosity as to what he sounded like in 2008/2009, and though still not convincing, it's a reasonable album - all things considered. 'Perpetual Flame' is his first album since 2005's 'Unleash The Fury', and also the first to feature Ohio vocalist Tim 'Ripper' Owens, the former Judas Priest and current Iced Earth singer. I'm not so sure the combination is a good one. Tim can obviously sing, his power is incredible, but honestly, the material he has to work with on this album isn't the best.

The Songs
If Ronnie James Dio is the lyricist king of the Dungeons and Dragons world, then Malmsteen must be his understudy. Mostly, the tempo is at the higher end of the accelerator, with kick drums on speed mostly. The track which do stand out are the slower ones, and the instrumentals. Let's start with those first. 'Live To Fight (Another Day)' and 'Magic City' are the slowest tracks here, but each of them is a contrast. The former features a heavier and deep set of riffs suiting the occasion, whereas 'Magic City' is an intense atmospheric burn which is soulful in presentation - which for me is one of Malmsteen's strengths. For me, it's one of the best tracks on the album. The instrumentals too are great. 'Caprici Di Diablo' is neo classical overkill, 'Lament' is (as per the title) a mournful tune. 'Heavy Heart' is melodic and a reminder to all that when 'on-song', Malmsteen can deliver. As for the others, they range from the melodic speed metal of 'Death Dealer', the Pretty Maids like 'Damnation Game', of which 'Red Devil' sounds like a repeat, the silly Manowar inspired 'Four Horsemen (Of The Apocalypse)' and the thumper 'Be Careful What You Wish For', which is Malmsteen at his heaviest.

In Summary
If you believe the hype, Malmsteen's current European tour is wowing audiences. He has been out of the loop for a few years so audiences are probably eager to see what he is up to. As mentioned, a reasonable album at best, but not one to grace my CD player in a hurry.

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