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Yngwie Malmsteen

Perpetual Flame

Review by Gary Hill

Here’s the latest disc from Yngwie Malmsteen and it’s quite a good one. Malmsteen is joined on this by Tim “Ripper” Owens on vocals – seems like he’s everywhere these days. Also bringing their talents to the table are Dean Markley (drums and other percussion), Derek Sherinian (keyboards) and Patrick Johannson (also on drums).

I never used to like Malmsteen. To me his music felt overly technical and didn’t seem to have any heart. Well, this album is quite different. There are a couple places where I get that vibe, but overall it’s a great disc. I don’t know if my tastes have changed or his music has (or perhaps both) but I like this a lot. Mind you, I never questioned the guy’s talent. I don’t know how anyone could. Looking back on it, too, Malmsteen might be (more than anyone else) the real start of the European technical epic metal sub-genre. There aren’t a lot of guys who create a whole genre of music, but it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that Malmsteen is one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Death Dealer
This opens with a super-technical epic metal sound. A Rob Halford-like scream comes across and this feels like something from their Nostradamus disc. When it kicks into the song proper, though, it reminds me of Manowar with the technical aspect bumped up to 11. This is a real screamer. There aren’t any real surprises here. Instead we get scorching furious metal that’s firmly rooted in and shows off a lot of neo-classical stylings.
Damnation Game
This isn’t drastically different than the opener, but it’s still a killer track. Perhaps the vocal arrangement is more in keeping with the European epic metal sound that is such a root of the musical textures of this disc. Malmsteen puts in a killer classically tinged solo, but I suppose I could say that about just about every song here. 
Live To Fight (Another Day)
Starting off with a dramatic and powerful mellower musical motif they take this out into a real scorching epic metal jam. This is one of the most potent pieces on the disc. As strong as the two cuts that preceded it were, this one blows them away. There’s a killer chugging section that plays backdrop for the guitar solo and they drop it back towards mellower drama later, too. 
Red Devil
There are some epic metal bits here, but this is really a more straightforward metal jam. It’s energized and screaming. It’s a nice change of pace from the more technical stuff and is one of the highlights of the set.  I’m guessing this is about Malmsteen’s Ferrari shown on the mini-poster that’s included.
Four Horsemen (Of The Apocalypse)
Back into more of the technical, epic styled metal, this is another fiery and fierce jam. 
Priest Of The Unholy
They don’t really break any molds here. It’s just another scorching epic metal jam. 
Be Careful What You Wish For
Another scorcher, this is less epic metal and just pure shred than some of the other stuff. For my money this has one of the most amazing guitar solos on the whole disc. 
Caprici Di Diablo
This instrumental (read multi-layer guitar solo with accompaniment) is good, but frankly it runs a little long for my tastes and seems a bit self-indulgent. This is the kind of thing that I’ve always associated with Malmsteen and had turned me off from him. 
Another instrumental, first time through I thought this was just part of the track before it. Again it’s a little too much and we really could have used something different between them to break it up. It suffers from the same problems the last track did. 
Magic City
Here they create a motif that’s a bit less over the top and more melodic. It’s less pure metal than some of the other music here. While I don’t think I’d consider it one of my favorite cuts, it’s quite good and the bit of variety it lends is much needed. 
Leventh Hour
More classically tinged sounds make up this one. It’s got a bit of a middle-Eastern feeling to it – and I’m always a sucker for that kind of thing. It’s another highlight of the disc. They take this out later into some of the most progressive rock oriented music on the disc with a very potent classical music oriented jam. 
Heavy Heart
Here’s another instrumental. This one feels like more of a “band” song, though and it’s a lot more effective than the rest. I like this one a lot and it’s a great choice to close the disc.
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