Neo Classical master shredder Yngwie J Malmsteen is back with his latest release titled Perpetual Flame. Over the years Yngwie has enlisted some of the best musicians to perform on his albums, yet the Jeff Scott Soto & Jens Johansson era remains my favorite. Well this time the role of vocalist has been handed to former Judas Priest and Iced Earth member Tim "Ripper" Owens. Patrick Johansson provides the punch with his drumming and Planet X Keyboard wizard Derek Sherinian returns. As expected Yngwie dominates, Perpetual Flame being typical Malmsteen, combining the slower moments with multiple fast tracks full of ripping solos and swift double kick drumming.
Ripper adds something different to previous albums with his powerful style of vocals; as usual he gives an admirable performance. Though he's not quite as upfront and dominating as say his work with Iced Earth, his vocals are utilized to great effect on tracks like the heavy and rapid opener "Death Dealer", one of the best on here. The slower "Eleventh Hour" is another that stands out with Ripper delivering again.Yngwie also handles bass throughout the album and performs vocals on "Magic City". Fans of Yngwie's instrumental efforts will be pleased to see that Perpetual Flame delivers with three tracks "Lament", "Caprici Di Diablo" and "Heavy Heart".
Perpetual Flame is another solid and enjoyable release from Yngwie J Malmsteen's Rising Force, but you almost have to ask, is there a place still for Neo Classical metal? I suppose album sales will be the telling factor, and I have to say I don't find it quite as enthralling as I used to. However when bands like Symphony X put their spin on it that's a different story.
1. Death Dealer
2. Damnation Game
3. Live to Fight (Another Day)
4. Red Devil
5. Four Horsemen (of the Apocalypse)
6. Priest of the Unholy
7. Be Careful What You Wish For
8. Caprici Di Diablo
10. Magic City
11. Eleventh Hour
12. Heavy Heart