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To tell you, the reader, the honest truth, I didn't have high expectations for this album. That it exceeded my expectations isn't necessarily a compliment, though it is indeed a good album, as my 83 would suggest. Nevertheless, judging by Yngwie's recent history, there was a good chance Perpetual Flame would reek just the same as Unleash the Fury and Attack! did before it.
Yngwie proved me wrong. He proved us all wrong. Present in Perpetual Flame is a rejuvination not heard for at least a decade, and a lot of new musical ideas complemented by a new keyboardist, and more importantly, a new singer. Yes, Tim "Ripper" Owens, of Judas Priest and Iced Earth fame, brings new life to the Rising Force. His exquisite combination of range, power, and melodiousness is exactly what the doctor ordered for the general malaise that had been plaguing Yngwie for quite some time. Because Owens' voice can handle more challenging melodies, Yngwie had a wider range of musical options, and it shows. Mind you, the Ripper can easily handle more aggressive climes, and he still comes off sounding badass as ever.
However, there is much more rebirth in the world of Malmsteen. Both the production and the performances are cleaner, faster, and, well, better than previous efforts. As well, the songwriting (aided by the new keyboardist) is much more original than anything we've seen out of him since The Seventh Sign, and as a plus, we have a greater quantity of fast songs here. Of course, keep in mind that Yngwie is an "old dog", and you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Don't think for a second that this is anywhere near his best effort, because this isn't, nor is it a return to the glory days. However, it is a surprising comeback, and it isn't guilty of the "every song sounds the same" that everything he made since Facing the Animal had been guilty of. I'd recommend you add this to your collection, it's one of his better albums.