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When I first tried to write a review for this album I was so excited I did a really poor job out of it. That's how good I think Perpetual Flame is. I even dare to say it is one of the best metal releases of 2008.
I was never a big fan of Yngwie's to be honest. I was initially interested in his early works when I was a teenager and listened to his work with Steeler and his first two albums. After that it got a little too predictable and repetitive to me, as album after album presented just about more of the same: amazing guitar playing and not very amazing songs.
Time went by and a few years ago I decided to give him another chance, but realized what the problem was, at least for me: the vocals and the lack of aggression in his songs altogether. It led me to believe Yngwie would never manage to capture the same feeling from his early works, one which influenced so many bands that came afterwards.
Well, guess what? He did it. Tim Owens was the man for the job, and he puts on a show song after song, displaying incredible range, power and aggression as he sings of battles and the devil and everything else that makes true metal so irresistible.
Death Dealer opens it up with hellish screams and an amazing intro, the first of three songs ( followed by Damnation Game and Live to Fight) that simply kick you in the face and put a smile on your lips, as they showcase such a well balanced mix of a power and traditional heavy metal feel.
Red Devil has a more hard rock oriented feel, and it's almost funny to listen to Owens trying to make his vocal style fit that genre, but it works somehow, before bringing pure unadulterated metal back in the next three songs. I don't know if I should say this, but listening to this album made me think that this is what Judas Priest should have released this year, and not that dreadful Nostradamus!
Yngwie's guitar playing is extremely tasteful and well dosed in all the songs that have vocals, something that was considered a flaw is his previous works. To make sure everybody's happy though, the man added some instrumentals where he just blows us all away as usual. The drums and bass are also above standard in terms of Malmsteens albums, with nice double bass passages and an always present bass keeping things tight and heavy.
With so many disappointments and weak releases this year, I was more than surprised by this album, and would go as far as recommending it even to those who usually frown at this type of music.