• 8.5/10
    YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE - Perpetual Flame - 8.5/10


Rising Force Records
Release date: October 13, 2008

User Review
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Everyone’s favorite Swedish Neo-Classical guitar virtuoso (there’s more than one?), Yngwie J. Malmsteen, is back with a new look, a new singer, a new label and a new album to boot!

It’s been three years or so since Yngwie released the somewhat spotty Unleash the Fury album. Since then Yngwie has managed to put together his own record label, Rising Force Records, under the guidance of his wife and manager, April as well as employ a new singer, ex-Judas Priest/Iced Earth front man, Tim “Ripper” Owens (as if you hadn’t heard!). Additionally, if the snapshot on the CD’s cover, as well as pictures within it, is any indication then Yngwie has also managed to “shred” some pounds off as his look hearkens back to his heyday!

The album is entitled Perpetual Flame and it symbolizes that Yngwie has never gone away, his style is his own and he’s here to stay! Even though Yngwie refers to this release as an offering by “Rising Force”… one look up and down the credits shows he’s burdened the majority of the work. To ensure a better chance at success he’s employed the vocals chords of Ripper Owens, the keyboards of the legendary Rising Force alumni Derek Sherinian, as well as bringing on the legendary Roy Z to help with the mixing.

All well and good, but how’s the music you ask? Let’s say Malmsteen fans won’t be disappointed. Its twelve tracks of nearly 70 minutes of clichéd “Castle Rock” that only Malmsteen can do with elegance and which has become his trademark in musical history.

The album opens with “Death Dealer” which begins with a fade in of a classical guitar line which quickly gets pummeled on by a tandem drum and bass line only to be broken by a modest scream by Owens. It’s a driving, high speed track that leaves its mark rather quickly. Malmsteen antagonists might say it’s more of the same but so what… it Rocks and rocks hard especially when Malmsteen rips into one of his trademark solos with a flurry of drums accompanying him. Owens’ performance here and throughout is perhaps a little laid back and safe at times but he seems to add sustenance to the overall energy and seems to come off as quite a convincing frontal attack alongside Yngwie.

“Damnation Game” is another high throttled, albeit a little more melodic Rocker which sees Owens stretching his choral muscles a bit more here. The winning moment here though is the fourth refrain of Yngwie’s solo where he’s accompanied by high throttled bass drums… the combo never seems to get tiring… he’s back and on fire! “Red Devil” is a bit more commercial but is delivered with enough panache to become an easy favorite; it even has a commendable chorus and some well written lyrics.

There are a few Yngwie instrumentals with “Caprici Di Diablo” being an easy live favorite as it showcases Yngwie’s top-notch and pinpoint accurate shredding to its fullest. “Heavy Heart” is one of those slow, ballad types that gains fret speed towards the end but from end-to-end might come off as a little lackluster.

Yngwie also puts out a lead vocal performance on the slower, plodding track entitled “Magic City”. Not surprisingly, he comes across on vocals as a mix between Hendrix and Uli John Roth, not bad but he can’t carry a tune as well as Ripper Owens.

A commendable nod should be given to Patrick Johansson on drums as he comes off holding his own alongside Yngwie’s fret attack. Derek Sherinian, while one of the best in the business, is nothing more than an accompanist here and won’t particularly thrill die-hard Sherinian solo fans… it is Malmsteen’s gig anyways! Thankfully, Owens is touring with Yngwie with Michael Troy supplying the keyboards, and Bjorn Englen laying down the bass. Also noteworthy is the production and mix, quite palatable as has not always been the case throughout Yngwie’s career.

Bottom line, there’s not a lot of surprises here, but for die-hard Yngwie fans there’s a lot here to rejoice about. Call him consistent, plain stubborn or just devoted to his cause but Perpetual Flame is an apple that doesn’t not fall far from the tree. It does hold some magical shred guitar moments and represents one of the best modern day Malmsteen releases! Definitely recommended!


Yngwie Malmsteen – Producer, Composer, Arranger, Lyrics, Melodies, Guitars
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
Patrick Johansson – Drums
Roy Z – Mix Assistance


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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