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Michael Schinkel's Eternal Flame - Smoke on the Mountain

Michael Schinkel's Eternal Flame
Smoke on the Mountain
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 18 June 2018, 7:10 AM

In the beginning, shredders roamed the Earth waging battle with the mediocrity that was infecting the music of the age. Their chosen weapon was the Stratoaxe enchanted with the power of the Marshall. From this was born Neoclassical Metal and on the path to the promised land of Scalloped Frets and Metal Picks embarked Michael Schinkel's Eternal Flame. The opening overture "Ignition" is heavy on the keyboards and although it does progress nicely it actually feels like it's their way of dealing with the loss of liner notes in the digital age. With "Smoke on the Mountain" I instantly had a flashback to the 80's when my buddy called me over and played me Malmsteen's Rising Force album. Lo and behold, guest vocalist Mark Boals was singing (and appears later on "I Believe in this Miracle"). My sense of nostalgia continued when "You Can Save Me" came on and my hand automatically reached for my lighter and assumed power ballad position. I'm not a fan of them, and this one didn't convince me otherwise.

I continued on actually enjoying it, with radio friendly songs like "Queen of the Hill" and "Got a Rock & Roll Fever" (with guest vocalist Göran Edman on the latter) and found myself bobbing my head, but still I was reminded of the era of Hair Bands. The last song "Close to the End" was a nice desert, especially with the use of the fretless bass, a personal favorite of mine. My final thoughts are that it is a fine example of neoclassical metal, with very talented musicans performing enjoyable music, but I can't help but feel I've heard it before. Too much reverb and the almost mandatory Choir setting on the keyboards is what lowered my production score for it. If you're new to the neoclassical genre of metal, Michael Schinkel's Eternal Flame's Smoke on the Mountain is an excellent introduction. If you're a grizzled old metalhead like me, you probably have many examples of this in your collection.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Ignition
2. Smoke on the Mountain (Mark Boals on Vocals)
3. This Is My Life
4. Queen of the Hill
5. You Can Save Me
6. Whatcha Gonna Do
7. I Believe in this Miracle (Mark Boals on Vocals)
8. Got a Rock & Roll Fever (Goran Edman on Vocals)
9. Out in the Dark
10. Dreaming
11. Take Me There for a Night
12. Tease My Love (Goran Edman on Vocals)
13. Close to the End
Lineup:
Michael Schinkel – Vocals & Guitars
Helmut Kohlpaintner – Keyboards
Thomas Keller – Bass & Backing Vocals
Michael Hencky – Drums

Guests:
Mark Boals – Vocals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Ring of Fire)
Göran Edman – Vocals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum)
Ossy Pfeiffer – Keyboards (Ignore The Sign)
Christian Tatsek – Keyboards
Ritchie Kelly – Guitar Solo
Andy Dick – Drums (Bobby Kimball, Glenn Hughes, Ron Young)
Robert Lipp – Bass
Gerhard Blum – Bass
Makeus Grünzer – Bass 
Record Label: ROAR! Rock of Angels
     


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