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Perpetual Etude – Now Is The Time Award winner

Perpetual Etude
Now Is The Time
by Paul LaPlaca at 27 November 2021, 7:26 AM

Man, those Swedes sure can put out some great metal. PERPETUAL ETUDE continues in a long tradition of guitar-centered excellence, most notably paying homage to neo-classical master, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. The lightly distorted strat tone is equally reminiscent of RITCHIE BLACKMORE (no surprise with DEEP PURPLE cited as a huge influence on YJM).  Band mastermind and guitarist MAGNUS MILD displays a high-level command of the instrument with groove-centric chordal vibrato and tasteful shredding that showcase a level of maturity and musicianship of someone at the peak of their abilities.

“Now Is The Time” is firmly entrenched in 80’s style hard rock/ metal with a primary focus on big vocal hooks and harmonies punctuated by acrobatic guitar and keyboard solos. Close comparisons can be made to JOE LYNNE TURNER era YNGWIE and RAINBOW. Unfortunately, it does nothing to build upon or elevate this style of metal and is subject to the same criticisms that the original purveyors of this era were subject to, most cringy in the lyrics that are better than the most average DOKKEN cheese, but still locked in a kind of pre-adolescent haze of romance and rocker lifestyle. If that is your cup of tea, here’s a whole potful.

“I’ve Got The Power” kicks off the album with an infectious, rollicking guitar part that is fast, super-clean, and driving. Solos are peppered throughout the arrangement with taste and restraint but the technique is superlative without being self-indulgent. Really amazing playing from both MILD and keyboardist, KASPAR DALQVIST. Drums and bass perfectly provide a foundation for the songwriting and lead playing and KRYSTIAN FYRH’S vocals are full of passion and power. “Show Me” is a direct nod to “Heaven Tonight”, from YNGWIE, opening with a big acapella vocal followed by a scorching guitar intro.

“Straight Through The Heart” is saturated with 80’s style keyboards, crystal clear bell-tones, and analog strings that perfectly support the heartbroken lyrics. Sadly, the rest of the album does not diverge from this well-worn template and the rest of the songs blend together without much differentiation. That’s not to say this is not remarkably GOOD, it’s just very narrow in scope. And while the YNGWIE comparisons may be obvious, the longest song on the album is 4:46 and there isn’t a wasted note on the album. You can’t say that about MALMSTEEN with a straight face. This album perfectly captures the video of 80’s style hard rock and metal with an elevated production approach to the songwriting and mixing making an older style sound very modern. If you never liked this kind of music, this will not change your mind, but if you DID, you will LOVE this.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. I’ve Got The Power
2. Show Me
3. Straight Through The Heart
4. Once We Were One
5. Hell Fire Burn
6. Now Is The Time
7. Sail Away
8. Our Love
Magnus Mild – Guitar
Kristian Fyhr – Song
Kaspar Dahlqvist – Keyboards
Vidar Mårtensson – Drums
Mikael Planefeldt – Bass
Record Label: Black Lodge Records


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