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Perpetual Etude: “Now is the Time” (Black Lodge) (CD/LP)

Swedish band Perpetual Etude boasts former bands like Dionysus, Treasure Land, Air Raid, Nation, Stormwind, etc. Musically Perpetual Etude is not that far from them (except maybe Air Raid). Opening track “I’ve Got The Power” immediately kicks off with a Strat that sounds like Yngwie Malmsteen, but keeping in mind what Mr. Malmsteen has released in the last couple of years, this sounds way more interesting. They are touching on neo-classic metal, but with a big dose of classic melodic metal/hard rock, and I’d place them alongside Alcatrazz. 

Singer, Kristian Fyhr, is a gem with really powerful vocal cords, high pitch but with a nice raspy edge. I like it!” Show Me” reminds me of Graham Bonnet era Rainbow a bit, but with a bit more power under the hood. A strong touch of AOR, but without sounding sleazy. “Straight Through The Heart” starts with some lovely guitar harmonies from the excellent shredder Magnus Mild, and if Yngwie didn’t have a big dose of hybris, he would kill for a song like this. Magnus is also found in megaproject Gathering Of Kings, but I do prefer Perpetual Etude if I’m honest. Not putting GoK down, but they sometimes feel a bit scattered and unfocused while this album has a common thread and high quality all the way, both musically and performance-wise. “Once We Were One” again throws in some Yngwie-sounding Strat licks, and it also flirts with the man musically. It does remind me quite a bit of Europe’s old “Scream Of Anger” (which was written by Marcel Jacob, hence the unmistakable Yngwie touch). 

Yes, there are similarities, but it does stand on its legs. This band’s Jens Johansson is Kaspar Dahlqvist, who has previously played with prog-metal band Treasure Land. He sure shows his skills on this album, and there are several nice keyboard-guitar interplays, such as in the neo-classical “Hell Fire Burn.” As if this wasn’t enough, we also find a guest appearance by former Yngwie (and many more) singers, Göran Edman, in the song “Sail Away”. All in all, if you’re into classic hard rock, melodic metal with strong melodies, shredding guitar/keyboard work, solid production, and some neo-classical vibes, don’t hesitate!

Checkout “Now is the Time” on Bandcamp and Perpetual Etude on Facebook