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Review: Eternal Flame - Smoke on the Mountain
Eternal Flame
Smoke on the Mountain

Label: Rock of Angels Records
Year released: 2018
Duration: 51:42
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: October 3, 2018
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.17/5 (63.33%) (6 Votes)

I was a sucker for neo-classical guitar albums back in the 80s so when Smoke on the Mountain from Michael Schinkel's Eternal Flame came across my review queue I thought I'd check it out, as it gave the appearance of being in that mold. I should have been scared off by the intro ("Ignition") which features a voice-over, in what sounds like Schinkel's own voice, recapping how long it's been since the last Eternal Flame album (2002's King of the Mountain). This struck me as pretentious but what's a neo-classical guitar album without a little pretension, right? Onward, I pressed.

Schinkel handles both the vocals and the guitar (a la Pete Ahonen on the early Burning Point albums) and out of the gate, Smoke on the Mountain delivers some nice, crunchy riffing and intricate solos. Schinkel's voice isn't anything spectacular, but he sings well enough and I felt I was in for Mark Boals/Rising Force experience. Unfortunately, after the first few proper songs, Schinkel starts to deliver some sappy ballads ("You Can Save Me") and 80s pop-metal anthems ("Whatcha Gonna Do") and suddenly I was listening to Y&T or Night Ranger. The music is well played to be sure, but the deception is completed by "Tease My Love" which isn't as blatant as Poison but there's certainly room for interpretation regarding the lyrics.

I can't fault Eternal Flame for the playing or the sound of Smoke on the Mountain as both are good and there are a few solid cuts if albums like Trilogy from Malmsteen's Rising Force are still in your regular rotation. Otherwise, this is a rehash of the commercial stuff we got toward the end of the 80s so, unless you need more of that, you can probably pass.

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