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Eternal Flame: Smoke On The Mountain
Michael Schinkel's Eternal Flame - Smoke On The Mountain Music Review

Eternal Flame: Smoke On The Mountain

Melodic/Heavy/Power Metal
4.0/5.0

I'm not surprised that I've never heard of vocalist, guitarist, composer, and producer Michael Schinkel or his band, Eternal Flame. Mostly known in Germany and the larger European continent, the band has not released an album since 2002's King Of The King. Encouraged by fans, Schinkel began working on a new album in 2012. The result is Smoke On The Mountain, which features on vocals, besides Schinkel himself, Mark Boals (ex Yngwie Malmsteen and Ring of Fire) and Goran Edman (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen and John Norum).

Eternal Flame Band Photo

Eternal Flame: Michael Schinkel at right

Essentially, Schinkel's style is melodic heavy metal, wrapped in some proper rock groove, with a focus on his voice and skillful neo-classical guitar work. As a vocalist, Schinkel is a solid singer, with a timbre that blends both melodic hard rock and heavy metal voices. Sometimes he can sound passionate and soulful as within the fine ballad, You Can Save Me, one of the best songs here. As a guitarist, Schinkel works from the Yngwie Malmsteen neo-classical textbook, ripping off soaring solos throughout. His guitar style may be the reason he choose both Boals and Edman as guest vocalists, as they both sang for Malmsteen.

For some song highlights, first, the title cut is not a cover of the Deep Purple classic. Rather, it's full tilt charging power metal with Mark Boals on vocals. Boals returns on I Believe In This Miracle, something of melodic metal anthem with quick pacing, good groove, and catchy refrain. Goran Edman appears on Got A Rock & Roll Fever, essentially a heavy metal rocker with a big beat and sharp riffs. Later, Edman is heard on Tease My Love, simply more melodic metal. For my money the best metal rocker here is Whatcha Gonna Do, thanks to the catchy riffs, rock groove, memorable refrain, and Schinkel's fine vocal performance. For something a bit lighter in parts look to Dreaming, yet bristling with Schinkel's fret board magic. More guitar magic closes the album with the instrumental Close To The End. In the end, Smoke On The Mountain marks a fine return to form for Michael Schinkel and Eternal Flame. If you are fan of the band, or simply love neo-classical melodic heavy metal, you should get this album. Recommended.



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The Bottom Line

Smoke On The Mountain marks a fine return to form for Michael Schinkel and Eternal Flame. If you are fan of either, or simply love neo-classical melodic heavy metal, you should get this album. Recommended.

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