It’s that time of the week when we dust off an old classic from our fave late 80s/early 90s era and match it up to the latest release from a red hot artist. And today we go all widdly diddly in search of air guitar heaven…

Now 2008: Perpetual Flame (Rising Force Records) is the return of axe maestro Yngwie Malmsteen and his ever-changing Rising Force roster.

These days Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is the man behind the mic and he’s actually pretty impressive as he fights for a profile in amongst crazy classical licks and self-centered solos. More of a metal singer than some of the melodic Rising Force crooners from the past, the former Judas Priest man successfully manages to stamp his mark on a rather good record.

It’s fair to say the boy Malmsteen has been in steady decline since his career-defining Odyssey record but in Live To Fight (Another Day) and Priest Of The Unholy there is enough evidence to suggest the fret-burning Swede is back.

If those of you who saw Yngwie on his recent UK tour remain unconvinced then check out Perpetual Flame and it’s possible you’ll fall back in love with everybody’s favourite showman.

So the Rising Force are never going to recreate the Joe Lynn Turner glory days but that was a feisty relationship never meant to last. But if Owens can stay the course longer than his predecessors then this could be the start of a new golden era for malmsteen fans everywhere.

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Force Rises Again

…And Then 1988: Odyssey (Polydor) is the best thing Yngwie ever produced. And he’s spent the last 20 years running away from the fact that he should never have parted company with the singer who complemented his talents better than most.

In former Deep Purple vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, the multi-talented Malmsteen unearthed a singer whose deep melodic tones proved a perfect match for some serious fret-burning action. Heaven Tonight was one of the hair metal anthems of 1988 but there was pure class stamped right across this definitive record.

Dreaming (Tell Me), Deja Vu and Crystal Ball are all outstanding compositions, mixing Turner’s addictive tones with some incredibly technical musicianship. This was a marriage made in rock heaven and Malmsteen was far too quick to walk away when his cohort became disillusioned.

The mind boggles at what this dynamic duo could have produced had they patched things up. As things stand this truly outstanding album remains a monument to a hair metal dream team cruelly ripped apart by creative differences.

rushonrock rated: 10/10 Just Malmazing