Cacophony guitarist Jason Becker's all-instrumental solo album is a winner. On Perpetual Burn, Becker gets to stretch out and really show his talents, whereas in Cacophony, with fellow virtuoso Marty Friedman sharing the spotlight, some of the subtleties of Becker's style are lost amid the cluttered speed metal maelstrom. Floating in on a bed of ethereal keyboards, Becker's guitar opens the album with a lyrical solo on the stately "Altitudes." His compositional skills allow the piece to build naturally and make it a coherent, satisfying statement rather than a jarring collection of unrelated ideas. The album's best moment, "Air," features some traditional classical fingerpicking that gives way to multi-tracked arpeggio orchestrations and Bach-style counterpoint. The piece, which consists almost solely of clean, unprocessed electric guitar and no further accompaniment (with the exception of some keyboard textures in the beginning and end), is a wonderful respite from the rest of the album's more metallic style and supersaturated guitar tones. There are also some quirky, humorous touches sprinkled liberally around Perpetual Burn, which add to its charm.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Hinds