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Michael Schenker Fest - 'Resurrection' Album Review


1. Heart And Soul

2. Warrior

3. Take Me To The Church

4. Night Moods

5. The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes

6. Everest

7. Messin’ Around

8. Time Knows When It´s Time

9. Anchors Away

10. Salvation

11. Livin‘ A Life Worth Livin‘

12. The Last Supper

Our friends at Nuclear Blast provided us with a Rock guitar legend's latest release. Michael Schenker guitarist for, UFO and The Scorpions in the 80's, and of The Michael Schenker Group since, has released 'Resurrection', with no less than 4 different vocalists. When I looked at the cover I did wonder if this would be new and fresh or a trip down memory lane. The cover has Michael Schenker at the centre. At his left is Robin McAuley with bassist Chris Glen and guitarist Steve Mann. On his right are the other three vocalists Doogie White, Graham Bonnet and Gary Barden, along with drummer Ted McKenna, with a scorpion at his feet. I guess that this was a clue that this album would be more familiar than I had hoped. That coupled with the 'Blonde Bomber's' trademark flying V guitar.

'Resurrection' opens with 'Heart And Soul' with Robin McAuley on vocals and Kirk Hammett from Metallica on guest guitar. It is a good opener with a pounding riff and plenty of top hat and snare. Cue the first example of fretboard frotage, which the album predictably is full of. But you have to expect more than a fair share of guitar solos on a Schenker album. The other song that McAuley provides vocals on is 'Time Knows When It's Time', which again starts with a pounding riff. Robin McAuley has a great Rock voice, but this track has a lot more melody, and a catchier chorus than the opener. There is some nifty fretwork on this track.

Doogie White provides vocals on three tracks. The first is 'Take Me To The Church'. This starts with a gothic church organ. The guitars and backing arrangement work better with his vocal, and Doogie seems to have the best voice, effortlessly delivering his lines, with a catchy hook. 'The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes' is a harder number, with a story to it. Doogie's vocal is clear and strong. Again the chorus has a catchy hook. There is a particularly good guitar solo on this track. The third track is 'Anchors Away', which again starts with a great riff. A gentler vocal delivery starts this number. I think that these 3 tracks are the highlights of the album as a collective. Doogie White delivers excellent vocals coupled with catchy choruses. I feel that he is the best storyteller of the four.

Graham Bonnet's first track is 'Night Moods', which starts with a Rainbowesque riff. The vocal at the start sounds a little forced. Throughout the track, you feel that Bonnet is not entirely comfortable, which is the polar opposite to the effortless vocals that White delivers. The track has a classic Blues riff cascading through, which compensates. On Graham's second track, Everest, he seems a lot more comfortable. The range seems to suit him better, with a driving baseline, fret slide and a more catchy chorus, this is a far better demonstration of his talents.

Gary Barden first appears as a solo vocalist on 'Messin' Around', which has Blues vibe to it, but the vocals are almost spoken, and has a pretty annoying hook of 'tick, tock, tick'. The guitar solo saves the track. His second track, 'Livin A Life Worth Livin'', has a catchier hook, but it is clear that out of the four vocalist, his is the least strong. Both these songs seem lost on the album. Again Michael Schenkers solo is the highlight of this track, but even that seems more lacklustre than the solos on other numbers.

There are two tracks featuring all four vocalists. The first is 'Warrior'. Whilst the idea seems a good one, I am not sure that with the contrasting styles that it works. The musical arrangement is good especially Chris Glen on bass and Ted McKenna on drums and obviously the 'Blonde Bomber' on the Flying V. 'The Last Supper', the last track on the album also features all four vocalists. This has a catchier hook, but the lyrics leave a lot to be desired and the song seems to meander, and 'Supper' is delivered with four syllables!

There is one instrumental on the album. 'Salvation' starts with some gentle angelic chanting and then proceeds to a high tempo guitar riff. This gives Michael Schenker and the band a chance to show off. At one stage the flying V seems to provide a vocal, such is the skill of the world renowned guitarist. This will have air guitarists of the world dripping in sweat by the end.

I think this album will split opinion. Some will see it as classic Michael Schenker, especially with the inclusion of the three MSG vocalist and Doogie White from Temple of Rock. I felt it was like the Curate's Egg. Doogie White provided the highlights, but as an album it did not hang together. The tracks could be played in any order, without affecting the feel of the album. I knew that the scorpion on the front cover was hinting at something, and for me, that was cliché.

Review - Tony Creek

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