Though Mick Bolton's brilliant vocabulary and phrasing in the earliest days of UFO marked the band as one to watch, it was Michael Schenker, replacing him, hopping over from the Scorpions where he'd played with brother Rudolph, who put the band over the top and into the big time. Many are the fondly remembered LPs from that era, but Schenker has ever been a yeoman, never sitting still, and has gone from incarnation to incarnation, always in demand, forever an archetype for young bucks learning the craft. This latest CD is not, however, a capstone to his career even though it boasts a stellar array of heavies but is in reality another twist in the road and a rather impressive one, presenting the guitar god all over again with yet another level of musicianship.
Hanging On is one of the prime early-track indicators of this. Melodic and driving, it enjoys a lush atmosphere and classical sense, mindful of the prime cuts of Trapeze's later days. Elegant and tuneful, it stands in contrast to much of the punchy propulsive materials, setting them off artfully. Its follow-on, The End of an Era, comes off like a cutting-room floor re-discovery from Lights Out era UFO mixed with hints of Jeff Beck. All through the 14 cuts, you'll find Leslie West, Pete Way, Herman Rarebell, Simon Phillips, Carmine Appice, even Rudy Schenker, and quite a few of the more well-known R&R figures—even William Shatner in a Valhallic spoken intro!
Truth to tell, I never was very impressed with the MSG days nor the even less affective McAuley-Schenker output, but, in the last 10 years or so, Mike's gotten back to being a shredding maniac and songcrafter who's recaptured his facility with melody amid grit and backbone, not just sterile arena bids, redeeming whatever doubts any of us may have had. Temple, just as frankly, may well be his best sonic endeavor since that bygone UFO period, even surmounting a slew of captivating recent DVDs and CDs. The guy isn't fucking around any more, he came to cause tectonic shifts, and this last segment of his legacy, well under way, will re-establish his rightful place back in the pantheon.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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