Michael Schenker Fest – “Resurrection” (Nuclear Blast Records)
With the incredible success that Michael Schenker Fest has had on the live front, it was only a matter of time – and a fans dream come true – for the legendary virtuoso guitarist to take this stellar cast into the studio for an album! Made up of former members of MSG, including Chris Glenn and Ted McKenna plus Steve Mann, the real plus is the presence of former vocalists Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley and Doogie White. And if that wasn’t enough then long time Schenker fan Kirk Hammett even makes a guest appearance – wow! Along with faithful lieutenant Michael Voss-Schoen who co wrote much of the material and also provided backing vocals, “Resurrection” is aptly titled given it is Schenker’s first new album in many a year. Equally, I’m sure for the man himself, also a make or break for whether he still had it in him for yet another new chapter in his career. Well, both Schenker and his fans needn’t worry, this is an awesome release and the classic rock brilliance inherent in the 12 tracks songs here has clearly garnered the interest of Nuclear Blast – in what’s probably their first classic rock release too! Rooted in the 70s hard rock of UFO and Scorpions, while made slicker during the MSG years of the 80s, the material in “Resurrection” unmistakably draws from that time, yet commendably has been given modernity to make it accessible to both old fans and newer generations wondering who this 63 year old ‘blonde bomber’ is ha ha! However, with the all star cast more than familiar with his style and moves, Schenker displays a masterful job across the board here. Still with his trademark guitar sound, songs like ‘Take Me To The Church’ have that hard rock groove and massive melodies to hook you in immediately – and that’s before the guitar solo straight out’ve UFO with its classical hints – hits you like a precision missile! Then there’s ‘The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes’ which is slower but heavier with its chunky power riffs and melodic keys adding to the majesty of yet another catchy chorus while ‘Salvation’ is the all out instrumental successor to ‘Lost Horizons’ with its contrasting galloping beat and virtuoso fret board brilliance. Favourite track for me was ‘Anchors Away’ with its snappy grooves and luring harmonies with yet another powering chorus contrasted by outstanding acoustic and electric guitar work only the way that a man like Michael Schenker can deliver. An utterly awesome release on a truly almighty “Resurrection”!!!!