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Michael Schenker still scintillates but the songs are overwrought

Rock bottom? Well, almost, as Michael Schenker goes a bit Eurovision on Universal

Michael Schenker Group: Universal cover art
(Image: © Atomic Fire Records)

The good news is that Herr Michael Schenker, now 67 years old, is still playing like a demented Deutsch demon. His scintillating guitar solos, on practically every track here, are frankly breathtaking in their dextrous fluidity. 

The bad news is that all too often the solos are rendered irrelevant due to an overbearing Eurovision heavy metal mentality, the main vocalist here – Ronnie ‘Rent-ADio’ Romero – dialling in an overwrought performance that is as efficient as it is soulless. 

There’s even a stodgy tribute to the aforementioned Ronnie James in A King Has Gone. (But, really, lyrics such as ‘He gave us rock, he made us roll’ are exasperatingly awful.) 

The high spots are Wrecking Ball and Yesterday Is Dead, where Michael channels his inner UFO to startling effect. No wonder he’s pictured on board a spaceship on the album cover.

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.