Reviewed: February, 2021
Released: January 29, 2021 Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Legendary guitarist Michael Schenker is celebrating his 5oth year in music. That is quite an accomplishment. The other famous Schenker, his brother Rudolf, formed Scorpions in 1964 and Michael joined in 1969. Michael was 16 years old when the Scorpions debut was released. While on tour for the debut he was offered the job to play for UK giants UFO…a band he would rejoin and leave three more times. By the time of his entry into UFO, Schenker had began to develop his own sound and style, due in part to his signature Gibson Flying V. He would go on to rejoin Scorpions for their LOVEDRIVE album but only stayed briefly. So he decided to do things his way and go solo. The Michael Schenker Group was formed in 1979.
Funny thing about the debut album, the logo right next to the name of the band solidified the band’s name….forever to be known as MSG. Currently Michael keeps himself busy with several projects but has recorded a brand new MSG album, affectionately titled IMMORTAL. What we have is a really nice slab of classic hard rock and metal like only Schenker can deliver. He recruited the vocal talents of Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Tyran Pace) as well as Ronnie Romero (Rainbow), Joe Lynn Turner, and Michael Voss as well as some very special guests that will be mentioned later. As I said before, this is a killer album that is pure Schekner. The opener is could be one of the heaviest and fastest songs that he released. “Drilled to Kill” was also one of the album teasers and sees Schenker flirting with power metal with the help of Mr. Scheepers. Fast and driving, by the time you get to the solo battles between Schenker and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion) you realize that this album means business.
What really surprises me here is how these songs sound so fresh and inspired. Schenker fell on some hard times in the early 2000s but has obviously recovered because this album could be one of the strongest MSG albums of his career. Songs like “Knight of the Dead” and “Devil’s Daughter” are fast driving songs then there is “Sail The Darkness,” which is a galloping rocker that has an almost Whitesnake feel. “Dont Die on Me Now” has the unmistakable vocals of Joe Lynn Turner. But the real treat comes at the very last song on the album. Michael wrote “In Search of the Peace of Mind” when he was just 15 years old and it appeared on the Scorpions debut. On IMMORTAL, we have a completely re-recorded version of the first song Michael ever wrote. With special guests all over this song. Gary Barden sings the first verse, continued by Ronnie Romero and in the end, Doogie White and Robin McCauley join in the fun. This has always been an amazing song to show Schenkers axe slinging skills and this re-recording is no different. The guitar work on this song is absolutely amazing and an epic way to end the album.
Fifty years in the music business, with all it’s ups and downs, is an amazing accomplishment….especially for a musician who did not always have the luxury of having his music played on the radio. Michael Schenker is truly a legend and one of my favorite guitarists to this day. His signature sound could be pointed out immediately by his fans. Here is another case of an album title not being just a clever name. Michael Schenker is Immortal!
Michael Schenker: Guitar, Vocals
Ronnie Romero: Vocals
Ralf Scheepers: Vocals
Joe Lynn Turner: Vocals
Michael Voss: Vocals
Barry Sparks: Bass
Steve Man: Guitar, Keyboards
Bodo Schopf: Drums
Simon Phillips: Drums
Brian Tichy: Drums
01. Drilled To Kill
02. Don´t Die On Me Now
03. Knight Of The Dead
04. After The Rain
05. Devil’s Daughter
06. Sail The Darkness
07. The Queen Of Thorns And Roses
08. Come On Over
09. Sangria Morte
10. In Search Of The Peace Of Mind