Michael Schenker Group
Nuclear Blast Records
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
FFO: Michael Schenker Fest, Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, Scorpions, Saxon, Armored Saint
There are some legendary heavy metal artists that have found their second wind in the last decade and Michael Schenker is one of them. The mad axeman has had a few projects from Temple of Rock and Michael Schenker Fest that have received blinding reviews and endless plaudits. With this success in mind, Schenker has taken his boldest move yet and that is to resurrect the Michael Schenker Group (MSG) albeit with a few modern tweaks. This year see’s MSG kick off with their brand-new album ‘Immortal’.
‘Immortal’ might be the biggest statement ever for an MSG record as reaching 65 for Schenker was almost unthinkable 20 years ago. Schenker may now be eligible for his bus pass, but he and his band are as bloodthirsty and hungry as ever. This is an album which not only oozes with experience, but it but roars with the vigour of musicians half their age as Schenker swaggers heavy metal with hard rock sensibilities with appearances from Ralf Scheepers, Ronnie Romero and Joe Lynn Turner battering down the door with flawless performances, particularly as Scheepers delivers a maelstrom of a performance during ‘Drilled to Kill’. However, those of us in the rock and metal world knew that these are more than capable of this and the most interesting voice from ‘Immortal’ is Michael Voss who once again makes solid appearance with some of ‘Immortal’s most memorable tracks such as ‘After the Rain’ and ‘The Queen of Thorns and Roses’. Furthermore, anyone doubting Schenker’s technical ability will get a guitar masterclass from a guitarist who should be as revered alongside Blackmore and Malmsteen and if that isn’t enough, keyboard wizard Derek Sherinian also adds a virtuoso touch.
Truth be told, ‘Immortal’ is very much a grower of an album and it can take more than a couple of listens to get it to click, but once it does, you will find yourself agreeing that MSG have released one of the best hard rock/heavy metal albums of the year so far.