MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP


"Tales of Rock'n'Roll - Twenty Five Years Celebration" (Armageddon; 2006)

Reviewed by Edwin Van Hoof

The story of one of rock's troubled heroes is well known. The book of the extravagant Michael Schenker is known back to front by most rockers, his long struggle with alcohol, his legal battle with his ex-wife, and the many incidents with UFO. A past which has haunted the master -- a story with no end, so it seems...

Or does it?

"Tales of Rock'n'Roll – Twenty Five Years Celebration” is Schenker's new CD and by far his best of the last decade. It is inspired, edgy, and Schenker has newly rediscovered his pleasure in playing guitar. It has been a while that this German axe master shone so brightly. The trademarks that made him world famous, and one of the most important players in the scene are all fully explored here. Schenker’s fiery rock licks, nearly inhuman power riffs, and his fluent style can be found again on this collection of classic rock tracks. 

There are no less than nineteen songs offered here by an all star gathering from Schenker's incredible past. Whether it’s Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Impelliteri, etc.), Robin McAuley (Grand Prix); Leif Sundin, the amazing Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge, Hurricane) or Chris Logan, all give their best. And, at the top of all this vocal power, Schenker presents his latest addition to the MSG family: Jari Tiura! The Finnish vocalist proves to be an asset to the long spanning career of MSG with his powerful and charismatic voice. No less than thirteen songs bear his trademark.

But, again, it is without doubt the master who shines brightest here. Just check out his lead on “Freedom,” which is finger-licking brilliant. The song itself is very un-Schenker-like, with its staccato rhythms and proves Michael is still open for new ideas and further improving his songwriting. 

There are also old school melodic rock songs like "The Ride" and “Dust to Dust,” slow rockers like “Dreams inside” (with Chris Logan shining), “St. Ann” and “Voice from my Heart,” and groovy monsters like “Setting Sun” (with some amazing double bass playing from Jeff Martin of Badlands and Racer X fame). They all sound vivid and passionate! 

True gems and hymns are plentiful  on this disc. The amazing track “Angel of Avalon” for instance, which is one of Schenker’s finest recordings of all time. Or “Rock'n'Roll" with its spotlight on the rough and edgy voice of Graham Bonnet. Or the powerful Kelly Keeling's performance on “Big Deal” … simply amazing! “Tell a Story” is astonishing, sung by McAuley, re-earning the right to the abbreviation of the MSG name when he joined in the late 80s! Only the haunting “Life Vacation” comes down a notch due to Gary Barden, whose voice unfortunately didn’t stand the test of time. 

“Tales of Rock'n'Roll – Twenty Five Years Celebration” marks the return of one of melodic rock’s most important guitarists. Schenker has clearly put the bottle aside in order to set things straight once and for all. He is once again The Mad Axeman, and no one else will ever live up to that name ... or that talent!

For more information, check out http://www.michaelschenker.de or http://www.armageddonmusic.com


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:44 -0500.