So it seems Michael Schenker got together with ex-vocalists of the Michael Schenker Group namely Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, and Robin McCauley. Add in a touch of Michael Shenker Group bassist Chris Glen, guitarist/keyboardist Steve Mann, and drummer Ted McKenna. Throw in Temple of Rock singer Doogie White and a tour spawned an album.
The tour has now materialized into a full-on album with another guest appearance from Metallica‘s Kirk Hammet and altogether you have Rock legend supergroup on paper, but how does it all pan out when it comes to the music….let’s take a look.
“Heart and Soul” (feat. Robin McAuley & Kirk Hammett). A mixture of orchestra and chugging guitar opens the track before it launches with a nice riff and a good set of powerful lungs ringing out over the top. The vocals remind me a bit of Klaus Meine, vocalist with the Scorpions. This is a good start to the album, the production is a bit thin. When the guitar solo comes in it’s very sharp and clear sounding but the drums have no real power and no bass to it.
“Warrior” (feat. Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley & Doogie White) is very different to the first track. The vocals remind me a little of David Coverdale from Whitesnake as it starts and it has that medieval minstrel tunefulness to it. Once the song starts proper the guitars are crunching away and the synths make it sound very orchestral. The wah-wah guitar playing over parts of the verses are a nice addition. The chorus is a bit of a let down compared to the strong verses. I love the use of the four different vocalists on this track it makes it sound so different in each section throughout.
“Take Me to the Church” (feat. Doogie White) begins sounding like the opening of the Broadway musical Phantom of the Opera as the church organ rings out. The use of the organ throughout the song just gives the track a lift. Again this a mid-paced rocker of a song and when the chorus comes in it sounds very 80’s. Almost like a Dokken track. I like the vocals on this they are strong and fit perfectly, the drums again sound a bit thin and unsurprisingly there’s a cranking solo on this.
“Night Moods” (feat. Graham Bonnet). I love Graham Bonnet‘s vocals as much as I did when he was in Rainbow. He sounds a bit rough in parts but he is getting on a bit. He can still pound a tune out of those vocal chords. This track is very 70’s sounding in the vein of Rainbow or Deep Purple. There’s a cool riff running through this that definitely reminds me of Richie Blackmore. The solo again fits so well and is just a pleasure to listen to, every track so far has been quality.
“The Girl with the Stars in Her Eyes” (feat. Doogie White). Kicks off with a machine gun riff and strong rhythm pounding away. I love the vocals on this. The melody of the opening verse is catchy to the ear and the chorus again is very 70’s, which I truly love. The only thing I don’t like in the mix on this track is the synths it just doesn’t fit. The solo is full of trickery and bends, the sound is clear especially when striking the higher end of the frets.
“Everest” (feat. Graham Bonnet). The riff that opens this track is the best on the album so far, it reminds me of a 1000 bees buzzing away. The vocal lines remind me a little of Alice in Chains before Jerry Cantrell‘s vocals were added. It just has that melody to it. Again the synths are detracting from the greatness of the entire song. There’s a good 70’s style chorus on this and the guitar well, I just can’t say enough about the guitar work on this. But it is to be expected with such rock royalty behind the strings.
“Messin’ Around” (feat. Gary Barden). Nothing wrong with a bit of vocal effect to open a track. This is a straight-ahead rocker, much more commercial sounding than the rest. It has that 12 bar boogie sound to it full of ZZ Top and early AC/DC but still with that 80’s commerciality. The solo is sweet on this. It has its ties to the blues with the notes it hits. A nice bit of tapping as it rings out and kicks the song into gear again.
“Time Knows When It’s Time” (feat. Robin McAuley). This is almost a thrashy riff. It builds and revolves almost like a finger warm-up exercise on the fretboard. That Scorpions sounding vocal is back and suits the song perfectly. The chorus on this is very weak it sounds like Euro-pop. Only that riff, the vocals, and a cracking solo can save this track.
“Anchors Away” (feat. Doogie White) opens with synths which is a bit of a worry but when the riff comes in it sounds good and the little over riff makes it sound so different. The vocals sound strong over the riff and when the organ comes in just as the chorus starts it’s sounding full and alive. The chorus is o.k. but could have been so much better. All the instruments have that nautical theme running throughout the track bringing memories of the songs from the pirate movies of the past. I like the solo on this as it runs alongside the organ. This whole track could easily be mistaken for an Iron Maiden or Deep Purple track.
“Salvation“. The sounds of the sirens singing open the track as a tumbling riff blows out of the speakers. This I’m guessing is an instrumental to showcase Schenker. Personally, I think this track is unnecessary and the time could easily have been filled with another of those amazing tracks we’ve heard so far. That’s not saying it’s bad, how could it be with the talent on hand.
“Livin’ a Life Worth ‘Livin” (feat. Gary Barden). Whitesnake here we come, this sounds so much like the snake. This again is another track that could’ve been lifted straight from the 80’s. The organ and guitar rattle along side by side complementing each other throughout and the guitar work in the second solo is impressively full of heart and soul.
“The Last Supper” (feat. Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley & Doogie White). This one has more of an acoustic tinge and again has vocals that are reminiscent of Whitesnake first. When the next set of vocals come in though it really kicks off. The chorus is strong on this track and I think this is my favorite track so far. I think they should have done more tracks like this which features all the vocalists that have featured throughout Schenker‘s career.
Final thoughts on MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Resurrection
This is an album for those who love 70’s and 80’s blues style rock. There’s tinges of Deep Purple, early Whitesnake and a whole heap of that era of bands throughout this album. It’s a good album with a lot of strong and well-played tracks. Each track has its different vocalists showcasing their talents throughout but I personally think it’s when they come together as one that makes the finer parts of this album.