Review By Blackdiamond
Artist: MICHAEL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK
Album: “Spirit On A Mission”
Release Date: 23rd March 2015
1. Live And Let Live
3. Vigilante Man
4. Rock City
5. Saviour Machine
6. Something Of The Night
7. All Our Yesterdays
9. Let The Devil Scream
10. Good Times
11. Restless Heart
Guitar legend Michael Schenker is storming back with a brand new corker of an album, along with his TEMPLE OF ROCK band. Michael describes how he came up with the title for the new album –
“A while ago I was asked how I wanted to be remembered, and I said ‘as a spirit on a mission, spreading the joy of music from a place of pure self expression.’”
During the recording of the album, the studio was broken into and original recordings and guitars were stolen. But that didn’t deter the band, despite making more work, it also made the material stronger.
“Bridge The Gap” was the last album released by the band in 2013 and for this next outing Michael knew exactly what he wanted for “Spirit On A Mission”, including some 7-string guitar for a low, heavy sound.
All the songs were co-written by Michael and vocalist Doogie White, with guitarist and keyboard player Wayne Findlay this time taking on a bigger role by co-writing five songs. “Spirit On A Mission” is the second TEMPLE OF ROCK album to feature the former SCORPIONS rhythm section, Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz.
The album kicks off with my favourite track ‘Live And Let Live’, also the current single, with its fast tempo, full of that classic Schenker sound and heavy riffs, complimented perfectly by Doogie‘s vocals, full of energy. It’s a real feel good song, with a great solo halfway through and also an outro solo. I can’t put my finger on why, but the only song that didn’t stand out immediately for me was the second track, ‘Communion’, but after only a couple of listens, that soon changed.
The first single to be released from the album was third track ‘Vigilante Man’ – another stand out one. Michael‘s vision of “keeping the fast songs rolling like a train with lots of energy” was certainly spot on with this catchy tune full of melody. Next up is ‘Rock City’, the whole arrangement of the song REALLY reminds me of early WHITESNAKE and UFO. Maybe that is no mistake as Michael has also stated that some of the songs have writing more like in his UFO days.
At 5.59, the longest track on the album is ‘Saviour Machine’ – a great heavy one complete with melodic solo in the middle. ‘Something Of The Night’ is excellent, the opening guitar evokes ‘The Flight Of The Bumblebee’, maybe a little Rimsky-Korsakov is reincarnated in Michael! Guitar buffs will love this track I’m certain, Michael‘s skill on the fretboard is just fantastic, especially the Howler sound used here. Combine that with Doogie‘s excellent vocals and it results in the ultimate listening pleasure.
‘All Our Yesterdays’ has a slightly different feel to it, heavy but also flowing, again with great vocals. ‘Bulletproof’ has some great chugging riffs, with a short Flamenco sounding guitar break in the middle of the song. Moving onto ‘Restless Heart’, another fast tempo track with great riffs, what else can you expect really from a band with Michael Schenker at the helm!
Concluding this epic album with a great song in ‘Wicked’, the pace doesn’t let up and is full of melodic heaviness. The professionalism and skill of all the longstanding musicians shines through on this album, along with the outstanding production by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss. Definitely a ‘must’ in any classic rock music lover’s collection.
“Spirit On A Mission” will be released on CD, Deluxe Edition (CD + DVD), Deluxe 180 Gram Vinyl (Special DMM-Cut) and Digital Download.
Photo By Jay Hawkins