Michael Schenker Group
Chrysalis FV 41393
Let's see: Schenker left the Scorpions to join UFO in 1974. He left UFO in '78 to start the MSG. Meanwhile, Paul Raymond left UFO to join Schenker in '77, only to move on himself last year. Cozy Powell, Gary Barden and Graham Bonnet also left the MSG, although Bonnet rejoined for Assault Attack. Barden is now back, or maybe not, while Pete Way definitely departed UFO and has been replaced-only for their stage show-by American bassist Billy Sheehan, who is not on Making Contact (Chris Glen uses Moog Taurus pedals for many of the bass lines on the Lp).
All these switcheroos make no difference except to hardcore followers of both bands. The main point is the music they make. And ir's all damn good.
Assault Attack beats Making Contact in nearly every category. It rocks harder, faster, louder, and longer. The songs on Assault Attack are more melodic and more gut-crunching. Plus, the ease with which Schenker spins out his searing, soaring solos makes this kind of elegant metal magic seem practically effortless.
Still, the UFO tunes are genuinely attractive, and Phil Mogg's vocals are as engaging as ever. If the UFOers aren't quite up to the monstrous shriekout fun of the MSGers, they at least slip in a wry sensibility to their lyrics and some truly primo rhythm guitar and keyboard interplay on almost every cut.
UFO as a four-piece band is not the crushing, powerhouse group of a few years ago. On the other hand, they are tighter and, in some strange way, more lively and entertaining. Perhaps this is due to the emphasis on storytelling in the lyrics.
There may be storytelling going on in the MSG songs, too, but the flat-out whizbang musicianship of the Lp makes it unlikely you'll pay attention to the words, at least not on the first half dozen playings; what's important here is the sound of Bonnet's wraith-like vocals, not the sense. The title, Assault Attack, ain't farfetched a bit-and the cover is a slick, psychedelically-colorful visualization of the name.
Record Review magazine
A pretty interesting article, except for a few inaccuracies (i.e. Graham being in MSG twice, etc.) My next article will be a Phil Mogg interview on the release of Misdemeanor - Dennis
Thanks to Dennis for this piece !