There are line-ups where individual musicians just can't be replaced without losing an important part of the puzzle. And where would UFO be without their three most important protagonists Michael Schenker, Phil Mogg and Pete Way? The band experienced their greatest moments with these very musicians and are unreservedly accepted only in that combination. When Schenker's unusually fluent guitar with it's classical quotations meets Mogg's clear, charismatic voice, there are no words to describe the effect - a very special sound, a feeling, a sparkling atmosphere that only this combination could achieve. The term 'magic' has been worn a little thin, but it certainly hits the core of the emotions that UFO's new album Covenant evokes.
Covenant was recorded by the line-up consisting of Michael Schenker (guitar), Phil Mogg (vocals), Pete Way (bass) and Aynsley Dunbar (drums) and is the successor to their celebrated 'Walk On Water' album. In between there were countless fantastic gigs, sell-out tours and euphoric reactions from all parts of the world. Mismanagement and lack of organisation led to a temporary split. Schenker continued his Michael Schenker Group, while Mogg and Way continued under their own nmes. Luckily all problems have since been ironed out, the path to new achievements has been cleared. Covenant is the current release by a mature band that combines talent and experience to a perfect union.
Even the powerful opener 'Love Is Forever' proves that ideas and energies abound. Schenker delivers one of his unmistakable riffs straight from the hip, spices it up with a brief solo lick, while Mogg sets about refining the song with his unique voice only seconds later. At the very latest when they get to the chorous you realise: the flying saucer has returned, and it's as strong as it was in it's heyday.
'Unraveled', 'Midnight Train', Fool's Gold', 'Smell Of Money' and the brilliant 'Rise Again' are chips off a similar block and also work on the basis of Schenker's strong riffs, additionally presenting drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who worked with Mogg/Way before as well as MSG, as a powerful drummer with infallible timing. 'Miss The Lights' with it's catchy guitar lick and classic vocal lines will remind the avid fan of the great days of 'Phenomenon' and 'Force It'. Yet UFO, MK 2000, have the confidence to reduce the speed where it seems apt and to loosen up gritty numbers with occasional quiet passages, while 'Serenade', a composition that does not only recall the bands history but also turns into a new UFO anthem with it's catchy hook line, proves how it is possible to make a guitar sing and lend a song wings. In other words, a rock classic in the true sense of the word.
With the release of Covenant, recorded by their indisputedly best line-up to date, UFO present 11 new tracks, which bring to mind not only memories of the band's greatest days but also a promise of a glorious future. Covenant was produced by Mike Varney at the Prarie Sound Recordings studio in Cotati outside San Fransisco. A brilliant album, musically as well as technically.