Michael Schenker – ‘A Decade Of The Mad Axeman’ (Inakustik) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Lee Grace   
Thursday, 08 February 2018 04:40

Michael Schenker A Decade of the Mad Axeman CoverThe German guitar maestro, best known for his tenure with UFO and Scorpions, showcases why he is still one of the most recognisable guitarists and frontmen in this double CD release. The first CD showcases studio recordings from his solo projects between 2007 and 2016 and the second live recordings, spanning his varied group and solo career.

 

CD one opens with a classic Schenker tune, ‘I Want You’, a happy, boppy festival track which draws you in and sets the tone for the excitable journey to come. Driving music? You got it with ‘Night to Remember’, leading onto ‘Cross of Crosses’, a groove laden chug-fest reminiscent of melancholy times but with a summer vibe.

 

Track four, ‘Ride On My Way’, showcases Schenker’s vocals, with typical positive, anthemic feelings. ‘Miss Claustrophobia’ shows off the Axeman’s prowess with a fast, talented intro which keeps the album from the mid-track slump that some greatest hits records often have. This track shows Schenker to be an artist who is not afraid to break outside the expected; sleazy sounding, darker lyrics than previous tracks which is cleverly done and at the right time.

 

‘Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’ is a belter, leading with an orchestral intro which again shows flexibility and a man not afraid to work outside his niche. Vocally, the track sounds very Saxon-esque, which is in no way a bad thing, personally. ‘Stormin’ In’ leads with haunting childrens’ vocals, and seems pious with religious undertones a la Dio. There is an “olde worlde” vibe too, which is refreshing. The track kicks in (with the Storm) full of bouncing energy.

 

‘How Long (3 Generations Guitar Battle)’ breaks the pace with glam-era American sleaze rock, again showcasing amazing skills. ‘Lord of the Lost and Lonely’ has a near comedic Tetris inspired tune to it, flexible Byford style vocals and would definitely suit as an encore track. Track ten, ‘To Live For The King’ brings the drums nicely to the forefront for this chug-fest, until powerful vocals kick in and change the pace. The track’s swirly guitar sound keeps it trance-like and at time is reminiscent of Saxon’s ‘The Power and the Glory’.

 

‘Land of Thunder’ assaults the ears in a good way and conjures stormy images perfectly (dare I say the perfect storm?). ‘Black Moon Rising’ breaks away again with a more gothic, angry, retrospective vibe’ before ‘Live and Let Live’s Southern rock vibe relaxes and soothes. ‘Rock City’ shows Schenker’s vocals off, perfectly with an almost David Coverdale quality and pumping, up-beat guitar riffs. ‘Saviour Machine’ shows a groovier sound with high vocals and a tempo that is both infectious and lyrics that are empowering. The first CD closes with ‘Bullet Proof’ with joyous, clever lyrics, and toe tapping cheese, to make for an excellent closing track.

 

 

From the opening track of the second, live CD, we are drawn into enthusiastic cheers of hungry crowds, and, for a collection of relatively recent live tracks, this CD keeps you interested all the way through. All the expected hits, and a couple of curve balls are here, such as ‘Rock My Nights Away’, ‘Vigilante Man’, ‘Doctor, Doctor’, ‘Lights out in London’ and ‘Love is not a Game’.

 

In all, an excellent “best of…” and live release, showing a well-known frontman showing his talent not only on the axe, but vocally too, in this changeable, aurally pleasing classic rock collection.

 

‘A Decade Of The Mad Axeman’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

Michael Schenker Fest – featuring original MSG members Ted McKenna, Chris Glen and Steve Mann alongside singer Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley, as well as Doogie White – release their new album, ‘Resurrection’, on 2 March. They will headline the opening night of Hard Rock Hell XII in Pwllheli on Thursday 8 November.

 

www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

 

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