Michael Schenkers Temple Of Rock

MICHAEL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK – Bridge The Gap

Michael Schenker - Bridge The GapIf you wanna take a look at a rollercoaster career, then take a look at Michael Schenker’s. He started out just as teenager in the early 70’s playing alongside his brother Rudolf in the Scorpions on the Lonesome Crow album in 1972, an album that really didn’t sell for shit and after that he moved on to replace Bernie Marsden  (Whitesnake) in UFO, a band in which he stayed with for four years, from 1974 to 1978 recording the albums Phenomenon (1974), Force It (1975), No Heavy Petting (1976), Lights Out (1977) and Obsession (1978) and when UFO’s legendary live album Strangers In The Night was released in 1979, the relationship was over between Schenker and UFO, due to internal fighting under the influence of alcohol and hard drugs. Schenker later re-joined UFO for the albums Walk On Water (1995), but that went down the drain and a third try resulted in the albums Covenant (2000) and Sharks (2002), but also ended on a bad note after some disastrous tours. Again, drugs and alcohol and Schenker’s mood swings were the reasons for the split. When he left UFO he immediately formed his own band, the Michael Schenker Group – or MSG. Today, the first MSG  albums The Michael Schenker Group (1980), MSG (1981), Assault Attack (1982) and Built To Destroy (1983) are his most famous releases. And of course his live album Rock Will Never Die (1984). Since then he has released numerous of albums under the MSG moniker, but none of them have matched his classic ones. He also collaborated with former Grand Prix singer Robin McAuley, keeping the MSG logo, but now calling it McAuley Schenker Group. In 1987 they released their debut, the brilliant Perfect Timing to critical acclaim. Two more albums followed before the duo called it quits, Save Yourself (1989) and the self titled MSG (1992), both really good albums.

With a career that has caused havoc on several occasions and a never-ending stream of solo albums and live albums, it’s hard to keep track of everything. To be honest, I lost interest after the underrated Written In The Sand from 1996. But in 2011 the word was out that Schenker now has found his way again, sober with a new band that he called The Temple Of Rock and an album with the same name, featuring lead vocalist Michael Voss, ex-UFO bassist Pete Way and ex-Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell. My interest in Schenker returned and I decided to give his new album a shot. And lo and behold, Michael Schenker surprised me with a great album, full of the melodic rock he is known for. On two of the songs, former Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen singer Doogie White and former band mate Robin McAuley guested and for the forthcoming tour, Schenker decided that Doogie White would be his sole singer. He also recruited the former Scorpions rhythm section – drummer Herman Rarebell and bass player Francis Buchholz and that’s the line-up he kept for the recording of his new album. First track, “Neptune Rising” is an instrumental that really doesn’t reach for my attention and it passes by pretty much unnoticed and the first “real” song, “Where The Wild Winds Blow”, goes the same way – nowhere. Besides, Doogie White’s voice sounds sour at places. Not the best way to start an album.

But fortunately, things would make a turn for the better. “Horizons” is a really good hard rock song, much in the vein of early MSG and “Lord Of The Lost And Lonely” might be a weird song title, but it is a very good commercial hard rock track and I can hear traces from Assault Attack in it. However, things go down hill with the clichéd “Rock ‘n’ Roll Symphony”, a song that should have been kept in the vaults, “To Live For The King” is ok and sounds like a Rainbow tune with Yngwie Malmsteen lyrics and “Land Of Thunder” sounds like Deep Purple meets Saxon and I really want to like this, but it somehow feels unfinished.  But things are being patched up again with “Temple Of The Holy”, a heavy rock song with a big Blackmore vibe, “Shine On” is great with its 70’s rock influences, but then things turns sour once more with “Bridges We Have Burned” – an ok song, but it feels like a throwaway and “Because You Lied” is pure crap – a fast song that sounds like a rushed demo. “Black Moon Rising” is great however, a heavy and dark piece and I’m getting a big Tony Martin era Black Sabbath vibe and with finishing “Dance For The Piper” the Blackmore influences are back – again, a great track. As a whole, this album is uneven where some songs are great and some just aren’t. I’m also hearing lots of influences, but I’m not hearing enough of Schenker – even though he still plays fantastically. I’m afraid this is not the album I had hoped for – my expectations had increased after his last brilliant album and this just didn’t live up to them. The album isn’t bad at all, but I just know that it could have been so much better. But I won’t give up on him, I hope and believe that Schenker will come up with goods once more – maybe next time. He has to because the rocking world really needs Michael Schenker.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)

Track list:

  1. Neptune Rising
  2. Where The Wild Winds Blow
  3. Horizons
  4. Lord Of The Lost And Lonely
  5. Rock N Roll Symphony
  6. To Live For The King
  7. Land Of Thunder
  8. Temple Of The Holy
  9. Shine On
  10. Bridges We Have Burned
  11. Because You Lied
  12. Black Moon Rising
  13. Dance For The Piper

8 comments on “MICHAEL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK – Bridge The Gap

  1. I’ve been on a real Scorpions kick lately so this is something that had my interest. So I’m a little disappointed to read about your, umm, disappointment! I like the sound that you are describing, but if the songs are uneven…well, that’s the bottom line.

  2. Actually Jon my fav MSG album is One Night At The Budokan. What a fantastic lineup back than on that album as was on the MSG release!
    Too bad he could not keep that lineup together for more than a year.
    For me though I liked his stuff up until Rock Will Never Die . I bought Perfect Timing as well it was ok but I dunno the production of that one I never liked so basically I have not bought anything of his new since 1988.
    Still impressive he’s pulled it together now though….

    • I actually got into MSG with Perfect Timing as the music on that album was coherent with type of rock I was so heavily into back in 1987. Of course, today that production sounds awfully dated, but I still think the songs are great.
      After that I moved backwards to check out Michael’s older stuff, but the only album that really stuck on me was Assault Attack, my favourite MSG of all times.

  3. Oh for sure Asaault Attack is solid too bad they only lasted one live show (I think)
    With Bonnet.
    Assault Attack,there is no dud track on there as well as the MSG album from 1982.
    Good stuff Jon…..

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