If proof were ever needed that certain things get better with age, then look no further than to Michael Schenker, as his re-emergence over these last few years with his Temple Of Rock band is nothing short of staggering.
‘Spirit On A Mission’ is the latest album from Schenker and as before, he is joined by former Rainbow singer Doogie White, 7-string guitarist and keyboard player Wayne Findlay, plus ex Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell, and bass player Francis Buchholz.
The opening track, ‘Live And Let Live’ shows the power and passion this man still has, the main riff explodes and is joined by some impressive double bass drums. This is a fast paced rocker with great melody and chorus, a great opening track.
‘Communion’ has more of a bluesy feel to it, with Doogie White sounding great, even more so when you consider his age. I swear he is sounding better than ever.
‘Vigilante man’ is one of my favorites on the album, hard and heavy. For those who saw the last tour, yes, this is the new track they played and it went down a storm.
The pace quickens for ‘Rock City’ which has some rather impressive drumming from Herman ze german, once again a man who is defying age and is playing better than ever.
‘Saviour Machine’ is a slower track, a chugging riff which leads into a quiet mid-section before rebuilding to the main riff, Schenkers guitar playing is exceptional on this, while Dougie’s singing add’s more melody to the songs structure.
A long intro featuring only Schenker and Rarebell is the basis for “Something of the night” before Doogie and the rest of the band joins in and we end up with a pretty much straight forward hard rock track, bags of energy from the band with Schenkers guitar tone really standing out on this track
‘All Our Yesterdays’ takes things down a different path, as this track has a far eastern feel to it, the keyboard flourishes from Wayne Findley are superb, adding a further layer to an otherwise great track .
Rarebell is back at the helm of the next track ‘Bulletproof’ but is joined by Francis Buchholz this time, as the pair create a monster of a rhythm section that never lets up during the whole track.
Doogie White really excels himself on ‘Let The Devil Scream’ as Michael weaves his magic all around him, while ‘Good Times’ is just that, a reflective track full of Michaels soulful guitar playing.
‘Restless Heart’ and ‘Wicked’ round off the album, these two fast paced tracks make you think just how good this album really is, with the whole band playing exceptionally tight.
Overall this is a great album, however, at times the production seems a little off, a little rushed, but we must assume that time was against them in completing this album owing to the fact that Michael had some of his guitars, plus the master tapes to this album stolen from the recording studio back in September 2014.
Here is the news story in case you missed it: Thieves broke into Kidroom Studios in Greven, making off with four guitars belonging to Michael Schenker and the computers that contained his next album with Temple of Rock, ‘Spirit on a Mission.’
The robbery happened at some point between Friday evening and Sunday morning, as singer Doogie White tells Classic Rock Magazine, “I only got home on Friday after laying down the vocals, and Herman Rarebell just arrived to track the drums. The thieves broke in through skylights and stole a bunch of guitars, and also the computers containing the tracks. Then we found they’d also taken the backups.”
One of Schenker’s guitars that was stolen is a chrome Dean V, one of only three in existence. And between the police investigation and fans spreading the word, White seems optimistic that the criminals will not get far with it. “Any reputable dealer will know they’re stolen,” he continues. “No fan will buy them – they’re more likely to knock the seller out and hand them back. And casual players won’t want them. A Dean V ain’t for doodling on in front of the TV.”
As for the recording, he says they may have rough mixes saved somewhere, but they’re unsure right now.
White adds that Schenker is being “very matter-of-fact about it all. We agree there’s not much we can do, other than knuckle down and get on with what needs to be done. We’ll refocus, regroup and have a fresh plan in a day or two.”
01. Live And Let Live
03. Vigilante Man
04. Rock City
05. Saviour Machine
06. Something Of The Night
07. All Our Yesterdays
09. Let The Devil Scream
10. Good Times
11. Restless Heart
“Spirit On A Mission” released in the UK on Monday 23rd March 2015