Following on from the release of their successful debut album »Resurrection«, MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST have completed the recordings for their second studio album, which is now scheduled to be released on (attention, new date:) September 20th this year worldwide through Nuclear Blast. The album pre-order will start on June 14th.
Today MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST reveal the cover artwork for »Revelation«, which was created by Zsofia Dankova (POWERWOLF a.o.). “It is a fantastic artwork and a great cover. A picture tells all!“, says Michael Schenker and adds: “The album title and cover concept express things that have happened in my past as well as what is still happening at the present. It’s about passion and purity versus greed and corruption. There is much to say. It’s about time I let people know about some of this…”.
“Based on the fun that we had recording »Resurrection«, the success of the album and the surrounding tours we undertook that were just fantastic, I was deeply inspired to make a start on writing new songs for a new MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST album“, says Michael Schenker and explains: „It is a step up from »Resurrection« with amazing input from all singers and all musicians – I could not ask for a better result. The songs are blazing, snappy, energetic, melodic and with drummers like Simon Philips and Bodo Shopf we got amazing results. This time we even managed to record three great mid-tempo songs with all singers involved, singing their hearts out.“
Besides the four vocalists Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley and Doogie White, Michael Schenker also reveals a guest singer on one track. „We had this song that was ready to be worked on and Michael Voss suggested Ronnie Romeo from Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW, who Voss had worked with in the past, to sing on this song as a guest. What came out of it was classic. Amazing vocals with blazing music that absolutely rocks! We are ready to present this unique album to the world and I am very much looking forward to getting this album out there. Our label Nuclear Blast is totally happy with this record and I was especially happy getting a message from Markus Staiger, the founder of Nuclear Blast, saying how much he loves this album.“
Unless you are of a certain age, it is unlikely that you will have a real understanding of just how important Schenker and his Flying V was to hard rock. His first recording was with Scorpions on their debut ‘Lonesome Crow’ when he was just 16, and he was soon stolen by UFO and appeared on all of their major albums, ending his time with them with the live ‘Strangers In The Night’. At the end of the Seventies no rock disco was completed without ‘Doctor Doctor”, “Only You Can Rock Me”, “Shoot Shoot” or “Lights Out” (normally all of them). After that he recorded a brilliant solo debut with “Armed and Ready” and “Cry For The Nations” being bona fide classics, but then there was a slippery road downhill, both artistically and musically. He worked with some great musicians and singers, but even a return to UFO didn’t work.
Fast forward to 2016, and he put together Michael Schenker Fest, a tour featuring former Michael Schenker Group vocalists Gary Barden and Graham Bonnet, plus Robin McAuley of the Mcauley Schenker Group. Instrumental back-up was provided by former M.S.G. bass player Chris Glen and drummer Ted McKenna (I know that’s important in the context of the review, but for me, those guys will always be SAHB), plus guitarist/keyboard player Steve Mann, also of the Mcauley Schenker Group. The shows went so well that it seemed to make sense to record some music together, and to make it even more complete they brought in Doogie White (ex-Rainbow), who had been a singer with Schenker’s Temple Of Rock.
The result is nothing short of a major success, and if ever an album title was apt then it has to be this one. Schenker is very much back from the wilderness, with an album that is rolling back the years for all involved. Some of the songs feature all four singers, while each has their turn in taking lead. Schenker himself is way more restrained than usual, as there is a real focus on songs and the overall impact instead of the mad axeman out front crunching riffs and blazing away on solos. But, this is a hard rock album first and foremost, and most importantly this sounds like one where everyone wanted to be there and was having fun. It is early Eighties melodic hard rock with balls: there is nothing fashionable about this. Michael is now touring the album with Doogie and is even talking about having Phil Mogg and Klaus Meine on the next one.
Schenker has been in the wilderness for far too long, and I certainly never expected to hear an album like this from him again. Cast away all thoughts you may have had of his material in the last thirty odd years and give this a chance.
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