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THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP “ASSAULT ATTACK” – 1982 ALBUM REVISITED!

Posted in classic rock, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP – Crazy good. That’s my “flashback review” for the Michael Schenker Group album from 1982, titled – Assualt Attack. Aw, heck, I guess I’ll carry on about just how crazy good this Assualt Attack album is after all. Michael Schenker has released some melodic albums in his career with The Michael Schenker Group and Assault Attack is no exception. 1982 was a time where Heavy Metal was growing into the gigantic and lovable monster that it did eventually become… and still is to this very day.

While NWOBHM Bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were laying down the thick, speed driven, dark and Heavy albums in 1982, with Screaming For Vengeance and The Number Of The Beast, respectively, The Michael Schenker Group was laying down the melodic side of Hard Rock colliding with Heavy Metal sound. And what an amazingly melodic sound at that. What Michael Schenker does with his guitar is he makes it sing… his guitar truly is a second lead vocalist in his band. On Assualt Attack, as with any Michael Schenker album in truth, showcases a lead guitarist who never tried to out-muscle a song with overpowering riffs, questionable leads or over zealous solos. Michael Schenker always makes the song work with his guitar.

Back in 1982, FM radio was MTV, itunes, satellite radio and the internet combined. The only other place on Earth you would have been informed of The Michael Schenker Group would have been through a local fanzine, Circus or Hit Parader magazine. (I’m talking about 1982 America here, so my magazine examples are what they are). The first time I was introduced to this Assault Attack album, it was hearing the two songs Dancer and Desert Song. FM radio was the medium from which I heard these songs initially, the call letters were either WHCN or WCCC out of Hartford, CT, take your pick. The FM nighttime radio show was appropriately called… Metal Shop.

The first two albums from The Michael Schenker Group along with Assault Attack I probably bought within a one year span around ’82… and I thought I had a ton of “catching up” to do back then! Metal be thy name. The constant Rockin’ theme of Assault Attack, is it’s melodic nature screams relevancy while nurturing my memories of younger days. Fans of the current Hard Rock/Melodic Rock movement should easily catch onto this album from The Michael Schenker Group, it’s an album worthy of 2010 rotation.

Back to the exquisitely melodic and still Heavy song… Dancer. The solo by Michael Schenker on Dancer is a listen in Heavy Metal art. This song can be looked upon by some, as slightly commercial for it’s own good, only it’s still a bona fide Hard Rock song from an era that was still escorting Disco out the back door. Graham Bonnet on lead vocals, just a few years removed from being the lead vocalist on Rainbow’s Classic Hard Rock gem, 1979’s Down To Earth album, is his stunning self, giving Dancer and the remaining 8 songs on Assault Attack their unrestrained emotion.

Desert Song finds it’s strengths in many parts, one part lyrics, one part Graham Bonnet on vocals and of course… Michael Schenker’s mouth watering end cap solo. Furthermore, Desert Song is structured with creative diligence, something that many of today’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal songs don’t normally exhibit. Ulcer is the instrumental where Michael Schenker lets it all air out and rightfully so. While I listen to Ulcer, I can’t help thinking of Joe Satriani… and how this song just might have been a definitive influence on his guitar playing. If there is to be a Heavy Metal guitarist and instrumental to emulate from 1982, Michael Schenker and Ulcer is a fabulous choice.

Rock You To The Ground has a bluesy sound both with it’s music and lyrics. A standout of a Hard Rock track, with Michael Schenker really letting loose with an energetic solo that finishes off this memorable song. It may sound cliche’, yet all the hooks and licks are abundant throughout Assault Attack and they haven’t lost their Hard Rockin’ luster going on three decades! Classic Rock? Hard Rock? Sure… only add Classic Schenker as well.

Broken Promises is a showcase of Michael Schenker’s guitar prowess, as he still leaves plenty of room for Graham Bonnet to leave his vocal imprint as well. This is a 1982 Heavy Metal song that seamlessly tied the knot with a Hard Rock sense of purpose. Broken Promises Rocks along with it’s hardened melody and thumping rhythm section of Chris Glen on bass and Ted McKenna on drums.

Girl From Uptown is a bonus track found on the 2009 remastered version of Assault Attack and it should have been an original song to this album… in my Metal opinion. Once again, a melodic Hard Rockin’ song that features the combination of Graham Bonnet’s vocal harmony and Michael Schenker’s luxurious guitar tone. Girl From Uptown just puts me in a cool mood, then again, this entire album puts me in great Metal spirits… with no let up in sight.

* I used to own Assault Attack on vinyl once. Yup, got rid of it for some insane reason. Anyhow, I’ve since purchased this vintage album on itunes… for under $5 (U.S.). That sure beats the asking price of the import CD version that is currently out there.

* To catch up on ALL things happening with The Michael Schenker Group, including their 30th Anniversary Tour 2010, just click on the link below!

MICHAEL SCHENKER HIMSELF.COM

The Michael Schenker Group, as they appeared on Assault Attack:

Michael Schenker – guitars

Graham Bonnet – lead vocals

Chris Glen – bass

Ted McKenna – drums

Tommy Eyre – keyboards

Track Listing For The Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack:

Assault Attack

Rock You To The Ground

Dancer

Samurai

Desert Song

Broken Promises

Searching For A Reason

Ulcer

Girl From Uptown (2009 remastered CD bonus track)

LONG LIVE MICHAEL SCHENKER!

LONG LIVE GRAHAM BONNET!

Stone.

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Michael Schenker Group – “Never Trust A Stranger” A Rock Ballad From 1981 I Revere

Posted in 1980's classic rock bands, 1980's classic rock guitarists, 1980's classic rock vocalists, 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's rock musicians, 1980's hard rock bands, 1980's hard rock songs, 1980's heavy metal bands, Album Review, classic hard rock ballads, classic hard rock music, classic heavy metal, classic rock albums, classic rock music, classic rock songs, cool album covers, essential classic rock albums, essential hard rock albums, feel good stories, guitar legends, hard rock music, hard rock vocalists, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, heavy metal on vinyl, melodic hard rock songs, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, old school heavy metal, rock & roll, rock album review, rock and roll, rock guitarists, rock music, rock vocalists, vintage hard rock albums, vintage hard rock bands, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

MetalOdysseyI can remember the moment like it was yesterday. The moment in time of buying my first Michael Schenker Group album, at Caldor department store, back in 1982. It was the second studio album from Michael Schenker Group, it is often referred to as MSG ll, yet no where on my original album that I bought does it have the marking of “ll” on it. I guess the mystery of “ll” shall stay in my Metal mystery files for now. You can see, as proof, on the image below this post, that the front cover does not have “ll” on it. This image depicts the original album cover, the copy that I still own to this day. I have kept this Michael Schenker Group album in pristine condition for 28 years, this is an album that I extremely admire and highly recommend. The eight songs on this album are best described as Hard Rock, I find it difficult to label this album as straight forward Heavy Metal. There is one exception, Attack of the Mad Axeman is the one song from this album that I would label as an early 1980’s Heavy Metal song, in my Metal opinion.

Over the years, I acquired a cassette tape version of this album too, never upgrading to CD. Don’t ask why, I just never came up with the necessary loot to upgrade everything I ever owned on album and/or cassette, on a consistent basis. Factor in that I have to stay current and buy new CD’s of my favorite bands and deep pockets I do not have! Over this past Halloween weekend I was perusing the archive of songs that can be purchased on itunes and one Michael Schenker Group song caught my eye… Never Trust A Stranger. I bought this amazing Rock ballad from this second Michael Schenker Group album, without a micro second of hesitation. Goodbye 99 cents… hello MSG Rock Ballad I have revered for the better part of my entire Metal life.

You may ask: dude, why didn’t you just throw danger to the Metal wind and buy the entire Michael Schenker Group album from itunes if you don’t have it on CD? The answer is simple… I am holding out to buy this CD at retail or used, (eventually), due to my being old school and wanting the darn liner notes. (I can be a stubborn old Metalhead). Owning a digital copy of Never Trust A Stranger was a necessity that I needed to make good on for myself – finally. I always blab that I am not the biggest ballad fan the world has ever known, this will always hold true. However, there are those ballads, that just carry me off into those la la land moments of self gratifying, mental journeys of glee. On Never Trust A Stranger, the vocal harmony of Gary Barden is incredible stuff for me, with Michael Schenker playing some of the most emotionally inspired guitar licks you could ever imagine. The lyrics of this song are semi-sappy, still in 2009 they do that resonating thing to my mind and I have been a sucker for this song, since being a sophomore in high school in 1982. Gee Metal whiz.

Steven Stills lends his backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger. Yes, that Steven Stills… from Crosby, Stills and Nash, (and sometimes Young). Once again, don’t ask: dude, how did Michael Schenker get Steven Stills to do backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger? Hey, I simply do not have the answer. (I think years ago I did know the answer… yet it got erased from all the Thrash and Death Metal stuff I have listened to for decades). If anyone does have any info in regards to Steven Stills being on this song, feel free to comment about it please. So, in a Metal nutshell, Never Trust A Stranger is my second most favorite (Rock) ballad ever. I posted in the past that Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue is my favorite Heavy Metal ballad ever, I can’t go back on my word on that one.

Well, here is the original album cover of Michael Schenker Group, (notice there is NO “ll” anywhere on the cover). I was so enthralled by the guitar play of Michael Schenker and everything else about this album back in high school in 1982, that I made a silk screen copy of the album cover. Metalheads galore had mini posters and t-shirts with MSG and his flying V guitar on it, courtesy of me and my graphic arts class. I recruited lots of MSG fans back then, hopefully this blabbing will recruit more today.

Michael Schenker Group 2nd album - large pic

Michael Schenker & Gary Barden rock together again on “In The Midst Of Beauty”

Posted in 1980's hard rock, 1980's heavy metal music, Album Review, classic rock, current hard rock albums, current hard rock songs, current heavy metal music, Guitar, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock guitarists, hard rock songs, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal music, Metal Reviews, Music, Rock, rock music, rock music vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

I always have been enamored by the guitar brilliance of Michael Schenker. I have always been a big fan of the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal vocals of Gary Barden. These two musicians combined, made for one very cool and memorable debut album by The Michael Schenker Group, which was self titled. My favorite album by this duo is the second Michael Schenker Group album, titled “MSG”. Depending on the song or album you listen to from the Michael Schenker Group catalog, this band can be defined as Rock, Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Diversity has been the mainstay in Michael Schenker’s music, in my Metal opinion. A tried and true crossover of Heavy Music styles is what MSG has accomplished over the decades. Michael Schenker has had one incredible Hard Rock/Metal career, being an original member of the Scorpions and as a member of the infamous UFO.

Michael Schenker has had different lead vocalists over the years, again, my nod goes to the combo of Michael Schenker and Gary Barden. I did not intend to get too long winded, on the background history of The Michael Schenker Group, just a brief introduction is necessary for new fans that might want to check out the past music of MSG. Schenker – Barden “In The Midst Of Beauty” was released on May 13, 2008, with both Michael Schenker and Gary Barden rockin’ out together again. I am very pleased with this album, the vocals of Barden are still solid, he was never a flamboyant or in your face – Arena Rock vocalist to begin with. Barden for me, has always been a cool and deliberate Heavy Rock vocalist who exhibits real emotion in his vocals, while pronouncing the lyrics of his songs – always making the lyrical message as important as the music itself. In my Metal opinion, Gary Barden is as true a Heavy Rock vocalist today as he was in 1980. I cannot say enough about the guitar wizardry of Michael Schenker, to me he plays his very best on “In The Midst Of Beauty”.

All 12 songs are memorable for me on this album, with my favorite track being “Ride On My Way”. This tune is very melodic and it Rocks. I knew when I bought this CD, that I was not going to hear the resurrection of the 1980’s Schenker & Barden Heavy Metal attack. As years pass, all of our great and legendary Metal musicians change a tad or two. Does Gary Barden sound older? How about Michael Schenker? Give me a break, if anything else, there is a new found level of confident Metal that I hear on “In The Midst Of Beauty”. Do not be fooled, for Michael Schenker still brings the heavy on his guitar solos and leads. These two Heavy Metal legends can still Rock their hearts out, I only wish I could sing or play guitar this darn great at my age! “In The Midst Of Beauty” is a fantastic Hard Rock/old school Heavy Metal album that defines what Schenker and Barden are all about – both accomplished musicians who have nothing to prove to anyone – while still showing the entire Rock world what real song writing is all about.

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