Hot on the heels of the first MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST album Resurrection released last year, here comes the next record with Revelation, out September 20 on Nuclear Blast Records. Since the first Temple of Rock disc Bridge the Gap Mr. Schenker has been on an absolute roll, hitting home run after home run. And right beside him have been a who’s who of players, especially in this group. Vocalists Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, and Doogie White once again bring down the house over the course of these songs. The band, featuring Schenker’s fiery guitars, bassist Chris Glen, Steve Mann (guitars/keyboards), and the drum duo of Simon Phillips and Bodo Schopf, are locked in, ready to rock, and it shows!
Opener “Rock Steady” is the perfect mid-tempo anthem to get us started and tells the tale of Schenker, “the boy who became a rock star with a guitar in his hand”, as all four singers go to town over a nice, chunky riff. Speaking of riffs, “Under a Blood Red Sky” takes off like a Z-28 headed down Hempstead Turnpike when all the lights are green, fueled by Doogie White, and should be a live staple going forward. More killer guitar work follows with “Silent Again” and Robin McAuley’s powerhouse vocals remind us once again that he is simply ageless. “Sleeping With the Light On” is without a doubt one of 2019’s best songs, and that is unassailable fact! Factor in the vocalists going in hot and you just know this tune rocks!
Graham Bonnet is basically an Ageless Wonder, as is evidenced on “The Beast In the Shadows”. He just owns this one from beginning to end. Meanwhile “Crazy Daze” is another track that showcases all the talent in this band. “Lead You Astray” goes in HARD, and I can only assume that’s McAuley ripping shit up for the most part. Another guy that time completely ignores, apparently. But hold on, we have another vocalist joining the fray. Chilean singer Ronnie Romero brings his own fire to “We Are the Voice” and you can hear the band behind him going to town. So he’s someone that would obviously make a great addition to this going forward.
“Headed For the Sun” is another fast-paced asskicker, another album favorite, while “Old Man” is one of those songs that should be in the band’s setlist for the next 50 years. Closing things is “Still In the Fight”, a song that makes me want to throw things through a patio window, and then a track with no vocals, an instrumental called “Ascension.” Don’t ask me what it means, because I don’t even know. But Schenker is showing off his crazy guitar skills here! At the end of the day Revelation is a very good record. Is it the grand slam home run the last few were? Not quite. More like a solo shot. Still, we get to hear so many great things from so many great people in MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST that I am all in on this album. You should be, too.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Sleeping With the Light On”, “Rock Steady”, “Crazy Daze”, “The Beast In the Shadows”, “We Are the Voice”, “Headed For the Sun”