Michael Schenker Group — Universal
Michael Schenker Group is back with another new record less than 18 months after 2021’s “Immortal”. “Universal” has 13 tracks and features a few different vocalists, but Ronnie Romero is at the helm for the majority of the record.
“Emergency” gets things started and it has a very Deep Purple/Rainbow kind of feel to it. I’m most familiar with the Robin McAuley version of the band so this is a bit of a difference from what I’m used to. Romero is a good choice to front the band and he’s quite versatile. A decent start.
“A King Has Gone” is a tribute to Ronnie James Dio and features the former Rainbow rhythm section of Rondinelli and Daisley and fronted by Helloween’s Michael Kiske. Another track that definitely sounds like the Dio version of Rainbow.
Former MSG vocalist Gary Barden duets with Romero on “The Universe”. I would have preferred to hear Romero sing everything on the record but I can appreciate the nod to MSG’s past with Barden.
“Long Long Road” is a driving rocker that stands out as one of the better tracks on the record. Romero brings a more melodic feel to the tracks which I like.
“Yesterday Is Dead” and “London Calling” are decent tracks. The latter recalling the glory days of hard rock in the 80s.
“Au Revoir” wraps up the regular version of the record and is one of my favorite tracks. Again, Romero brings some much need melody to the fiery riff.
The two bonus tracks are worth getting. “Turn Off The World” should have been placed higher in the order as it’s easily one of the better tracks on the record. And “Fighter” is one of the catchier tracks that doesn’t really fit the feel of the record so I can see how it ended up as a bonus track.
Schenker’s playing is still quite good but I’m not loving the songs. They aren’t bad but they lack that something that draws me back to them. Romero is certainly a good choice on vocals and the album would have been better is he fronted all the tracks.
It’s a decent record that Schenker fans should be happy with and the addition of Romero is a good one. It’s a good record, just not a memorable one for me.
80 out of 100
- Under Attack
- Calling Baal
- A King Has Gone
- The Universe
- Long Long Road *
- Wrecking Ball
- Yesterday Is Dead
- London Calling
- Sad Is The Song
- Au Revoir
- Turn Off The World