February 1, 2021
Photo: www.Tour-Files.de, Matthias Rethmann

I consider myself blessed for growing up and listening to the music of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s when some of the greatest heavy rock was produced and each new release brought us a cornucopia of new delights to revel in. The albums of Purple, Sabbath and Heep were devoured and then along came bands like Magnum, Judas Priest, the Scorpions and UFO (plus others) to rival and in many cases exceed the works of the earlier heavyweights of metal. I have been devoted to these bands ever since and still get excited like a child on Christmas Eve when I see that they are putting out new albums. So, a new Schenker album is always a cause for celebration and I know that he has had a few personal demons over the years but he has never let me down and always delivered the brilliant hard rock that I am looking for. Come on, this is the man who played guitar on the best live album ever, UFO’s Strangers In The Night, with the exquisite Rock Bottom, sheer genius and it just does not get better than that.

Schenker’s latest tour de force sees the return of the Michael Schenker Group (partly as celebration of 40 years as a solo artist) and there can be few bands that can deliver the total rock experience of the MSG in full flow! He has lost none of his appetite and still is a guarantee of heavy metal of the highest order and, as always, delights in the quality of the musicians he invites onto his recordings. Each new album sees a celebration of his career as the mad axeman and he continues to amaze and delight with the quality of material he turns out and his guitar work is still as moving, fluid, gorgeous and hard hitting as ever. This is a guy who has inspired a generation of rock bands and the world of metal would be very different if the fledgling Schenker had chosen a different path. However, music was his calling and we are all so much the richer for it and there can be few households around the world without an album that features the mercurial German. Timeless and, well, Immortal this is metal to celebrate as Michael Schenker does what only he can with his thrilling style and delivery as he peels back the year to produce yet another imperious and majestic album of classic metal.

Schenker is an artist who can always command attention and you can judge his standing in the rock firmament by the musicians involved in the project with quality vocalists in Ronnie Romero (Rainbow), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Deep Purple) and Michael Voss (Mad Max). Then add to this already impressive list the musicians Barry Sparks (Dokken) on bass, Steve Mann on guitar and keyboards with just the three drummers in Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips and Brian Tichy. As if that wasn’t enough, former Dream Theater keyboard player Derek Sherinian plays on the album opening Drilled To Kill which sets the tone for the album being such an incendiary and in your face metal attack on your senses and the final track, In Search Of The Peace Of Mind, sees guest vocals from Gary Barden, Doogie White and Robin McAuley which neatly takes the MSG full circle. The energy never relents and the killer solos keep coming but this is not just about Schenker as the vocalists all impart their own styles and emotions on the songs they all delivery with verve and style. The closing In Search Of The Peace Of Mind is a nice reminder of where Michael Schenker came from as he wrote the song when aged just 15 in his mother’s kitchen and it was originally on the Scorpions’ Lonesome Crow. It hasn’t been easy recording this album due to COVID restrictions but the effort was very much worth it as we have here another priceless piece of Michael Schenker gold and he and his band of minstrels turn back the years to show any young upstarts that the masters are still in control.

Immortal is an excellent rock album from a team of craftsmen and is an essential purchase, this man is a treasure. Is there a better sight and sound than Schenker living the music and stood centre stage with axe in hand, I think not!

Immortal track list

  1. Drilled To Kill (feat Ralf Scheepers) (4:31)
  2. Don’t Die On Me Now (feat Joe Lynn Turner) (4:52)
  3. Knight Of The Dead (feat Ronnie Romero) (4:05)
  4. After The Rain (feat Michael Voss) (4:26)
  5. Devil’s Daughter (feat Ralf Scheepers) (4:20)
  6. Sail The Darkness (feat Ronnie Romero) (3:37)
  7. The Queen Of Thorns And Roses (feat Michael Voss) (4:03)
  8. Come On Over (feat Ronnie Romero) (4:19)
  9. Sangria Morte (feat Joe Lynn Turner) (4:16
  10. In Search Of The Peace Of Mind (feat Ronnie Romero, Gary Barden, Doogie White, Robin McAuley) (6:27)