A fine example of Rock God guitar virtuosity.
Another year, another Michael Schenker album. Collaborating with a downright intimidating list of guest musicians his 2022 release ‘Universal‘ is a formidable collection of guitar-first Hard Rock.
‘Universal‘, satisfyingly, gels better than the also excellent ‘Immortal’ (from 2021) which oft strained too hard into Metal territory. Schenker over his hundreds of recordings has amply demonstrated firm Rock sensibilities. If you’re looking for scorching Heavy Metal, look elsewhere.
Producer Michael Voss remains a dependable partner for this always enthusiastic guitar virtuoso. Helping Schenker focus his melodic hooks and fluid solos into coherent and distinct songs ensuring easy navigation through these 13 tracks. Yet, where’s the ambition that spawned “Love to Love” and “Lost Horizons”? And where are those glorious guitar instrumentals that helped to define his now 50+ year career.
Still, the driving “Under Attack“, a majestic “The Universe“, a deeply melodic “London Calling“, and haunting melancholy of “Sad Is the Song” soar high. While Rainbow-era Ronnie James Dio tribute “Calling Baal / A King Has Gone” (w/Vocalist Michael Kiske) and power grove machine “Turn Off the World” revisit the meticulous songcraft and arrangements of Schenker’s glory days.
Once again, Michael Schenker affirms his lasting impact and elegant musicianship on MSG’s 2022 album ‘Universal‘. It doesn’t redefining anything; it doesn’t have to. A simply good Michael Schenker Group album is more than good enough. Recommended.