Michael Schenker Group – Immortal
(Nuclear Blast Records - 2021)
Coming off the heels of two successful releases and tour with his star-studded Michael Schenker Fest; it has been twelve years since he released original music under the Michael Schenker Group banner.
Since his debut on the music scene at 16 (although playing live gigs much younger), Michael Schenker has made a name for himself in the music world. For someone who claims to never have wanted fame; If I were to list Schenker’s accomplishments and the many musicians, he has inspired I would surpass twenty pages.
Schenker has always utilized talent with star quality and Michael Schenker Group’s latest release 'Immortal', does not disappoint. He brings together a formidable alliance of brilliance to accompany his superb songwriting and guitar virtuosity. Vocalists: Ralf Scheepers, Ronnie Romero, Joe Lynn Turner and Michael Voss; Drummers: Bodo Schopf, and Simon Philips; Keyboardists: Steve Mann and Derek Sherinian are just a few of the magnificent musicians featured. All the while the genius that is Michael Schenker is an ever-present entity from his capable talent as a songwriter and his renowned ability as a musician.
Power Metal, powerhouse vocalist, Ralf Scheepers takes the lead on the potent opening track, 'Drilled to Kill. Complemented by Schenker’s classic effortless solos; this track embodies some of Schenker’s best work to date; which is apparent throughout Immortal. 'Don’t Die On Me Now' features legendary vocalist, Joe Lynn Turner who is on top of his game. The Rainbow/Deep Purple front man seems at home with Michael Schenker Group. The memorable chorus is catchy enough to see this track in a radio or internet rotation.
Chilean, Ronnie Romero, a formidable singer brings his background and flair into 'Knight of The Dead'. Channelling classic Ian Gillan and Ronnie James Dio; Romero vocals are pure, raw ,rock energy. Romero, again, brings his timeless rock style on 'Sail Of Darkness' - a moody penetrating, track.
Producer, audio engineer, Michael Voss, who is also a capable vocalist, brings his expertise to 'After The Rain'. It is said that most rock or metal-oriented albums need the obligatory power ballad; 'After the Rain' is anything but that. With Voss’s exquisite vocals and magnificently elegant guitar from Schenker, this track is breathtaking. Voss also mans 'The Queen Of Thorns And Roses' which is a catchy 70's/80's pop sounding classic. While other noteworthy tracks include 'Devil’s Daughter' with again killer vocals from Scheepers and fantastic drumming.
The final track on 'Immortal' is the first Schenker recorded. 'In Search Of Peace Af Mind', which initially appeared on Scorpions 'Lonesome Crow' album, has been reimagined into a remarkable representation of the core of Schenker’s origins. I had already assumed I would love 'Immortal' with it is offering of exponential talent; I was not disappointed. Schenker is on top of his game.
He has conquered his demons and come out stronger and constantly evolves as a songwriter. As music lovers, we are better for it.
By Dawn Belotti