Album Review: Michael Schemker Group, "MSG"

Time was that Michael Schenker belonged to that rare breed of guitarists capable of moving even the most hard-hearted Rocker to tears. As an excess-ridden starman he would cut loose in frenzied fashion until his white flying-V both wept in pain and screamed in Anguish.

Nigh on twelve years later the guitar style is still highly distinctive. What's missing is any sense of adventure or danger, though, I'd be insulting the man if I claimed his playing to be anything less than technical perfection. In fact, album closer Never Ending Nightmare is a Schenker fan's dream. Flowing acoustic virtuosity topped off by a hugely atmospheric finger-(f)licking electric outro - this is no instrumental, though ALL emphasis lays squarely on the axeman's emotive playing.

Robin McAuley's voice does indeed complement his partner's playing admirably; check out the parallel vocal and guitar melodies during Eve and This Broken Heart for proof. Nevertheless, McAuley obviously writes pretty weird word patterns to fit the music rather than attempting to turn real thoughts and emotions into songs.

Recurring James Kottak (drums) and Jeff Pilson (bass) would have been a master-stroke had it been intended to retain their services on tour. Possibly two such firey and accomplished musicians could have set Michael aflame in the live arena. On this one album they have merely added muscle to a glossy yet ultimately unsatisfying recording. Too controlled, overly commercial, unaccountably 'safe,'

Lyn Guy
Riff Raff
March 1992

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  1. Wrong cover art, different band...

  2. Once the site starts generating some money we will start cracking down on such inaccuracies.