Reviews November/01

MSG / Be aware of Scorpions / SPV 085-72552


Michael Schenker Group - Back in business! Tracklisting:No turning back; My Time's up; Fallen the Love; Because I can; How will you get back; Blinded by Technology; Age of Ice; Standin' on the Road; Sea of Memory; On my Way; Reflection of your Heart; Roll it over; Eyes of a Child.

Michael Schenker Group these days features Michael Schenker (of course) on his legendary Gibson Flying V - but with him he has the to me unknown (but very talented) Chris Logan on vocals, Reverand Jones on bass and Jeff Martin (from Badlands and Racer X) on drums and vocals.
All during his career many has had an opinion regarding Mr. Schenker - but nevertheless he is one hell of a guitar slinger. He has always been very special to me, first during his time in Scorpions, then in UFO - and his Michael Schenker Group has never had a "dated" period in my humble opinion. This time around with "Beware of Scorpions" he returns to a more raw and bluesy rock 70's kinda rock sound - not far from Jeff Martins former group Badlands or some influences from the Contraband period can be heard from time to time.
Michael Schenker Group's new vocalist Chris Logan was originally recommended by Mike Varney who worked on their previous album "The Unforgiven" from 1998. And he gives this new record a vey special and authentic sound - on superb tracks like "How will you get back" and "Blinded by technology" the return to the 70's sound is obvious, he sound like a very mature and experinced singer with a lot of patina to him - i wonder how long he has been around? On several tracks Schenker uses his acustic equipment, too. But i can't help admiring the drum playing by Mr. Martin - on a track like "Age of Ice" it is very convincing!!
All in all "Be aware of Scorpions" is an essentiel MSG album - Michael Schenker Group gives inspiration and plays innovative and inspired and gives me great hope for an upcoming world tour and more albums in the future.

Shylock / Pyronized / MTM Music 0681-39


Shylock's second release - hard rock! Tracklisting:Bloodsister; Lovers in chains; ...Never give up fighting; Lost in a Dream; That kills me; Desperation's song; In vain; Heart on the Line; Bad 'n' sad(won't you heal my Soul) ; Another lonely Night; Freedom rising.

Shylock is "classic" German hard rock - founded in 1998 in Würzburg by guitarist and bass player Johannes Löhr along with vocalist Matthias Schenk. They were later joined by the two brothers Oliver Thiergärtner on keyboards and drummer Achim Thiergärtner.
The only thing i know of this band is that they released their debut in 1999 and got very good reviews. And on this new album called "Pyronized" they expose a very enchanting flair for writing a good song with a great guitar riff, raw vocals and an outstanding keyboard sound - not unlike their fellow contry men Fair Warning.
To me there are several memorable tracks on the album - "Lost in a Dream" is very catchy and Shylock plays very convincing and includes some progressive element from time to time. "That kills me" gives me goosebumbs with its frightening keyboard sound that lies beneath the hookladen guitar - exploding in a very sophisticated solo in the middle including violins and acustic guitar!!!! The big big ballad is called "Another lonely Night" and starts with a soulful piano and the convincing, powerful and suffering vocal work from Matthias Schenk. I can only recommend this to every lover of German or even Scandinavian hard rock.
Shylock as i said in the beginning will not start a revolution with this album - but they play very charismatic and convincing - and they can play rough as well as soft an soulful - a very good album!

Silent Force / Infatuator / MAS CD0299


Silent Force - Featuring DC Cooper! Tracklisting:Infatuator; Fall into Oblivion; Hear my Calling; Promised Land; We must use the Power; All guns blazing; TRILOGI:Cena Libera; Gladiator; The Blade. Last Time; World Aflame; In my Arms; Northern Lights.

Silent Force is the band vocalist DC Cooper formed after his period in Danisk prog-sters Royal Hunt. Silent Force is based in Germany and DC Cooper is joined by guitarist Alex Beyrodt (Ex Primal Fear & Sinner), Jürgen Steinmetz on bass, Andre Hilgers on drums and Torsten Rohre on keyboards.
This new album "Infatuator" continues where their debut "The Empire of Future" left off. Only this time it's harder and faster - which is the reason they are covering the old Judas Priest track "All Guns blazing" - this track has been a constant component of the bands live repertoire since their very first tour supporting Stratovarius. The whole album is very powerful and leans towards power-metal acts but also shows some progressive elements. Its starts very VERY fast with the title track - but soon after DC Coopers past shows with a track like "Hear me calling" which could be from his Royal Hunt era.
The focal point on this album though, is the trilogy of almost 15 minutes playing time that centres on the Roman empire - like a small concept piece within an album. "Infatuator" is a very powerful effort and shows the great musicianship within the band - Mr. Beyrodt is a very promising guitar player and he even includes some very German tones in some tracks, like the more melodic "We must use the Power" and DC Cooper is one hell of a vocalist - he has always been my favorite in Royal Hunt and his constant dare to reach notes other vocalist can only dream of and using his voice as an instrument - that is a challenge on every album that he has been involved with.
I think their fan base is in Japan - but hopefully this new album will bring them around the world, too. Because "Infatuator" - to my surprise - has its melodic sides in all the phenomenal guitar playing, emotional keyboards and thundering drums - so it's a very good album that will bring Silent Force up in a leaque with bands like Stratovarius, Rhapsody and Angra!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2001