Celebrating 50 years in the music business, legendary guitarist Michael Schenker has recruited a wide selection of different musicians on the latest release, Immortal (Nuclear Blast), a hard-edged rock album that perfectly showcases his talent and versatility. With Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow) acting as the main singer, the vocal side is bolstered by the likes of Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), the record’s co-producer Michael Voss (Mad Max) and former Rainbow frontman Joe Lynn Turner.
Joining Schenker and his team of singers are Steve Mann, and Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater/Sons of Apollo/Alice Cooper) on keyboards, former Dokken bassist Barry Sparks, as well as no less than three drummers – former MSG bandmate Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips (ex-Toto), and Brian Tichy (Lynch Mob, ex-Whitesnake).
Scheepers kicks things off with the militaristic stomp of ‘Drilled To Kill’ before Turner takes over for the moody riff-fest of ‘Don’t Die On Me Now’. The Rainbow-esque ‘Knight Of The Dead’ is a fast-paced number filled with pinch harmonics, while ‘After The Rain’ is a Scorpions/Accept style Germanic ballad.
‘Devil’s Daughter’ is driven by uptempo bluesy rock and roll licks, ‘Sail The Darkness’ sounds like it could have been written for Ronnie James Dio, and the quite brilliant standout cut ‘The Queen Of Thorns And Roses’ features a wonderful and instantly memorable 1970s style chorus.
‘Come On Over’ is a simple and sturdy rocker, ‘Sangria Morte’ packs a mid-paced spaghetti western gallop, and ‘In Search Of The Peace Of Mind’ is a re-recording of the first song a fifteen-year-old Schenker ever laid down on with Scorpions on their 1970 debut studio album Lonesome Crow (Brain).
A varied and interesting hard rock album with some unsurprisingly nimble fretwork from the German maestro, Immortal is not only a fitting anniversary celebration but worthy of its place in any old school record collection.
7 / 10