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Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock - 'Bridge The Gap' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ed/88/d2/michaelschenkerbridgethegap-97-1389044952.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     January 06, 2014    
 
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Michael Schenker’s display of exemplary riffing and soloing throughout takes the album to a different level.

Michael Schenker’s star has been shining brightly again over the past few years. Live shows have seen him performing at the top of his game and comparably to the ‘Strangers In The Night’ and ‘One Night At Budokan’ periods from the late 70s / early 80s. He has been touring for the last 18 months under the monicker of Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock with former Rainbow vocalist Doogie White and the ex-Scorpions pairing of drummer Herman Rarebell and bassist Francis Buchholz. Long-time cohort Wayne Findlay completes the line up on 7-string rhythm guitar and keyboards.   

This has helped provide the German axeman with the impetus to record a classic sounding rock album. Doogie has co-written all twelve songs with Schenker, apart from the album’s opener which is a very short instrumental that finishes too quickly just as Schenker starts working his fingers up and down the fretboard of his Flying V. The album proper starts with ‘Where The Wild Wind Blows’, featuring a catchy chorus and a melodic solo from Metal Mickey. ‘Horizons’ was previewed on tour earlier this year and is one of my favourites, containing great riffing and a stunning solo plus some powerful drumming from Rarebell.  

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‘Lord Of The Lost and Lonely’ slows things down a notch, it has a slightly Celtic feel to it and Buchholz lays down a lovely bass line. Doogie’s singing on ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Symphony’ reminds me of in parts of Y&T’s ‘Squeeze’ and features some fine Hammond organ from the underrated Findlay, Schenker finishing the song off with a blistering solo. ‘To Live For The King’ is reminiscent musically (and especially vocally) of Dio era Rainbow and I can’t pay the Scottish vocalist a higher compliment.  
‘Land Of Thunder’ is another powerful rocker with great work again by the ex-Scorps rhythm unit. ‘Temple Of The Holy’ has an Eastern vibe and again sounds Rainbowesque and Schenker plays some stunning lead guitar. ‘Shine On’ is a darker sounding number and sounds similar to Dio era Black Sabbath (yes, I believe Mr White is paying RJD a tribute), great guitar and keyboards again. ‘Because You Lied’ is a short and snappy number with Doogie using an echo type effect vocal. ‘Black Moon Rising’ and ‘Dance For The Piper’ are the two final tracks and both contain plenty of what has preceded them: catchy vocals, solid back up from the rhythm unit, great keyboards and guitar from Findlay and of course Schenker’s playing is imperious. (The deluxe version of the album includes a bonus track featuring Don Dokken, unfortunately it wasn’t available on the Promo version).

‘Bridge The Gap’ is an album full of classic rock songs but quite a few of them also have a modern sound. The band is tight and Michael Schenker’s display of exemplary riffing and soloing throughout takes the album to a different level. I look forward to hearing a number of these tunes on next year’s tour and here’s hoping that if the band continues to work well together they may add another piece to the Temple Of Rock further down the line.

Az Chaudry

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