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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schenker's Deep-South Sound at its Best, 12 April 2007
By 
Robert Knowles "109Rob" (Cardiff, Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Arachnophobiac (Audio CD)
That Michael could bring out an album of this quality whilst in the middle of a divorce is amazing. I believe that Michael still wrote the music despite not playing lead on four of the tracks (because the divorce got to him like it would to anybody), and the music is first class.

To begin with, this is bluesy, guttsy, deep-south style rock with an emphasis on power and immediacy. It is very 'un-Germanic', proving Schenker's extreme versatility, and also miles away from his 'West-Coast' sounds when he was with Robin McAuley.

In other words, Schenker used his time in the States to develop not one new style but at least two new styles. Arachnophobiac is the most 'deep south' of all of Schenker's records - which means that Billy Gibbons is perhaps the closest parallel one could name. In my view, though, Schenker delivers to a higher level than Gibbons - almost as if to say 'this is how it's done mate'!

The album opens with Evermore which is a great solid openner with plenty of riffage and dirty guitar sound. Illusion is a superb follow-up with a wonderful intro, and an amazing guitar outro that picks up on and develops the solo from the middle of the track. Arachnophobiac is amazing riff-wise, and very humourous - reminiscent of Wierd Al Yankovitch (however you spell that name) lyric-wise. Rock and Roll Believer is a stand out track in my view with an excellent dirty guitar solo. With Sands of Time and Weathervane, Schenker really goes 'deep south' in the guitar sound - these tracks are all about the riffs. Over Now is very much a ballad, and a welcome slowing of the pace. One World provides an excellent example of Schenker trying out his new deep-south soloing style - so unlike his traditional sounds. Break the Cycle is an excellent rock singalong and has Jeff Watson playing lead (Jeff plays on 3,5,7,9). Alive is a fast track and the favourite of one reviewer I read. For me though it is the one weaker song on the album - except for its evangelistic note of which I approve. Fatal Strike is a great anthemic track to round off the album.

When purchasing this album - and I reckon you should - don't think of the previous album Be Aware of Scorpions, which is completely different. Be Aware of Scorpions in some senses takes Schenker's European sound to its limits - compositional complexity, brilliant breathtaking virtuosity, and a clean sound. Arachnophobiac, however, is like the kind of album that you'd record after having your face pushed into the dust by a bunch of rednecks. It is played 'from the dust up' as it were (reflecting Schenker's divorce probably) - that's it: if guitarwise Be Aware of Scorpions beams down from the highest reified parts of the stratosphere, Arachnophobiac chews on dust and gravel without losing any of the virtuosity. It is not even a 'down to earth' album so much as an 'I'm already down in the dust but I'm looking to get up and give you some rocks to chew on pal' album. It's Schenker at his rawest and dirtiest, and its flippin' marvelous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Southern Schenker!, 20 Jun 2009
By 
Angus Bell "spideypsych" (Guisborough) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Arachnophobiac (Audio CD)
This 2003 release loses a star for its rather muddy recording rather than the music which is consistently excellent - tho I am disappointed in the fact that Michael does not play the lead guitar on tracks 3,5,7,9 which are handled competently by Jeff Watson.
I will confess that as a result of the swamp rock sound I was not grabbed at first by this release but on repeated listening it really grows and Chris Logan`s vocals are really excellent if you prefer that more drawled southern feel (reminds me of Black Stone Cherry!). This is certainly different from other cleaner releases but I love it - even the jokey title track Arachnophobiac with the tongue in cheek lyrics "One lonely spider creepy cralling up my wall, 2 more inside my shoe!"
Now if only it could be re-mastered as the playing is excellent and i would like to hear the bass guitar of Stu Hamm more clearly.
I own most Schenker recordings and whilst not my favourite this is a quality melodic rock record with some great lead guitar in the inimitable incomparable Schenker style.
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Arachnophobiac
Arachnophobiac by Michael Schenker (Audio CD - 2003)
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