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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Is It About European Rock Guitarists?
What is it about European rock guitarists? Is it something in the diet, or something in the water? Either way, you get a guitar player of the quality of Michael Schenker who has proved over many long years and too many concerts to mention that, with only a couple of notable exceptions, their choice of vocalists really does leave something to be desired....And this new...
Published on 13 Mar 2012 by J. M. Green

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So disappointed I wasted 10
Well, it was the reviews here and also in Classic Rock that encouraged me to buy this. Wish I hadn't. At my age, I have to learn to choose more carefully - every new CD bought means I play the others just that bit less. Don't get me wrong - I love the guitar playing of MS, and it's pretty good here, but not enough to play the CD again, after a few tries. The songs, too,...
Published 23 months ago by David R. Walters


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Is It About European Rock Guitarists?, 13 Mar 2012
By 
J. M. Green "john94682" (Sutton Coldfield) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Temple Of Rock (Audio CD)
What is it about European rock guitarists? Is it something in the diet, or something in the water? Either way, you get a guitar player of the quality of Michael Schenker who has proved over many long years and too many concerts to mention that, with only a couple of notable exceptions, their choice of vocalists really does leave something to be desired....And this new album; Temple of Rock, is no exception, with some of the vocals bordering on the awful. In fact at times it can almost be a Spinal Tapesque parody of a rock band in so much as the vocal and the lyric has a tongue rammed very much into the cheek - however, that is not to say that this album is a bad 'un, it's just that it is not consistent (good OR bad!). You go from the high's of Before The Devil Knows You're Dead with it's ear-worm riff that really does well and truly embed itself into your brain to the lows of the awful pop/rock sound of Remember - it could almost have been written (and played!) by a certain M.Bolan in his heyday!
Such a shame because with a decent set of pipes singing the lyrics (even though some are cringeworthy) the album could so easily have merited all 5 stars! If you don't believe me, have a listen to Phil Mogg's ageing voice fronting the latest UFO album; Seven Deadly.....it really, really does make all the difference in the world....so Michael, please, get a decent singer and present us long standing fans with an album to cherish and not feel ridiculed if some metal merchant hears our loud stereo playing Remember.......!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So disappointed I wasted 10, 28 July 2012
By 
David R. Walters (Huntingdon, Cambs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Well, it was the reviews here and also in Classic Rock that encouraged me to buy this. Wish I hadn't. At my age, I have to learn to choose more carefully - every new CD bought means I play the others just that bit less. Don't get me wrong - I love the guitar playing of MS, and it's pretty good here, but not enough to play the CD again, after a few tries. The songs, too, are only average. It's the singer that makes it an experience I don't need when there is still so much good stuff out there by the old gang - Magnum, Scorpions, Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep etc - SO good still. This singer (not Doogie White, who sang on the final Rainbow CD and is very strong), Michael Voss is just so average/not good, and no joy to hear. So, I could have given the 10 to a good cause. Now it will do its best in a charity shop. I fell victim to some reviews!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Think McCauley/Schenker, 26 Sep 2011
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A little too middle of the road for me. It's also a pity Michael has fallen foul of the loudness war as the dynamics seem rather flattened on this.
Content wise, nothing stands out to me. Lyrically it seems rather inane and this is the damning one, musically formulaic. Having seen the renewed, revitalised Michael. The player supreme, Mr.V at his finest, I was expecting more.
Very radio friendly but fails to engage.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second Division, 3 Oct 2011
This review is from: Temple Of Rock (Audio CD)
It is getting tougher and tougher to review my favorite guitar player, a tag that has diminished slightly but like the fast cars I have owned still holds affection for a great collection of memories. Still go to the gigs though and heard the clips here and there and wasn't that impressed this time round. Scorpions songs and old UFO stuff live what's going on? Hope it's not the end of an era? Anyway got everything else he's done so Catch 22 every time, always unsure if there is a monster album still to come but got to buy and find out.

Played this a few times before coming to the conclusion that I was expecting. In the "OK to good and yet still disappointing me" category. Am I expecting too much again and again I ask myself? This guy produced the best rock in the seventies and early eighties and I loved him for it so where is the mark of class? Perhaps over critical but add to this the awful title, dreadful cover/artwork and lyrics.... disappointed to be honest.

In terms of quality and for comparison then this is a three to four star effort in the same vein as "Be Aware of Scorpions". As usual the guitar work is excellent (despite the over reliance on distortion and hammer on/pull offs live), not the speed and clarity of old but still amazing melody in those perfectly fitting imaginative big sounding solos. My stand out tunes are "How Long" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" (how great a Ronnie Dio vocal could of made this! RIP), a bit dated maybe but showing the simpler stuff seems to be working well. My taste may be mellowing with age but funny how I hated the corny "Saturday Night" but really liked "Lovers Sinfony". No need for the pathetic play on the word but I like a nicely constructed rock song now with McAuley being the difference on the vocal. Production is also nice with guitar work well forward, a big improvement on "In the Midst of Beauty". Likeable in part then but not as much as the aforementioned last album which had better songs in my view. Decent guitar driven stuff through out losing a star plus for being 50% spoiled by some pretty awful song titles and lyrics. I really thought Michael Voss was a talented producer and great guitarist following Gary Bardens excellent solo album "Past & Present". Singer and front man though I don't think so. Characterless. Never rated Herman either. Germany has produced some great guitar players but don't let them loose writing lyrics or playing drums.

In summary some very nice stuff, good riffs and guitar work crying out for an "A List" song writer, an accompaniment that has so often been absent.
I recently bought the latest offerings from Black Country Communion and Chickenfoot and these are both Premier League in terms of rock albums. Great classic songs with stellar vocalists and guitar work. Also bought The Union new album "Sirens Song" which is amazing, great guitar based rock with terrific compositions from singer songwriter Pete Shoulder. Compared to these artists this is definitely Second Division.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Schenker Rocks My Temple, 30 Sep 2011
By 
Robert Knowles "109Rob" (Cardiff, Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This album starts with an Intro featuring William Shatner. This fact by itself speaks volumes. Shatner, of course, exceeds even Gary Barden (whom we adore) for ham-levels. And yet, for that very reason, Shatner is loved world-wide. Nobody could parody Shatner, because he's already the perfect self-parody. It's a bit like Iron Maiden - so good at parodying heavy metal that they made Spinal Tap obsolete. To employ Shatner on a cheesy opener, then, is not bad taste, but supremely good taste. It's a way of proleptically predicting all possible criticism of what is about to follow - it's a way of saying: 'whatever criticisms you have concerning this genre - we've heard them all before. But we still love classic rock, so we're doing it anyway'.

In short, as anybody who has seen "Michael Schenker in the Studio for the recording of Unforgiven" already knows, Schenker likes to have a laugh. Against popular opinion, he is actually quite a happy soul. Schenker emerging from a pyramid on the cover of the album is not an egotistic statement about some kind of Nephilimic rock-god materialising from a star-gate. It's intended to be funny - a parody. For sure, Shatner's anti-war message commercially taps into a popular sentiment in the US. We're not blind. And yet, a major theme here is "fun". Schenker never did succumb to the "ominousness" stereotype of most heavy rock. His music is best summed up by his own phrase, "Back to Attack". It is upbeat, joyful, energizing, and infectious - and this album is no exception to that rule.

Anyway - what about the music? Well, after the Intro, we have "How Long". Typical for Schenker albums, this track is very up-tempo. Engine-room riffing beneath a very radio-friendly verse and chorus formula. Solid, original guitar-work for the solo. Unusual twists and turns and tonal changes within the solo. Shorter initial solo followed by an excellent outro. Completely unlike shred.

Next is "Fallen Angel", which is already one of my favorite rock tracks. Superb chorus-refrain between verses - oscillation between the melodic and the rhythmic and soloing experiments. It is as though Schenker is always trying new guitar ideas. And yet, the "structured-flame" effect of Schenker's disciplined adherence to song-framework coupled with blistering outbursts continuously serves melody whilst at the same time ensuring unpredictability and excitement. This track, like the first, ends suddenly - no chance for boredom to set in.

Another lovely melodic start on the third track, "Hanging On". This good start then merges into a great driving chorus with continued good melody. Great percussion on this track. A great sing-along as Schenker gives the vocalist proper room. Very tasteful solo with an emphasis on melody. I wouldn't say that this material was "west-coast" though - quite different to the McAuley albums. Very accessible - again a sudden end.

"The End of an Era" is more thrashy - enter Schenker's trade-mark complex riffing. Less melodic, but still has a sing-along character. Great solo work - Schenker has taken to putting huge musical intervals into his soloing. Great trade-off licks between guitar and keyboards. Shred-velocities towards the end. Sudden termination - again, fast-moving with little chance to relax.

"Miss Claustrophobia" is next. Another radio-friendly anthemic number. Schenker tends to mix the formulaic with the unpredictable. So one ends up with solid structure, but also with some unexpected tangents. Thus, the solo is a complete tangent - quite shreddy and non-melodic. And yet, suddenly, a very melodic quiet moment comes in with some great tonal work in the background. Superb outro assertions on the lead guitar - yet another sudden ending.

On to the very unusual bluesy, ballady, smoochy number, "With You". Solidly melodic and a big improvement on the ballads on, say, Unforgiven. Lovely bluesy soloing. Schenker experiments with a staccato style - no filler. Every note is part of a composition. Trade-mark strong tune - great key-shift near to the end. Great mix, with the guitar well-forward. Really, this is soloing-vocals-soloing-vocals-soloing-vocals - with several soloing breaks (very beautifully phrased - Billy Gibbons after a few lessons) and several vocal interludes.

Back to the anthemic with "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead". Great mix and production again - well done to Michael Voss. Great vocal by Doogie White too! Reminiscent of rock classics from Rainbow, Sabbath, and Dio. In fact, Dio is the artist who comes to mind when listening to this track. Extremely cheesy lyrics - just the way we like it (but embarrassing if heard by non-rocker mates - may they be redeemed). If I were to describe Schenker's soloing on this track, I would say it was gutsy, industrial - more deep-south in picking style than West-Coast.

On to "Storming In" - which is a superb track that shows what Schenker can do composition-wise. Great mix between loud and quiet initially. Slow start - then suddenly, the pace and the power get turned on. Engine room on ramming-speed "into-the-fray" stuff this. Impossible not to rock out to this one. Absolutely superb soloing - full of unpredictable twists and turns, impossibly well-phrased. Usual angelic vibrato. Then, ends suddenly leaving you wanting more. I could have enjoyed another 10 minutes of this track. 10 out of 10.

"Scene of Crime" - another superbly creative mix of pace and loud and quiet. More ominous - but that's rare for Schenker. Almost reminds me of "Roll the Bones" by Rush during its stripped back moments. Great drumming on this album. Engine-room tendonitis-inducing riffage of metronomic evenness. Snatches of oblique eclectic soling. Amazing track this - absolutely 10 out of 10. Takes the best of post-structural unpredictability and mixes it with the best of rhythmic progression, melodic architecture, and coherence.

Next up, it's "Saturday Night". Very radio-friendly sing-along job. Schenker's lyricists are mostly clean-talking chaps, and this track is utterly without malice aforethought. Very happy, bouncy track with very rich tone on the guitar licks. Superb melodically. Again, all the music is written my Schenker - and it shows. Solid pop-rock.

Next up, it's Robin McAuley - making a guest-appearance on "Lover's Sinfony" (either badly-spelled or some kind of pun - it's not clear). The big difference between this track and the "McAuley Years" is the style of mix - this track is much more European, with none of the "fear of the guitar" which seemed to dog the mid-to-late 1980s period. Schenker is well-forward in the mix - although there are plenty of layers going on here. Solid, anthemic track. Sing-along - and for once does an outro-fade on very melodic soloing.

The pace goes up a notch in the bass-driven track "Speed". Superb front-mix beefy bass from Chris Glen. Good background colors added on the guitar - trademark Schenker sirenesque touches. Ironically, given the track-title, the pace is often not that fast on this track. Slower verses punctuate the more beefed-up driving parts of the track. Truly fantastic guitar-tonal variations. Wonderful soloing.

Then, it's back to the guitar-battle version of "How Long". There are lots of great touches here and there. During the guitar-battle, the guitar trade-offs are tasteful rather than shred-like. Superb outro solo from Schenker, though - punches through to a wonderful cathartic zenith-point before - suddenly - the track ends. An absolutely superb solo - my only complaint: it should have turned into a two-minute job!

On to the bonus track, "Remember" - a short punchy number. Upbeat and party-like, with great front-mix soloing. Trademark Schenker riffing in the background. Pleasant stripped-back moments in the middle of the track. Short and Sweet.

Finally, it's the radio-edit of "Miss Claustrophobia" - on which see above. All in all, this is another solid effort from Michael. As with most of Michael's albums, there'll turn out to be four or five true classics mixed in with solid material that's almost as good. So much better than other contemporary rock-music in my view.

A week or so later: Still don't want to put anything else in the CD player. Magnificent stuff! Many rock bands today are very short on melody or on melodic architecture. Many seem to offer tuneless rhythms with plenty of guitar-trick ornamentation, but with none of the melodic developments, structural layers, or tuneful ebb and flows that Schenker achieves. Many rock bands today are an in-your-face wall of noise that leaves no spaces for imaginative listener-involvement (unless you're imagining mindless violence or something demonic). Schenker, though, offers not so much a "temple" of rock as a "Cathedral of Rock" - the listener is invited into an expanding space of celebration and jubilant infectious imaginative variety, not shoved into a corner by an angry mob of red-necks will bull-mastifs. Many rock bands today play just a few notes within a reduced-scope minor scale of just a few chromatic intervals - with barely any composition. Schenker, though, gives you huge musical intervals mid-solo. You get the pillars, the alter, the bells, the tapestries, the flying buttresses, the towers, the nave, the chapter house, the crypt, the gargoyles. With Schenker, you get the whole Temple. Maybe this sounds well over the top for a pop-rock album that has some quite simple stuff on it as well. But put the whole thing together into one session, and you do indeed get the whole temple. A joy to listen to.

Several weeks later: what a corking album!
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5.0 out of 5 stars michael schenker proves beyond doubt he is one of the greatest rock guitarists ever, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Temple Of Rock (Audio CD)
he has been under the radar for a while, with temple of rock the former ufo and scorpions axeman is back to top form, catch him live you wont regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brill, 14 May 2013
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Brill - it's good to hear some proper rock, and seeing the Band live at Rock City was even better!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a singer, 25 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Temple Of Rock (Audio CD)
I quite like this but as always i'm a firm believer that Gary Barden is the only singer for Michael, having said that the stand out song on this for me is 'Before the devil knows you're dead' featuring Doogie White (ex Rainbow Yngwie Malmsteen) and i wouldn't mind hearing more of that partnership, Robin MacAuley also appears on a track but it doesn't match the standard of their previous work together. As i say i quite like this but i can't help thinking that a top vocalist or more of Doogie would lift this up a notch or two, the album is certainly star studded with contributions from Pete Way, Don Airey, Paul Raymond, Chris Glen, Neil Murray, Carmine Appice, Chris Slade, Brian Tichy, Simon Phillips, Michael Amott, Elliot Rubinson, Leslie West and Rudolph Schenker, so there's no shortage of quality in the rhythm section, Michael just needs a singer to match that quality.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good - a mixed lot, but over-produced., 1 Oct 2011
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My initial feeling when I first listened to the tracks was that the album sounds like a interesting mix of early Schenker UFO and the Schenker-Barden era sound with a scattering of other periods. Certainly an enjoyable listen, and well worth buying, but to my ear the album is over-produced. There's plenty of very good, and some great, Schenker guitar riffing/soloing moments, but after a couple of listens so far I'm left with the feeling that he should have had more freedom to just play. A simpler production would have been better, to get more of a raw 'feel', and to let the guitar reign. For example, there are some tracks where he's in the 'zone' but is cut short, whereas an extended solo would have been better in places. I just love to hear him play! If you're a fan, you'll like this.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Schenker playing great once again but average singer/bad lyrics and lack of adventure, 28 Sep 2011
This review is from: Temple Of Rock (Audio CD)
It has to be said that this is not an easy album to review, while listening we find some great guitar licks poorly complemented by some of the cheesiest singing (think 80's glam with a bit of rasp?)you'll hear on anything released in 2011.
I'm unsure of how experienced Michael Voss is when it comes to writing singing but the lyrics seem rushed and random, reminding this reviewer of Sammy Hagar's lyrics with Chickenfoot.

'Miss Claustrophobia' the album's first single is definitely victim of all the above but possibly in mainly a positive way but don't expect to hear it on the radio anytime soon.

Also worth noting are 'How Long', 'Saturday night' (which you may have seen pop up on youtube a few months ago from the proposed band 'strangers in the night' which basically is what we have here today with Michael and Pete Way joining forces in the studio for the first time since 2000's Covenant the UFO album).

Doogie White joins the band on vocals for 'Before The Devil Knows You're Dead' who's voice is reminiscent of a young Meat Loaf, however he is never truely used as well as he could have at any stage here.

But don't doubt Michael return to form, there is enough here to keep you going back solo wise and riff wise in future!

Why 4/5? well maybe i would have given 3.5 but no way could i only give 3 to this decent but not classic new release.
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Temple Of Rock
Temple Of Rock by Michael Schenker (Audio CD - 2011)
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