I both agree and disagree with so much of what has been written about this album. I found the cross section of reviews in the USA fascinating and would just like to add my comments to the plethora as a long time fan. In my opinion this is one of the weaker MSG collaborations (outside of McAuley Schenker which I couldn't stomach either). But so what, it is still good. This is a listenable album all the way through but nowhere near as good as any number of his previous classic releases. I couldn't fault the guitar playing genius on this one as you would come to expect. I really like "How will You get Back", "Standing on the Road", "Roll it Over" and "Sea of Memory" which are all very good. Nothing too memorable here is therefore a bit too harsh from one reviewer. On reflection I can't really hear myself humming any of the rest of the tunes. They are decent with various highs and lows but simplistic rhythms and lyrics with incredible guitar soloing doesn't necessarily give you the rights to a great song. The opening track "No Turning Back" is one example, where the middle instrumental sections are a bit long and boring.
What you can fault here are the composition structures, the song titles and the style of lyrics. Crap cover and album title also. Poor choices seem to have let the side down of late. Yes experiment and make strides to be different and maybe accommodate a certain market. But then again to make my judgement I compare what I have in front of me to a chosen model of perfection. Mine is well in the past, the back catalogue being far superior in my opinion. For his undoubted best I would play safe, buy and listen to any Schenker prior to 1983. The exceptions are "Walk on Water" (fabulous UFO come back album), "Written in Sand" and "Unforgiven" or either of the Schenker Pattison Summit albums. There is also plenty of good live and instrumental stuff like "Dreams & Expressions" so it's not all bad news on the more recent studio scene. If "Be Aware of Scorpions" marked the new beginning as one reviewer wrote then I'm definitely staying a dinosaur.
The new album is pretty good and well worth 4 stars (in my humble opinion) so one for the Xmas list. There are some great tracks (10) and a few average tracks (3; let down by the simplistic lyrics). If you like Slip of the Tongue era Whitesnake then this is the album for you. Great guitar playing (as always) and good solid rock. Vocals are excellent and sound like a mixture of David Coverdale from Whitesnake and the guy from Journey (name evades me now). No thrashing guitars just plain good tunes - what a refreshing surprise - but them maybe I'm getting old.
Schenker has to be the world's greatest guitar-player. Just listen to track 8 of this album. And it's not just shred either, but superb composition. Schenker doesn't try to Impress. He tries to Express. Other players try to impress, and end up expressing only vanity. Schenker tries to express, and so opens up the field of possibilities that enable the listener to experience a whole range of feeling states. That's what makes Schenker the best - that and his amazing ability to actually achieve what he sets out to do.