SHARKS - classic album review
It is the year 1971, Phil Mogg gazes into his crystal ball and
sees his new band UFO will have a most peculiar career. After three
albums the ball lights up as 17 years old German wonder kid Michael
Schenker joins the band. Five consecutive records bring UFO world
fame and a super live album makes sure UFO earns its place in Rock
history. Cracks appear as Schenker leaves and starts his own band
MSG. A string of albums with different guitar player follows but the
light slowly fades. After a successful start MSG fades into obscurity
in mid eighties. Early nineties both UFO and MSG are at an all-time
low both in sales as popularity.
Inspired by the reunion fever the band enters
the studio in 1995 in the classic line up and records "Walk
on Water". Contrary to almost all other reunions the result
is fantastic. "Walk on Water" easily beats previous recordings
and is perhaps their best album ever. The crystal ball glows. A
successful tour and a good follow-up album (Convenant) follow swiftly.
During the tour everything goes wrong again. Quarrels and a fistfight
between Mogg and Schenker on stage indicate the end of UFO. The
crystal ball breaks apart.
Schenker restarts MSG and releases a few exceptionally good solo
albums. Mogg and his compatriot Pete Way (bass) continue under the
moniker Mogg/Way because Schenker obtained the rights of the name
Much to everybodys surprise somebody glued the
pieces together and suddenly comes the release of a new UFO album
"Sharks". Slanting matches and fistfights appear to be
a source of inspiration. Schenker found his inner fire (listen to
the excellent "Dreams & Expression") and Mogg is like
wine, his limited voice gets better with the years. Synergy is the
magic word; together they perform better than solo. Mogg, Schenker,
Way and drummer Dunbar are all around their fifties, but old farts
they are not.
"Sharks" is not on the same level as "Walk on Water"
but better than "Convenant". Its a solid, but somewhat
dated collection of old school hard rock, which surpasses mediocrity
only because of Schenkers guitar playing. "Dead Man Walking"
is by far the best song and compares with UFOs best material.
"Sea of Faith" is another strong song. Not everything
stayed the same; "Someones Gotta Have To Pay" and
"Fighting Man" show boogie influences (ZZ Top) and various
songs are more blues orientated than usual.
Mogg, Way and Schenker can write better songs, but
internal frictions frustrate more appealing results. They just cant
stay in the same room very long. Lets wait and see how long
the crystal ball stays intact this time. UFO and Schenker fans wont
be disappointed, rockers under the age of thirty can ignore this
release and all others should listen to samples on the Internet
Richard V. - Lords Of Metal