- 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 UFO.

Much to everybody’s 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". It’s 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 UFO’s best material. "Sea of Faith" is another strong song. Not everything stayed the same; "Someone’s 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 can’t stay in the same room very long. Let’s wait and see how long the crystal ball stays intact this time. UFO and Schenker fans won’t be disappointed, rockers under the age of thirty can ignore this release and all others should listen to samples on the Internet first.

Richard V. - Lords Of Metal


Released: September 2002

Label: SPV (Europe), Victor (Japan)
Produced by: Mike Varney and Steve Fontano
Mixed by: Steve Fontano
Recorded at Prairie Sun Studios, Cotati, California, USA

Outlaw Man (4:01)
Quicksilver Rider (4:08)
Serenity (Do What!) (6:23)
Deadman Walking (4:33)
Shadow Dancer (4:48)
Someone's Gonna Have To Pay (5:29)
Sea Of Faith (5:50)
Fighting Man (4:32)
Perfect View (4:36)
Crossing Over (4:47)
Hawaii (0:43)

Japanese import:
3 Bonus tracks from Japanese Import

tracks 1 -11 as above +
12. Let It Roll (Live)
13. Only You Can Rock Me
14. Too Hot To Handle

Audio CD (September 23, 2002)
Label: Victor

Michael Schenker/guitars
Pete Way/bass
Aynslay Dunbar/drums
Phil Mogg/vocals

Additional Musicians:
Mike Varney - Guitar fills and outro guitar solo on 'Fighting Man'

Jesse Bradman and Luis Maldonado - Background Vocals

Kevin Carlson - Keyboards


Outlaw Man
Serenity (Do What!)
Someone's Gonna Have To Pay
Shadow Dancer