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Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock: Bridge the Gap

It's as if legendary guitar hero Michael Schenker really wants to make the statement here that Bridge the Gap is indeed a 'band' effort, and not just a solo album. Calling his mates the Temple of Rock (also the title of his last album), the band consists of former Scorpions members Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass), along with vocalist Doogie White (Rainbow, Tank, Yngwie Malmsteen, La Paz, Demon's Eye) and longtime buddy Wayne Findlay on guitar & keyboards. The title of the album refers to the 'bridging of the gap' between his old days in the Scorps with Herman & Francis, and the newer sounds that Findlay and White bring to the table. Bridge the Gap really does feel more like a band effort, and this formidable line-up have put together a batch of memorable tunes here, resulting in one of Schenker's better releases in quite some time.

White is a perfect choice for Schenker's style of hard rock & metal, and his powerful vocals are right at home on this album. Most of these tracks are melodic yet heavy hitting, with White soaring in fine fashion over crunchy riffs, pounding rhythms, and plenty of sizzling Schenker guitar solos. An ultra catchy chorus highlights the irresistible "Lord of the Lost and Lonely", while "Neptune Rising" and "Where the Wild Wind Blows" are just pedal to the metal heavy rockers in grand Schenker tradition. Wonderful riffs and Findlay's tasty Hammond organ permeate the chugging "Rock 'n' Roll Symphony", and the band almost channel vintage Rainbow on the majestic "To Live For the King", a track that features a particularly potent White vocal and killer axe-work from Schenker. The band goes for an almost speed metal intensity on "Lord of Thunder", with Rarebell & Buchholz working overtime, and "Shine On" offers more atmospheric elements, as White paints a poignant picture over ominous keyboards and Schenker's squealing solos and heavy riffs. "Black Moon Rising" again reminds of Rainbow to an extent, while "Dance of the Piper" and "Because You Lied" are classic Schenker fare, full of memorable melodies and red hot guitar licks.

I've been kind of hard on some of Schenker's releases in recent years, but I have to say he's totally on the right track here on Bridge the Gap. Let me rephrase that, 'they' are on the right track, as this is first and foremost a band effort, and this band is really, really good. Let's hope that this line-up stays together and can continue to build on what they've started here, as this is without a doubt one of the best bands that the German guitar god has put together in a long time, and as a result it's also some of the best material he's created in a long time.

Track Listing

Added: January 18th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 6389
Language: english

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Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock: Bridge the Gap
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-12-04 09:11:19
My Score:

There are few legendary Rock performers who manage to genuinely hit the heights once more after a lengthy and well publicised fall from grace. While it would be a stretch to suggest that Bridge The Gap from one time Scorpions, UFO and MSG guitarist Michael Schenker has returned this six stringer to the peak of his 70s and 80s powers, he's a damn sight closer than any of us would have given credit for not all that long ago.

So what has happened to turn Mr Schenker around? Well a cleaner life style has obviously helped, but a recognition of what his past achievements mean in the world of Rock haven't hurt either, resulting in one of the greatest Rock guitarists of the genre's golden era rediscovering his love for the music he helped make famous. However I'd argue that surrounding himself with the right people has also made a huge impact, with singers Doogie White (Rainbow) and Michael Voss (Mad Max) infusing The Temple Of Rock album from 2011 (from which his band now take their name) with energy and authenticity; resulting in an excellent return to form. Bridge The Gap adds an ambitiousness Schenker hasn't possessed for decades, a real fire in his belly once more.

Voss sang on Temple Of Rock, writing and producing as he did so, while White took to the road to promote the album. Here White takes the mic and lyric writing roles, Voss the producer's chair, ensuring that Bridge The Gap gets the best of both worlds. Add to that the rhythm section of ex-Scorps Francis Bucholz (bass) and Herman Rarebell (drums), and the underappreciated Wayne Findlay (guitars/keyboards), and Schenker has, once again a band to be proud of. Thankfully his own signature pyrotechnic fret work is also firmly in evidence, as is his songwriting skill.

Therefore it comes as absolutely no surprise that Bridge The Gap is every bit as good, if not even better than Temple Of Rock, with White's more overtly forceful tones bringing more Classic to the Rock Voss served up last time. Rainbow are often a good touching point, with even the odd hint at something heavier and while the bluesy cool of UFO is nowhere in evidence, if MSG were a band who got you going, then Bridge The Gap will do exactly that all over again.

Cleverly, there are a few different flavours on show here, "Temple Of The Holy" slow, deliberate, yet melodic, "Land Of Thunder" running at full pelt, drums pummelling, bass throbbing, "Bridges We Have Burned" slows things down, while still hitting hard; being a song full of brooding atmosphere. However it is "Lord Of The Lost And Lonely", with its off kilter beat and catchy chorus, "To Live For The King", which oozes Dio era Rainbow perfectly and the full on snare drum rattle of "Because You Lied" which really hit the nail squarely and aggressively on the head. The bonus version of the album (which I haven't heard) also adds "Faith" with long time on, off Schenker collaborator Don Dokken on vocals, but in truth the main body of work here is enough to convince that Bridge The Gap is an excellent slice of prime time Schenker.

As with Schenk's last album, Bridge The Gap is better than it has any right to be and way better than a few years ago we could ever have thought possible. Keep the celebrations going, the Mad Axeman is back and this time he ain't so mad!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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