22 studio albums...that's a mighty achievement for any band, but even more incredible when you think of all the turmoil that has surrounded Britain's hard rock/metal legends UFO for the better part of 40+ years. A myriad of line-up changes and battling of the so called 'personal demons' over the years looked for a while like they would really take their toll on these heavy rock veterans, but in recent years, with the arrival of guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore in 2003, the band have that shot of adrenaline they've long needed, the band cranking out a slew of strong studio releases and stellar live performances that now brings us to 2015s A Conspiracy of Stars. Once again, Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Raymond (keyboards, guitar), Andy Parker (drums), Paul De Luca (bass), and Moore have put together a vibrant collection of powerful tunes that keeps the UFO tradition alive.
In all of the albums the band have done with Moore, there's always been a nice mix of the metallic hard rock the band have always been known for with a healthy dose of blues, and that once again is the focus here, though A Conspiracy of Stars might actually be a tad heavier than its predecessors. Opening 1-2 punch of "The Killing Kind" and "Run Boy Run" both kick into full throttle, pedal-to-the-metal heavy rock, driven by some terrific riffs & solos from Moore, Mogg's powerful vocals, and tumultuous rhythms courtesy of Parker & De Luca. "Ballad of the Left Hand Gun" takes a more bluesy stance, featuring a passionate vocal from Mogg, and "Sugar Cane" rocks hard and delivers a catchy chorus. "Devils in the Detail" is a moody rocker that sees Moore crank out some molten riffs and scorching blues rock solos, supported nicely by Raymond's atmospheric keys. Raymond's Hammond organ tones are front and center on the tasty hard rock of "Precious Cargo", and the groove laden "The Real Deal" is another great example of just how well these guys can still write a catchy rock tune and let Mogg put the listener in the palm of his hand. That's the case on "One and Only" as well, another hook filled hard rocker highlighted by layers of keyboards and smoldering guitar licks, while the blistering "Messiah of Love" is trademark UFO, complete with nasty guitar riffs and a venomous Mogg, Parker also working overtime on his drum kit and pushing the band to their limits. "Rolling Rolling" almost sounds like Deep Purple with those insistent Hammond organ & guitar riffs, and the bonus track "King of the Hill" ups the metal ante with some molten Moore riffs, heavy Hammond, and killer grooves.
If memory serves me right, I think I declared UFOs last release Seven Deadly the best of the Vinnie Moore era, but that opinion is seriously being challenged by A Conspiracy of Stars, another really strong album from these legends. There just seems to be no slowing down for this band, and as they hit the road to visit a venue near you, make sure you soak this new one up and go out and support all the hard work they continue to give back to their fans.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
- THE KILLING KIND
- RUN BOY RUN
- BALLAD OF THE LEFT HAND GUN
- SUGAR CANE
- DEVILS IN THE DETAIL
- PRECIOUS CARGO
- THE REAL DEAL
- ONE AND ONLY
- MESSIAH OF LOVE
- ROLLING ROLLING
- KING OF THE HILL (Bonus Track)