Legendary guitarist certainly keeps himself busy these days. Since parting ways once again (and perhaps for good) with UFO, Schenker has once again assembled MSG, this time around with hot-shot bassist Stu Hamm, singer Chris Logan, and drummer Jeremy Colson. The results are typical Schenker melodic hard rock filled with fluid solos, driving rhythms, and tight arrangements.
Upon the first few listens, Arachnophobiac sounds fairly similar to many of the more recent works from the guitarist. "Illusion" is a somewhat generic rocker with heavy blues licks and clunky lyrics ("you're life's an illusion, you're heading out to sea, you're wading through quicksand-it's getting hard to breathe"), which rear their head again on the otherwise catchy and chunky title track. "This is an infestation, changing the sheets won't do, it needs a fumigation, and I don't wanna be there when they crawl out!" Sounds pretyt silly, and believe me it is, but Schenker's thick and meaty riffs and nimble leads save what is an otherwise catchy but laughable song. There's a fair share of anthems here, such as the rousing "Rock & Roll Believer", "Evermore", and the nasty "Weathervane." Schenker shows that he hasn't forgotten how to come up with killer "riff-rock", as evident on "One World" and "Break the Cycle", two hard rockers that feature thick guitar chords and the powerful vocals of Logan. I was expecting a little more from Hamm, who seems invisible for much of the CD until "Alive", a complex metal romp that sees the bassist weave some intricate bass lines alongside Schenker's lethal licks.
Arachnophobiac is proof positive that Michael Schenker and company still have some life left in their tank, as there are lots of catchy riffs and melodies here to keep the legions of fans happy. Still, part of me says that we have heard this all before, and better.