Here we have a double A-side single from the German guitar legend that is Michael Schenker. Funny term that in the twenty first century, "double A-side", which used to have physical significance when originally used to describe 7" vinyl singles, with a bold assertion that the "B side" was actually as strong as the "A side". Of course, it's not a literal reference to any kind of flip side when talking about the CD format (and no sides at all within the ever booming digital media market)... but "double A-side" seems to have persisted as a widely appropriated term. And it's an apt one here as 'Communion' and 'Saviour' are two of the strongest tracks from Schenker's new Temple of Rock Album, 'Spirit on a Mission', that was released in March this year.
Featuring ex-Rainbow/ex-Malmsteen singer Doogie White; guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay; and ex-Scorpions Herman Rarebell and Francis Bucholz on drums and bass respectively, 'Spirit on a Mission' lived up to the sum of its parts, with the expected high level of both performance and songwriting. With some songs in the mould of up-tempo rock and Teutonic speed metal, it's a couple of the mid and down-tempo numbers that've been lifted for this single. 'Communion' and its mid-paced rock dynamic largely adheres to a classic, feel-good Schenker vibe, although it's 'Saviour Machine' that shines far more for me. The latter's down-tempo, almost stoner impetus, with low-end, down-tuned riffage, works a treat with its laidback, yet hard hitting grooves. A mid-song ambient detour works well in punctuating the heaviness with a little contrast, and Schenker's captivating lead guitar tone weaves a euphonic magic into the heavy groove-infused passages. Phenomenal stuff.
Both tracks offer an insight into two sides of Schenker's current Temple of Rock vehicle, although it's a fair assumption that aficionados of the man's work will have snapped up 'Spirit on a Mission' upon its release, thus will already be aware of the full array of rock/metal divergences explored by the quintet. However, a well-timed reminder of their musical prowess will do no harm at all, as a DVD/BD filmed at their recent Madrid show is slated for release in 2016, as well as a series of shows supporting Judas Priest late-November/early-December, and a UK winter headline tour in January next year.
Review by Mark Holmes
6th Nov 2015
2) Saviour Machine
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a well-timed reminder of their musical prowess..."