Right lads and ladies, put down your latest (and lovingly reviewed) copy of the latest Whitesnake vinyl, and get your lug-oles around Michael Schenker‘s Spirit On A Mission. Here we have a mostly-baked and still steamy metal pie with classic rock inflections that’ll fill yer belly. Okay, enough of that nonsense. I’ll try and keep the metaphors to a minimum. Similies, however, will be coming quicker than Barry Allen.
I want to get this out the way first; this is either a one-man band, or Michael Schenker needs to fire his drummer, because the biggest problem I have with Spirit On A Mission is the drum tone and sound; it sounds programmed, dull, and quite frankly distracts from what is otherwise a solid effort from a Queensrÿche/Whitesnake affair. With this out the way, the guitar and vocal work is great, and only misses a few beats.
The tone in “Live and Let Live” is like an early Metallica, thundering off at the gate and gives us a glimpse into the few thrash influences that are at the forefront of the album’s formula. “Bulletproof” plays out like a thrash odessey, with a “Holy Wars….Punishment Due” style breakdown that left me craving my vinyl collection. The thrash sandwich finishes off with final track “Restless Heart”; a blistering and angry piece with great vocal work.
If this is a one-man band, then our plucky champ missed a trick by not triple-harmonizing on the chorus of “Vigilante Man”. It’s straight from the Iron Maiden playbook and is definitely worth a listen. “Savior Machine” compliments the previous track with a chuggy guitar tone and riffy bass work that is reminiscent of a modern day Europe. The vocals are also worth a mention here, some great highs and cleans.
There’s, unfortunately, a few bits of unnecessary gumf that detracts from what could be an incredible outing from Schenker. The keyboards are incredibly distracting and in some cases dissonant, the Van Halen lead lines were too slow and got in the way of the choruses, and the vocals occasionally miss the mark.
The crowning achievement of Spirit on a Mission is “Somethimg Of The Night”. This hit all the right spots, with a quicker pace, great vocal range and roaring guitars, it is worth getting the release just for this, let alone the plethora of other hidden gems found within.
Overall, this is a very nuts-and-bolts album, with some diamonds in the rough that make it – slightly – a cut above most one-man-band releases. Our creator wears their influences on their sleeve, keeping an 80s vibe that suffers from occasional cookie cutter chorus, and misplaced keyboards. Definitely worth a stream.
See? Barely any metaphWELL FUCK YOU TOO.
Oh. This is a band. Like, an actual band. Fuck! Well, this clearly isn’t Schenker’s best work by far. It’s a shame that Rarebell clearly phoned this in, and it smacks of over-the-hill rock band. It’s a damn shame really, but then again, I’m just some hairy wanker who writes reviews on a website. So, go give it a go yourself.
1. LIVE AND LET LIVE
3. VIGILANTE MAN
4. ROCK CITY
5. SAVIOUR MACHINE
6. SOMETHING OF THE NIGHT
7. ALL OUR YESTERDAYS
9. LET THE DEVIL SCREAM
10. GOOD TIMES
11. RESTLESS HEART