HardReviews 5
by Martin Popoff

MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - Hardrock Legends Vol. 2

As a purist, I wanna review the CD of this, but yes, let it be known, all the sets of this series are available as budget-y CD and slightly nicer nifty digipak DVD issues (and by the way, given the vintage, the DVD of this is pretty rudimentary and most notably, darkly lit). OK, what we get here is quite the historical set, 'cos the drummer on board is Cozy Powell. Why this is extra cool is that Cozy didn't join the band until the second album and this is a 1981 show (in Hamburg) featuring almost all the first album, plus four UFO classics (zzz). Furthermore, the debut MSG album featured Simon Phillips on finicky artful drums, and Cozy's the direct opposite of that, especially right here, bashing the hell out of these songs, playing them fast and bombastic, giving them a life they never had on the aseptic debut. Plus it's cool that Paul Raymond is on board rocking the rhythm guitar, the classic Chris Glen on bass, and then up front, Gary Barden, who is in fine form (OK, more than a few bum notes), singing his heart out, phrasing like a star, daring with his melody. Michael seems sober, so all is well there, but yes, I can't get over how the whole thing just blurs like a high-octane rash crash of cymbals - amusing and inspiring and what a classic metal band playing something we don't get to hear too often, namely the first goddamn Michael Schenker Group record. In contrast, 'Rock Bottom', 'Natural Thing', 'Doctor Doctor' and 'Lights Out'... who cares? Highlights: 'Lost Horizons', the band's Zep-epic played with panache, and opener 'Armed And Ready', a hugely under-rated party rocker that shoulda been a smash.
Rating 7.5