Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock
BRIDGE THE GAP
Michael Schenker is one of those guys where you either are 1000% in,or you really don't care at all about what he's doing. To me personally, I've just never understood the incredible amount of hype surrounding him. I get that he made a huge mark on the rock world with UFO and a somewhat less statement with Scorpions, but in the end, I can listen to either of those bands or anything since and really not hear anything earth shattering on guitar. Eddie Van Halen he's not. Still, there are tons of people that worship him, so good for him for finding such a strong allegiance.
Worshippers and us casual listeners pretty much agree though that his output since SAVE YOURSELF as McAuley Schenker Group has been, for the most part, fairly below average. There's been a few things that have been solid, but for the most part, Schenker has has 20 years of forgettable music. He's tried several different lineups to find a good combination, but he's never recaptured anything even close to the UFO or Scorpions days. I would imagine that, at least on some level, that's why he did this Temple Of Rock project with former Scorpions members Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz, as well as his long running bandmate Wayne Findlay of the MSG days. You have to think that he longed for recapturing that magic, at least on some level.
It's too bad that genie has long since found a new bottle to live in. While BRIDGE THE GAP is far better than a lot of Schenker's output for far too many years, it's a tedious listen that you quickly bore with as you make your way through the album. This is not to say that it doesn't have some good moments on it. "Rock And Roll Symphony" is one of the better songs that Schenker has done in a very long time; a fast song with a lot of energy and one of the more innovative, albeit simple, driving riffs Schenker has done in awhile. The same can be said about "Land Of Thunder", although it sounds remarkably similar to the aforementioned "Rock And Roll Symphony".
The problem though is so much of the rest of the release is just plain boring. Even the vocal skills of the largely underrated Doogie White can't save dullard tunes like "Too Live For The King". "Temple Of The Holy" tries to sound epic, but ends up plodding dully for what seems like a neverending 3 ½ minutes. As if that wasn't enough, "Shine On" follows the same formula, and fully ends any energy and emotion you might have had toward the disc.
PITRIFF RATING - 62/100 - Again, this is not the worst thing you will hear from the Schenker camp, but it's definitely one of the least memorable releases. Sad to say, but there's a lot of those. BRIDGE THE GAP is, hopefully, just that - a bridge between the abysmal IN THE MIDST OF BEAUTY or TEMPLE OF ROCK and something that resembles his glory days. At this moment though, it's little more than a crosswalk that I won't remember venturing across.