Cleopatra Records/Deadline Music
Release date: July 12, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The Legacy

For whatever reason, be it sheer boredom, an outward attempt to pay tribute, writer’s block, etc., the trend lately for many musicians is to do an album full of cover tunes. Joe Lynn Turner, Jake E. Lee, and George Lynch, to name a few, have all been through this phase recently. Now with the release of Heavy Hitters, guitar virtuoso, Michael Schenker has officially thrown his “hat into the ring.” The interesting thing is this album is not being billed as a “Michael Schenker” effort, but as a “Michael Schenker Group” (MSG) effort.

Unfortunately, this is not a discernable incarnation of the MSG all have grown accustomed to, as Michael has really put the emphasis on the “Group” within MSG. This time around, Michael employs no less then 25 “heavy hitting” musicians from Vinnie Appice to Simon Wright (i.e., the legends of Metal from A-W). The only consistency on these 10 tracks is the fact that Michael plays guitar on every song. Other then that, each track features a mish-mosh of superstars. An undertaking this huge in stature is usually a recipe for disaster. Remarkably, though, it works quite well on this album, even considering it is a cover tunes release.

The Reasoning

Most cover CDs are manifested around the notation that each track had a special place in the prime musician’s career or musical training process. Following that premise, if indeed Schenker had the same motivation, then inclusion of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” and Jimi Hendrix’s “I Don’t Live Today” seem like reasonable choices. The peculiarity lies in some of the other “strange” choices for inclusion on this particular platter — for example, MSG covers “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath, “Out In The Fields” by Gary Moore, “Hair Of The Dog” by Nazareth, and “Money” by Pink Floyd — three of these were released after Michael had already joined the Scorpions for the first time. Moore’s cover song ranks as more of a modern day classic, which couldn’t possibly have been instrumental in Schenker’s musical evolution during his earlier years. Also, did the world really need another rendition of the UFO classic “Doctor Doctor?” One can only guess the reasoning behind Schenker recording this classic once again (1998’s “Walk On Water” release contained a “new version” at the time).

The Music

The brightest spot on the release is “All Shook Up,” which really sounds nothing like Presley’s recording. The entire track is filled with melodic soloing and fills by Schenker, some of his finest work of late. “Doctor Doctor” deserves honorable mention due only to Jeff Scott Soto’s vocal performance (does this gent do any performance that’s anything less then top-notch?). Additionally, “War Pigs” is an interesting inclusion and interpretation that works, as is “The Hair Of the Dog” with its rather tongue-in-cheek “a son of a bitch” vocal parlance that will bring a grin to your face.

The Verdict

Overall, this is a very polished release that features some great solo work by Schenker, he’s really cleaned up his act and has come a long way. He currently must be the hardest working guitarist on the Hard Rock music scene. Also, this endeavor features some respectable performances by the Group’s “cast of characters” (a full list of contributing musicians follow this review). Heck (is this an appropriate interjection within a Metal CD review?), this disc warrants purchase just to drool over the CD’s back cover where it lists all these Heavy Hitting, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal icon musicians. Bottom line, as “various artists” CDs go, this is probably one of the best out there. A definite buy for Schenker guitar-licks-loving fans.


Michael Schenker – Guitars
Bob Kulick & Brett Chassen – Production

Song List: All Shook Up, Blood Of The Sun, Doctor Doctor, War Pigs, I’m Not Talking, Money, Out In The Fields, Hair Of The Dog, I Don’t Live Today, Politician

Group Features: Vinnie Appice, Sebastian Bach, Mike Baird, Gary Barden, Brett Chassen, Paul Di’Anno, Aynsley Dunbar, Tony Franklin, Mike Inez, Bob Kulick, Tony Levin, Marco Mendoza, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Jeff Pilson, Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Shaw, Eric Singer, Mark Slaughter, Jeff Scott Soto, Phil Soussan, Joe Lynn Turner, Leslie West, Edgar Winter, Chuck Wright, Simon Wright.


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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