Apart from his classic work with UFO, from a pure heavy metal and hard rock standpoint, most metalheads consider Michael Schenker's 1980-1984 solo period to be his high-water mark. And after checking out the 2008 compilation Best of the Michael Schenker Group 1980-1984, you'll understand why. After splitting from the aforementioned UFO, it appeared as though Schenker was on a mission to show the world that his exit from the band would not affect his playing in the slightest. And as heard on such tracks as "Armed and Ready," and a pair of instrumentals -- "Captain Nemo" and a live version of "Into the Arena" -- this rang true. And you've got to love "Attack of the Mad Axeman," which from a song title and lyrical standpoint, would have fit perfectly on the fictional Spinal Tap opus Smell the Glove. You even get a nod to Schenker's UFO days as well, with a fine live reading of "Doctor Doctor." While newcomers to the wonders of Schenker's six-string wizardry would probably be better off starting with a UFO comp or Strangers in the Night, Best of the Michael Schenker Group 1980-1984 isn't too shabby of a lead-off selection, either.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato