Michael Schenker

Temple of Rock

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As would be expected given his résumé, veteran German guitarist Michael Schenker's 2011 album Temple of Rock is on the fence between hard rock and heavy metal. It's hard-charging, basic stuff in the style, the songs often dealing with romantic temptation, threats, and ecstasy, though "How Long" alludes to the agony undergone by families with soldiers fighting prolonged wars. The biggest surprise, in fact, is a brief introductory speech by William Shatner. There are other minor celebrity cameos by Leslie West (who plays an additional guitar on the closing "3 Generations Guitar Battle Version" of "How Long") and Carmine Appice. But the main show is Schenker on guitar and singer Michael Voss, who also wrote the lyrics to much (though not all) of Schenker's music. When things lighten up a little in the macho/angst department, the result is the album's highlight, "Saturday Night," a straightforward party-on-the-weekend tune that sounds like a refugee from heavy FM's late-'70s and '80s airplay.

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