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Michael Schenker

MSG were the Mad Axeman's first solo outing post UFO, and this early period represents some of his best and certainly most consistent material. This was classic hard rock that competed successfully with the NWoBHM.

1980's eponymous debut featured singer Gary Barden handle some great hard rock songs well, and the band were augmented by pianist Don Airey, bassist Mo Foster and drummer Simon Philips; a star studded cast but a bit of a session man set up. A strong set featuring the classic "Armed And Ready", and bolstered by single b-sides and five previously unreleased 1979 demos. ***½

1981's MSG was a more solid outing, with Cozy Powell, Paul Raymond on keyboards and rhythm guitar and Chris Glen joining Schenker and Barden. Jam packed with classics, including "Are You Ready", "Attack Of The Mad Axeman" and "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie", it's pretty essential for any fan of solid punchy hard rock. Seven previously unreleased live tracks bolster well. This was probably MSG's strongest studio album. ****

The ultimate repackage here, though, is the live One Night At Budokan, now a 2CD with the complete show unedited. A few extra tracks and the pre-existing ones are now complete. Many Schenker highlights, this is one of the best rock live albums you'll ever here, remastered and expanded. A lengthy intro, before "Armed And Ready" and "Cry For The Nations" get you going.

The set features UFO's "Doctor Doctor", and "Courvoisier Concerto" sees Schenker in full Uli Jon Roth mode. Cozy's 633 Squadron/1812 drum solo is incredible too, with the crowd clapping and cheering along. *****

Review by Joe Geesin

Album review (Best of 80-84)

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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