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  UFO
'A Conspiracy Of Stars'
(Steamhammer/SPV)
Release Date: 23rd February 2015


Joe Geesin

joe geesin


ufo

Classic British rockers have made it to their 22nd studio recording (21st depending on the source) and the band sound as good as ever.

There's an air of excitement over this album (that certainly overrides any surprise) and rightly so because, while the band have had their ups and downs, the last few albums have been excellent, well received and returned the band to the charts, despite the loss of bassist Pete Way.

Founded in 1969 by the aforementioned Way and singer Phil Mogg, UFO started off as a hard rock band and soon moved in a more Metal direction. This was even more so after their first two albums when Michael Schenker from the Scorpions joined. 'Phenomenon', 'Force It' and 'No Heavy Petting' were, well, phenomenal, and put UFO on the map, as did the classic track 'Doctor Doctor' (a fan favourite and staple of almost every UFO and MSG concert since.

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A string of classic albums (including the 'Strangers In The Night' double live album) followed and the band have survived numerous line-ups that has been "revolving door" at times; Pete Way left in the 80s to form Fastway and Waysted, the band have split and reformed (twice), Schenker's returned a few times and the band have at various times also featured Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake), Billy Sheehan, John Norum (Europe), Simon Wright (AC/DC) and Jason Bonham amongst innumerable others. Proof that UFO are perennial classic.

So to the current album, which is kick-ass from the opening track. Building on the sound, the power and the success of 'The Visitor' (2009) and 'Seven Deadly' (2012), alongside Mogg the band features original and long-time returnee drummer Andy Parker, guitarist Vinnie Moore and regular pianist/rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond.

This line-up has been stable for ten years and they are joined by bassist Rob De Luca. Since Pete Way wound down and bowed out due to health issues in the late 00s, De Luca has fitted in well and has made quite a contribute to the album.

Recorded during 2014, it was rehearsed at Bernie Torme's Barn Room studios before moving to producer Chris Tsangarides' studio to record with Chris at the helm.

ufo

From the opening bars of 'The Killing Kind' it's a very heavy but polished sound. The guitar solo is bright, clear and melodic. 'Run Boy Run' typifies the band's current edginess; under the solos you there's a dark heavy crunchy riff; the band have developed this new angle on the classic UFO sound that's prevented any sameness or predictability. This is interspersed by the boogie feel of 'Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun' which features an acoustic guitar over the heavy rhythms. The electric guitar interjects nicely too.

There's a searing edge to the guitar on 'Sugar Cane' and 'Devils In Detail' and while the solos shred nicely they're not too overbearing or anal as they can be on Moore's solo work; a virtuoso who knows when to temper.

'Precious Cargo' is slightly slower and more uplifting, sung by Mogg with a real passion. 'One And Only' too is a bright and breezy nod back to the 80s.

The ten track album is pretty consistent throughout, and the 11th track bonus, 'King Of The Hill' (digipak and LP editions), which mixes riff and keyboards well is as good as the rest.

Mogg's vocals are solid; he's kept the power if not quite the range. The lyrics, like his passion, are down to earth and poetic. He doesn't appear to have changed much since I last (quite literally) bumped into him at the Astoria in 2006.

Yes the band are solid and on form but I wouldn't quite call it fresh because this mixture of new and old has been simmering over the last couple of outings. It's definitely one I'll go back to.








UFO Announce 2015 Tour Dates>


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