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The Visitor
SPV Records
Rating: 4/5

Wow. Another milestone. UFO’s 20th studio album (and third with US shred-king Vinnie Moore), “The Visitor” hits stateside this June and picks up where the last two left off, but this time out with a new dynamic. Ailing bassist Pete Way is unfortunately absent from the project (his duties being handled by RUNNING WILD alum Peter Pichl) and his barroom swagger is duly missed. Instead, the album shifts to being a classy affair, with any slack being picked up by the obvious flourishing chemistry between Messrs. Mogg and Moore. And indeed, it’s Moore that steals the show here as the album quickly becomes a showcase for his creative texturing. Be it his delta flavored slide work on “Saving Me” and “Rock Ready”, (harkening back to a “High Stakes And Dangerous Men” vibe) or just his great tone and note selection (“Can’t Buy A Thrill”) Vinnie completely understands his place in UFO and what made the likes of Schenker so special. Wonderfully inspired playing for the songs’ stake, and executed beautifully.

Phil’s voice is ageless and he’s still able to spin his great imagery into his cinematic narratives. And boy does he know how to sell it. Together they’re a deadly potent combination. Not to be left out, Paul Raymond has some fantastic moments as well (“Forsaken”, “Villains & Thieves”) adding just the right color to the proceedings.

Tommy Newton again returns to the production helm, this time out handing in a less lush, more immediate disc. Not the greatest mix I’ve ever heard (Andy Parker’s solid performance tends to get a little lost) but it does get the job done. Song wise “The Visitor” is definitely is a punchier effort than the somewhat subdued “Monkey Puzzle”, probably closer in line with 2004’s “You Are Here”. In all, another rock solid effort from one of my unsung heroes, proving they can still release top quality material 40 odd years on. I know I sound like Eddie Trunk here, but for those fans of classic 70’s hard rock that somehow missed UFO, do yourself the favor and finally check them out! Not many of their contemporaries are releasing stuff anywhere near as good. Four Stars.

Band Lineup:
Phil Mogg – Vocals
Vinnie Moore – Guitars
Paul Raymond – Keyboards, additional Guitar
Andy Parker - Drums

Track Listing:
Saving Me
On The Waterfront
Hell Driver
Stop Breaking Down
Rock Ready
Living Proof
Can't Buy A Thrill
Villains & Thieves
Stranger In Town


copyright 2009 - Greg Schmitt




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