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UFO - The Visitor

Year: 2009
Genre: Hard Rock
01Saving Me
02 On The Waterfront
03 Hell Driver
04 Stop Breaking Down
05 Rock Ready
06 Living Proof
07 Can't Buy A Thrill
08 Forsaken
09 Villains & Thieves
10 Stranger In Town

British legends UFO are back with their latest release The Visitor, an album that marks their third studio platter with guitarist Vinnie Moore, but is also notable for the absence of founding member and bassist Pete Way, who is suffering from liver disease and was not able to take part in the recording of the CD. Soundwise, The Visitor picks up where both You Are Here and The Monkey Puzzle left off, as the band continues on with their gutsy hard rock and blues style that they seem content to cement themselves in.

On the first few listens, that very fact seems to have become a detriment to the band, as The Visitor initially has a somewhat generic feel, the classic British heavy rock sound that they made famous in the 70's and early 80's seemingly lost in favor of a more American hard rock sound featuring plenty of blues influence. A tune like "On the Waterfront" is a perfect example of this, a standard blues rock number that has cliche written all over it, or the Black Crowes styled "Rock Ready", complete with plenty of slide guitar that somehow sounds a little out of place on a UFO album. However, after repeated spins, The Visitor begins to uncover some of its treasures. "Saving Me" and "Hell Driver" both reveal themselves to be ballsy rockers, complete with Phil Mogg's powerful snarls and some tasty guitar licks from Moore. "Stop Breaking Down" proves to be one of the most passionate pieces here, Mogg's emotional delivery cutting through some beefy riffs and pounding drum work from Andy Parker. The ballad "Forsaken" sees Mogg trying his best Lynott/Springsteen impression, while the crunchy rocker "Villains & Thieves" features some cool honky tonk piano from Paul Raymond plunking down alongside Moore's crunch laden riffage. The strongest piece here though might be the Deep Purple inspired "Stranger in Town", as heavy riffs and organ take this rampaging song through many high points, Mogg sounding particularly angry and effective on this heavy rocker.

The Visitor ultimately prooves to be a solid entry in the UFO discography. It's neither a true classic or a weak offering, but a satisfying slice of modern hard rock by a legendary band. It's nice to see acts lile UFO, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and Nazareth still delivering quality music these days, decades after they made their original marks on the scene. Though The Visitor might have a tad too much blues rock for some (though if you are a fan of Humble Pie, Free, or Bad Company you might not mind that much), there's anough metallic moments here, and certainly plenty of Vinnie Moore brilliance to go around. He's certainly a different player than Michael Schenker, but he adds in bits of Schenker-isms here and there along with his own style, making for a truly inspiring performance.





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