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Non-Prog CD Reviews

UFO

Covenant

Review by Gary Hill

The newest release by hard rock favorites UFO is actually a two-disc set. The first disc consists of new material while disc two is a live album. The copy I am reviewing here only has disc one, however. The new studio material finds many of the old UFO sounds and trademarks, but is perhaps a bit rawer, both in terms of production and performance. This one should certainly please the long time fans of the band.

The lineup this time out is veteran drummer Ansley Dunbar, guitar hero Michael Schenker and vocalist Phil Mogg.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Love Is Forever
With a brief and unusual sounding acoustic intro, this one screams in with a classic, fast paced UFO riff. The chorus has a catchy hook and this one just plain feels like classic UFO.
Unraveled
This is another straightforward rocker, but a bit more crunchy than the last cut. The vocals here are particularly strong.
Miss the Lights
A bluesy sort of riff makes the basis for the intro here, but as it drops into the verse this is a rather unusual sounding, fairly stripped down rocker.
Midnight Train
A crunchy rocker with a solid bluesy old time UFO sound, this one has an awesome guitar solo.
Fool's Gold
A slower, more sedate, emotional balladic rock cut, this one is quite strong.
In The Middle of Madness
This one features crunchy sort of metal with an almost Cheap Trickish progression. It is all done in a very trademark UFO sort of way, though. It has a very intriguing and quirky bridge and a sound that is punky at times.
The Smell of Money
A strong hard-edged progression with classically oriented riffing leads this one off. It is a hard rocking cut with some great and varied textures. This is one of the best songs on the album. It really is full of surprises and touches on a lot of different styles from hard edged to mellow and balladic.
Rise Again
Beginning in a mellower sort of sound with classic UFO textures, this one suddenly kicks into gear with a familiar "feel like letting go." This is a hard-edged rocker with a good solid groove. It does return from time to time to the more sedate textures. The outro here is particularly effective.
Serenade
This one comes out of a very dramatic intro into a more straightforward segment. It has some very strong progish instrumental work and is another standout cut. This one features some considerably powerful vocal and guitar work and has some flamencoish textures, including a flamenco guitar solo. This is my pick for best track on the CD and is a wonderful progish extravaganza.
Cowboy Joe
A somewhat dark sounding metal intro gives way to a very crunchy riff-driven verse with a catchy chorus. It drops to a mellow and evocative acoustic guitar driven segment. The instrumental break jumps back up from there, hitting some hard-edged fusion riffing for a time.
The World and His Dog
A dark metal fast riff begins this one, but as it drops to the verse, the style is in a mellower, but incredibly classic UFO sound. It alternates between these two sounds. The instrumental break expands and builds on both of these modes, serving as a great tie-that-binds before moving into completely new territory with a hard edged ethnic sort of jam.

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