The Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack (1982, Chrysalis)
- Assault Attack
- Rock You To The Ground
- Desert Song
- Broken Promises
- Searching For A Reason
Total Time – 39:55
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Michael Schenker – Guitar
Chris Glen – Bass
Ted McKenna – Drums
After he was let go from Rainbow following the Down To Earth tour, Graham Bonnet released a solo album, Line Up (1981) and then joined the Michael Schenker Group to record what many consider the “crown jewel” of MSG albums…..Assault Attack.
Once again paired with a genius guitarist in Michael Schenker, Bonnet helps create a classic album that the rest of the MSG catalogue will be compared to. This time around, Graham was able to contribute to the songwriting, especially the lyrics. This makes Assault Attack better than Down To Earth as it was a full band effort rather than Blackmore handing the tunes to Bonnet and saying, “Just sing.”
Assault Attack and Rock You To The Ground kick off the album as a true metallic combo, blending Bonnet’s soaring vocals to Schenker’s Euro-Metal heroics. The first track smacks you in the mouth with speed and power. As you get up, Rock You To The Ground knocks you down again with it’s powerful mid-pace groove.
What makes the album for me is songs 3 through 5, the best three tracks on the album. Dancer was Metal made for FM Radio, full of melody and a sing-a-long chorus. Schenker rips and riffs all over this song and adds one blistering solo. Samurai starts with a Schenker solo intro and just drops into a galloping pace. Bonnet and Schenker blazing a trail and then kicking it up a level come chorus time. Bonnet’s most powerful vocal on the record, haunting and anguished, you can feel the Samurai’s tale. Schenker provides the chunky riffs and the solo finds it’s way again at the end. The last of this trilogy, Desert Song, is the epic. 6 minutes woven between Schenker’s mastery and Bonnet’s tale of woe. It’s dark and brooding, sounds of metallic anguish.
Settling back into the Hard Rock groove for Broken Promises and Searching For A Reason, we hear more of the Schenker/Bonnet magic. I could see either song as an FM single. Ulcer is Michael’s solo spotlight that I usually ignore.
One album and done. Graham is ousted after an incident on stage the gig prior to the Reading Festival…..replaced by the man he replaced, Gary Barden. What a shame! The album is so good that the songs would easily translate live, I’d bet that they’d be even better! This was my introduction to Graham Bonnet and MSG so this is my favorite album by both men. I don’t think either has eclipsed this album with their future work and they both have been a part of some truly great albums afterwards. One of my “desert island” albums, easily enters my Top 10.