The Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack (1982)

MSG - Assault Attack

The Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack (1982, Chrysalis)

  1. Assault Attack
  2. Rock You To The Ground
  3. Dancer
  4. Samurai
  5. Desert Song
  6. Broken Promises
  7. Searching For A Reason
  8. Ulcer

Total Time – 39:55

Band Lineup:
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Michael Schenker – Guitar
Chris Glen – Bass
Ted McKenna – Drums

Michael Schenker official website
Unofficial Michael Schenker website
Graham Bonnet official website

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.

5 comments on “The Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack (1982)

  1. That was a great review,it’s been years since i’ve listen to asssault attack,but it always had a unique sound to it a classic.
    Graham Bonnet was an awesome vocalist,one of the best.
    Gary Barden was totally pathetic on vocals probably one of the worst vocalist in heavy metal.

  2. I consider this album to be in the top five greatest albums in Rock/Metal history. It certainly features some of the greatest efforts ever by the members involved. Graham Bonnet proves to be quite a great songwriter (judging from this, Ritchie made a big mistake losing him) as well as a devastating vocalist. Michael Schenker never sounded so on fire as he did on this album, no wonder Ozzy wanted him. Chris Glen and Ted McKenna are defintely not joking on this either, check out McKenna’s bludgeoning, Cozy-Powell-on-steroids performance oin the title track. Glen contributes VERY interesting counterpoint on the bass throughout; the four together making this the official Bible of Heavy Metal Chamber Music.

    As far as Ulcer foes, make sure to spin this again, and hear the blueprint for what later became Joe Satriani’s Surfing With the Alien.

  3. I want to sum up MSG’s Assault Attack in one word-masterpiece. You listen to Graham Bonnet and he sort of transforms you into a different world altogether..I wish they did 10 more albums like this..but that’s what i just said it’s a masterpiece and they are always one.

  4. M.S.G. Assault Attack , para mi uno de los mejores albumes de este excelente guitarrista aleman, a modo personal creo que su mejor epoca solista es entre 1980 y 1985, me encantan los albumes con gary barden mi preferido es M.S.G.2, el primer album es muy bueno pero la voz de gary ni el album suenan tan bien como el segundo
    tambien el built to destroy es un buen album y marca la vuelta de gary despues de la marcha de graham bonnet aunque el album es mas suave y la produccion es regular ademas de la inclusion de teclados, pero volviendo al assault attack , lastima que graham se haya marchado o no haya quedado algun registro en vivo de aquella epoca y que ademas no toque canciones de este album en vivo…el album cuenta con una excelente produccion un sonido aplastante composiciones muy buena y heavy rock,la voz de graham se acopla perfecto a las canciones ….bueno mas tarde en alcatrazz no lo hizo nada de mal. y en impelliteri tampoco….
    un muy buen disco assault attack uno de los mejores d ela discografia de M.S.G.
    como tambien les recomiendo el M.S.G. 2 – EXCELENTE

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