UFO - The Visitor Review
by Matt Hensch
I begin this review with an honest claim: I have no knowledge of UFOs, but then again, who does? UFO, however, is definitely the one acronym that generates a greater amplification on England's hard rock scene rather than flying discs with green men. With a number of classic tunes layered over a biography grim and rejuvenating, UFO's latest stab at hard rock is fantastic throughout, no doubt about it.
Said record is dubbed The Visitor, a cunning yet fitting title. However, it is rather amazing to ponder UFO's large and difficult history, as this is their 20th record, but that fact should not scare one away if one loves watching the legends disprove ageism in imaginable ways. Much like Deep Purple's Rapture of the Deep, UFO's latest opus sets a new standard for legendary bands making a revolutionary comeback. It is one reaching into old-school habits while absorbing brave approaches that craft something so daring and focused, that it should be commended.
I do not find any irony in the fact that UFO is clearly at the top of their game throughout their 20th full-length production. Phil Mogg has never sounded better over blues-laden collages or fast rockers that made him an idol in the first place with that selective, powerful voice of his; not withered by age, his performance is sensational.
Surprisingly, UFO's arsenal of instrumentation is remarkably incredible as well. Paul Raymond and Vinnie Moore's riffs are wonderfully constructed, feeling powerful and ageless over the album's duration. These are debatably some of the finest hard rock riffs I have ever heard.
Although the album's direction is obviously simple, it is dynamically constructed through all ten songs. UFO takes "On the Waterfront" into a blues-driven area while the band quickly escalates a quicker, groove-driven direction alongside "Hell Driver" and "Stranger in Town," unquestionably the album's prime cuts. Sure there's no Schenker, but does there need to be? Just by glancing at this record, anyone can easily see the undisputed maturity developed over UFO's lengthy career, and something like The Visitor captures highs and lows, blacks and whites, fun and despair like a stunning biography.
It is no hidden clue that UFO is definitely past their modern success and musical prime, yet The Visitor truly redefines one of hard rock's walking legends, recalling their glory days when the band's classic lineup ran amok. However, if there is one party that is aware of what they have become, it is UFO themselves. The Visitor refreshes the old-school norms of classic rock wonderfully, but with a creative edge that opens a new door of colorfulness. Still, they know who they are and where they came, so this album is not some misdirected adaptation of days past is sour at best, but the real deal.
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