"Seven Deadly"

By The Sun Jester

Released by Steamhammer/SPV, the opening track "Fight Night" sets quite a tone. The huge riff, insistent cowbell, and deep groove say without any pretension or shame that this is a rock and roll album. While you never get the feeling that they are trying to reinvent the wheel, the band invests stock rock and roll attitudes and tropes with their own unique identity. A streaking, up-tempo guitar riff powers "Wonderland" and Phil Moog's bluesy growl spits out the lyrics with authority. It is interesting how UFO takes what, in the hands of another band, is essentially an unremarkable hard rock song, and elevates it through their focus and musicianship. Vinnie Moore delivers a blazing solo and the drumming is superb. The slurring stomp of "Mojo Town" grinds its way into your consciousness and Moog once again wraps his distinctive voice around this tale of hard times and harder luck. His voice never lands in the same place twice. The middle section of the song features another outstanding guitar solo anchored by the band's rhythm section. "Angel Station" has a softer, introspective edge, incorporating discreet acoustic guitars and faint swells of keyboard that create magnificent atmosphere. Once again, Phil Mogg's soulful rendering, bursting with regret and longing, compliments the powerful lyrics. The next song, "Year of the Gun", has another fine guitar riff that works perfectly with another hard-edged tale of a violent, unforgiving world where passions burn and happiness is fleeting.

"The Last Stone Rider" mixes American Western imagery with motorcycles and has great energy. There's a lot of potential for a great live song. Andy Parker's drumming lays down a superb, swaggering foundation for the band to build on. "Steal Yourself" is a brilliant, understated bluesy number with another great groove and powerful guitar work from Vinnie Moore. The band moves from strength to strength with "Burn Your House Down", a menacing, mid-tempo track full of intelligence, hard-won clarity, and fantastic music. Everything is working here - the sparing, but effective harmonies, a couple of top-notch solos from Vinnie Moore, and dynamic playing from the rhythm section. The harmonica-driven shuffle of "The Fear" oozes character and confidence, but rocks just as hard thanks to Vinnie Moore's guitar work. The album's finale, "Waving Goodbye", is a slight stylistic departure from the rest of the album. Melodic and more commercially minded, UFO shows how to write and record a song with commercial appeal that doesn't descend into kitsch or self-parody. With this new release, UFO sounds vital, confident, tight, and offer up an early contender for album of the year.