By Andrew Bansal
Over the past 42 years since their inception, British rock legends UFO have been one of the most prolific bands going around, with as many as 20 studio albums to their name. But despite having already provided us with such an abundance of classic, unforgettable music, they refuse to live on past glory and continue to release new material on a consistent basis. Their 21st studio album “Seven Deadly” is the next step in their musical journey, and not a bad one at all.
“Fight Night” gives the album a pretty laid back, feel-good start. Phil Mogg sounds great right from the outset. He carries the song almost singlehandedly until the guitar solo kicks in, a signature Vinnie Moore solo which is very easy on the ears. After this promising start, the album goes into the next gear with “Wonderland”, a tune that’s more up-tempo, and will certainly catch on among fans quite quickly. Vinnie Moore once again shows his class through the guitar solo in this tune, and proves himself as a multi-dimensional musician. The next song “Mojo Town” slows things down, but is actually one of the richest pieces of music on the entire album in my opinion. Mogg and Moore are at their best, the rhythm section sounds delightfully heavy, and the slowness of the tune allows the listener to take it all in.
While Mojo Town is slow, it’s still very much an upbeat tune. That’s not the case with the following track “Angel Station”, which is completely downbeat, and is more like a ballad. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite song on the album, but nonetheless, it’s definitely a good variation from the rest of the album. “Year Of The Gun” is very much similar to “Fight Night” in terms of tempo, but unlike the opening tune it doesn’t have the cowbell sound in it, and thus has a conventional hard rock feel to it, a quality that will be well appreciated by fans I’m sure.
The album continues on its undulating path with immensely enjoyable tunes like “The Last Stone Rider” and “Steal Yourself”, specially the latter as it’s slow enough to allow for Phil Mogg to hold his notes for longer, while also giving more room for Vinnie Moore’s guitar work. “Burn Your House Down” is a sad tune, an emotion that’s expressed brilliantly by the music on it. “The Fear”, in perfect contrast, is the heaviest song on the album, and the rhythm section is most prominent on this one. The final track “Waving Good Bye” musically sums up the album really well and gives it an apt ending, and it’s clear from Vinnie Moore’s work on this one that he saved his best for last.
At this point, I would pick “Mojo Town”, “Year Of The Gun” and “Steal Yourself” as the best songs on the album, but this is one of those albums that you can play straight through. At 46 minutes, its length is just about perfect for this style of music, and as soon as the play button is hit on the opening song, it gets into a groove of its own and has a very smooth flow to it. For that reason, I think this will be a great album for the road, and the perfect soundtrack to a relaxed evening at home.
This is as good as Phil Mogg has ever sounded, and at the age of 63, he shows an incredible range of vocals on this album. And as mentioned earlier, Vinnie Moore is fantastic on guitar. Andy Parker and Paul Raymond blend in with the vocals and lead guitar and provide us a solid rhythm section. On “Seven Deadly”, UFO have proved exactly why they are still going after all these years. The reason is simple. They still write great songs.
I must mention though that I fail to understand how the album’s title is related to its songs, or to its cover artwork. Perhaps I’ll find out more about that if and when I get to interview someone from the band. But it doesn’t really matter too much, because the music is what counts above all else.
This is classic hard rock at its purest, and should end up as another feather in the cap for UFO. A superlative effort from the perennial rockers.
Related: Andy Parker interview
US Release Date: February 28th 2012
Year Of The Gun
The Last Stone Rider
Burn Your House Down
Waving Good Bye