April 29, 2022

MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, the band led by legendary German guitarist Michael Schenker, has released a new single, "A King Has Gone". The track and its intro, "Calling Baal", also available on MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP's upcoming album "Universal", both have a special significance: sung by HELLOWEEN frontman Michael Kiske, it is a tribute to the immortal Ronnie James Dio, in particular to his performance on the 1976 hard rock classic RAINBOW "Rising". For this reason, Michael Schenker has brought together an original RAINBOW rhythm section consisting of Bobby Rondinelli and Bob Daisley. Schenker additionally enlisted keyboardist Tony Carey, who also played on "Rising", for the terrific Moog synth intro "Calling Ball" — a direct reference to the iconic intro of the 1976 album opener "Tarot Woman".

"Universal" will be released on May 27 via Atomic Fire Records. As we have come to expect from him, Schenker has once again enlisted a number of prestigious fellow musicians for the recording of his new studio production, among them, as main vocalist Ronnie Romero (RAINBOW, VANDENBERG),who will also be MSG's frontman on their upcoming tour, Kiske and Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR),keyboard player Steve Mann (LIONHEART),drummers Simon Phillips (TOTO, THE WHO),Brian Tichy (WHITESNAKE, FOREIGNER),Bobby Rondinelli (RAINBOW) and Bodo Schopf (ELOY),as well as legendary bassists Bob Daisley (BLACK SABBATH),Barry Sparks (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, DOKKEN) and Barend Courbois (BLIND GUARDIAN, ZAKK WYLDE),with Tony Carey as a very special guest.

Like its predecessor "Immortal" (2021) and the MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST albums "Resurrection" (2018) and "Revelation" (2019),"Universal" was produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss (LESSMANN/VOSS, MAD MAX) at Voss's Kidroom Studio, which has become something of a creative home away from home for Schenker.

"Michael Voss is happy to wait until I have worked out an idea and takes the time to really get to know the song, simultaneously developing ideas for the vocals," Schenker describes the fruitful collaboration which has one cog intermesh with the other. "Then we work out the drums, bass and some keyboard parts together. He always has plenty of great ideas up his sleeve."

There are few rock guitarists on this planet who have had such a lasting influence on so many renowned musicians as Michael Schenker. With his outstandingly fluid style, inexhaustible wealth of ideas and instinctive feel for hooks and melodies, Schenker is a living legend who, despite his longstanding and distinguished history, still impresses with his unflagging energy and drive. The blond stringsman from Sarstedt, Germany began his international career in the early 1970s with the SCORPIONS, achieved worldwide fame after joining British rock group UFO and then seamlessly continued his exceptional global success story under his own name, as well as with acts such as MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, TEMPLE OF ROCK and MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST. Schenker and his career, which has spanned more than fifty years, are absolute exceptions in the otherwise short-lived music industry.

Compositional highlights abound on "Universal", from the haunting opener "Emergency" and the subsequent "Under Attack" with its casually driving groove to "The Universe", featuring an atmospheric duet by Ronnie Romero and Gary Barden, "Wrecking Ball", performed as brilliantly as ever by Ralf Scheepers, and "London Calling" with its homage to the British capital's musical spirit.

In line with all these highlights, the spectacular album cover designed by Zsofia Dankova (POWERWOLF, among others) features Schenker in a futuristic spaceship, floating high up in orbit. The artwork is based on the guitarist's own visions.

"I had the original idea for the album cover a few years ago, but only now does it seem to fit perfectly," he says. "So I sent some older sketches to my label Atomic Fire Records, and based on this the final artwork and album title were created."

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