RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

UFO - A Conspiracy of Stars
Steamhammer / SPV
http://www.ufo-music.info/
https://www.facebook.com/UFOofficial

 

Rating: B-

UFO is still alive and kicking, four and a half rocking decades down the road... which, in and of itself, is a minor miracle.  UFO has one of the most tumultuous histories of any hard rock band to take the world stage. A band most famous for having guitar virtuoso Michael Schenker and out-of-control party-animal Pete Way, today’s UFO soldiers on without either of these men.  I suppose the casualties of war have split the band in factions, leaving only those members who want to carry on the legacy and continue to create. 

One man who wants to be present and accounted for is guitarist Vinnie Moore.  He stepped in and took over the famous lead guitar slot in 2003.  On A Conspiracy of Stars, he has taken over the musical composition, save for one or two co-written by Paul Raymond and Phil Mogg, who still pens the lyrics for the band.  Moore does not try to be Schenker, as his musical vocabulary stands up on its own.  He is a more melodic player and is not afraid to play soft to loud, or shredding to blues, making this guy is a human guitar dynamo!  Mogg also takes up the cause of the every-man in his lyrics.  He is a man who has survived against the odds, and been knocked down numerous times, yet he continues to rise up and have his say.

The album was recorded in Britain, marking the first time in over twenty years UFO has recorded in their homeland.  For original members Mogg, Paul Raymond and Andy Parker this must have felt like a holiday.  UFO brought in a well-known producer in Chris Tsangarides to smooth out the rough edges and lend that important second set of ears to the mix.  It works. 

While this is a solid effort, the album lacks that one huge song.  Without that huge song, this one will likely do what the last several UFO albums have done... and that is be welcomed by the hard core fans, but ignored by the masses.  Now, that is not to say there are not good songs.  There is an entire CD of good songs here; it is just debatable if there are any great ones.  That does not diminish in any way the performance by Vinnie Moore, as he solos his ass off from start to finish.  Hard rock guitar players will welcome this one with open arms, as Moore impresses throughout.

There is a fine line between guitar soloing and overall song composition, however.  There is no “Lights Out” or “Rock Bottom” and let’s face it, something with that spirit and magnitude is what most UFO fans savor.  Save for Eddie Trunk, as he may be the biggest UFO fan on the face of the earth... he loves it all... and I get why he feels that way.  I am curious to see what Metal’s most famous on-air personality thinks of this one.  I would go as far as to say it’s better than the last couple of efforts, but I am shying away from calling it one of their greats.  I still say buy and support this incarnation of UFO, as despite not being the best they’ve done, it is still head and shoulders above most new music being released today.  

I would sum up A Conspiracy of Stars as a good record that will keep the band on tour for the next year or so.  This one belongs slightly in front of the middle of the pack, as the M&M Boys, Mogg and Moore, did a good enough job. 

LINE-UP:
Phil Mogg – vocals
Paul Raymond - keyboards, guitars
Vinnie Moore – guitars
Andy Parker – drums
Rob De Luca – bass

TRACKLISTING Digipak
01. The Killing Kind
02. Run Boy Run
03. Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun
04. Sugar Cane
05. Devils In The Detail
06. Precious Cargo
07. The Real Deal
08. One And Only
09. Messiah Of Love
10. Rolling Rolling
11. King Of The Hill (Bonus Track)

TRACKLISTING Jewel Case
01. The Killing Kind
02. Run Boy Run
03. Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun
04. Sugar Cane
05. Devils In The Detail
06. Precious Cargo
07. The Real Deal
08. One And Only
09. Messiah Of Love
10. Rolling Rolling

Tracklisting LP
Side 1
01. The Killing Kind
02. Run Boy Run
03. Ballad Of The Left Hand Gun
Side 2
01. Sugar Cane
02. Devils In The Detail
03. Precious Cargo
Side 3
01. The Real Deal
02. One And Only
03. Messiah Of Love
Side 4
01. Rolling Rolling
02. King Of The Hill (Bonus Track)

By Jeb Wright

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