UFO - Seven Deadly (SPV/Steamhammer)

UFO continue to evolve, even after 43 years in the game. That's pretty good going...
Release Date: 
26 Feb 2012 - 11:30pm

UFO vocalist Phil Mogg is one of the true greats of rock n’roll. A master storyteller always attracted to the dark side of street living, his tales of the down, dirty and downright debilitated have been a mainstay through what is now a career in its fifth decade for one of rock’s most underrated bands. His voice is on the way out now, certainly in comparison to the band’s glittering seventies output, but the quality of the man’s songwriting still continues to delight and amaze in equal proportion. Seven Deadly is as hard-hitting a slab of UFO music as we;ve heard in a while, Mogg’s slowed down, slurred-out drawl being bolstered with some fiery guitarwork courtesy of shredmeister turned blues rocker Vinnie Moore. The opening brace of tracks, Fight Night and Wonderland, kick up more than enough dust to keep a band a quarter of UFO’s age on its toes, the chugging riff of the latter will be of particular delight to rockers of a certain age.

Mogg’s smooth croon or yore has become something of a tortured howl in places, but for the most part this is of little consequence because the man has always relied heavily on playing the part of narrator in his songs, talk singing his way through his sleazy tales of the unexpected. Seven Deadly is no different, though come chorus time there’s a little more bolstering going on in the backing vox department, but quite frankly who cares? However he delivers the words he’s doing so over the top of the best set of songs UFO have delivered in a long time, Take Mojo Town for example. It’s a stinging blues number built on the absolutely solid bedrock of drummer Andy Parker’s four to the floor hammerblow percussive drive. Meat and potatoes for sure, yet the combination of Mogg and Moore – the latter in particular here standing out, unleashing a constantly evolving stream of riff and lick mania – takes the song out of the ordinary and into the area marked ‘something special’.

Angel Station is, as our Geordie readers might say, purely belter. Another slow blues, it features Mogg’s best vocal work on the album as he tugs on the heart strings with a bittersweet atonement for his part in a love gone sour. Lyrically this song is Mogg at his very best – and that’s very good indeed.

Year of the Gun doesn’t work quite so well, though it's by no means a duffer; Steal Yourself is similarly prosaic in places, but once more Moore comes to the rescue with some supremely tasteful guitar work, as he does throughout the remainder of the album.

So there you have it. The UFO of the past has shed its radio-friendly super slick skin to become a fully paid up blues rock beast, and whilst some may mourn the lack of such ear candy candidates as Lights Out or Too Hot to Handle (though the excellent Waving Goodbye comes close), the band have metamorphosed very cleverly into something that will be able to prosper for a while longer yet. Good luck to them.