Under A Dark Sky

Uli Jon Roth

The Rock world's admiration for Uli Jon Roth has stood more 'tall' in regards to […]
By Grigoris Chronis
October 29, 2008
Uli Jon Roth - Under A Dark Sky album cover

The Rock world's admiration for Uli Jon Roth has stood more 'tall' in regards to the dynamic adoration for his post-SCORPIONS musical offerings. Bad music? R U nuts? The man's offered significant creations in his solo career, still it must have been the distinct differentiation he traveled in - with regards to the usual Rock standards - after he departed from the Hanover-based Hard Rock legends. Well, this year's Under A Dark Sky new release from Uli comes to verify the inimitable persona of the 54-year-old solar guitarist. Indeed, an atypical yet fine-looking album...again!
ELECTRIC SUN - Uli's  first vessel after departing from SCORPIONS - confirmed the Hendrix-meets-experimentalism blend wished so much by the artist (enough far from what the SCORPs offered in the 80s). A deeply political-thinking artist - even not that present in his 'sky' music - Roth dived (even) more into instrumental/symphonic/orchestra music pathways in the 90s. While joining his former multi-platinum comrades quite often onstage in gigs/festivals etc (many mumbled to his guest appearance at a SMASHING PUMPKINS gig in Germany in 2007-2008), news started to spread regarding his songwriting for a new album. And, now, here it is: Under A Dark Sky he shall ride.
Not that much of a Rock opera, as may labeled; 'a concept album' suits better. A spiritual album by a man that has not only stood the test of time but - in addition - seems to be in a rather ingenious period in his illustrious career. After a few spins you'll lyrically unveil a point-out reflection of today's world status presented by Uli and his musical companions, in a 'classical arrangement' brief songwriting elucidation and grandiose variety of tempos. OK, 'neoclassical Rock' is fine if you need just one sentence to describe the pieces in Under A Dark Sky but there's more than this, of course.
The guitarist's performance is immense: the sound, the soloing, the passion, the maturity, the inventive unfussiness. If few are the references to the ELECTRIC SUN days, the joy for admirers of albums/projects like SKY ORCHESTRA/Sky Of Avalon - Prologue To The Symphonic Legends/Metamorphosis... will grow up even more. This is helped by the successful selection of Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, RING OF FIRE, EMPIRE, ROYAL HUNT, THE CODEX) and Liz Vandall (SAHARA) who sing in multiple languages and offer such a multiplicity in emotions and prospects (helped by a whole choir at specific pieces). The same goes for the music itself, since pomp fecets exchange parts with more dramatic series then to elevate emotions in (even) white-spread Wagner-like merriments.
Of course, no use in pointing out specific songs is needed. Under A Dark Sky's eventual hope/trust should be treated as a whole. It's not a phenomenal album, still it seems to be an excellent release of symphonic/prog/neoclassical Rock in the unique Uli Jon Roth way. While being rather curious on how 'accurate' such a presentation will be onstage, Under A Dark Sky will normally be more than a good companion for a long time.

P.S.: Some great cover concept/artwork again...

8 / 10


"Under A Dark Sky" Track-listing:

Tempus Fugit
Land Of Dawn

  1. Techno Man

ii) Land Of Dawn
iii) Lion Wings
The Magic Word
Letter Of The Law
Stay In The Light
Light & Shadows
Tanz In Die Dammerung

  1. Destination Twilight

ii) Morgenrot
iii) Searchlights From Hell
iv) Seelenschmerz

  1. Inside The Titanic

vi) Fama Errat
vii) Requiem For The Nations
viii) Morituri
ix) Rex Tremendae

  1. Star Peace

xi) Tanz In Die Dammerung
xii) Silence

Uli Jon Roth Lineup:

Uli Jon Roth - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals (tracks 6 & 9)
Mark Boals - Vocals (tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, 10)
Liz Vabdall - Vocals (tracks 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10)
Peter Ewald - Vocals (tracks 1, 10)
Michael Flexig - Vocals (track 5)
Akasha Dawn Roth - Vocals (tracks 1, 10)
Gwen Adams - Vocals (track 9)
Kerstin Domros - Vocals
Michael Ehre - Drums
Nippy Noya - Ethnic Percussion
Chris Lowe - Orchestral Percussion

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