UFO – Phenomenon (Review)

UFO – Phenomenon (1974)

With two studio albums behind them, UFO took off in 1974 with the recruitment of the German mad axeman Michael Schenker and the release of their excellent third album Phenomenon.

The spacey tendencies of the band’s earlier work remain in the cosmic balladry of tracks like Space Child and Crystal Light and vocalist Phil Mogg shines on these mellower tracks. But Schenker shows what he can do on the album’s rockers: peppering opener Oh My with fluid leads,  chugging infectiously on Doctor Doctor and offering up a veritable guitar goldmine on Rock Bottom. Side two is less memorable but contains two highlights in the majestic Queen Of The Deep and Too Young To Know: a great example of the kind of ultra-catchy storytelling rock that would become the band’s speciality.

More accomplished albums would follow and cement UFO’s place as classic rock giants but Phenomenon more than lives up to the promise of its titular billing with its raw and innocent mix of riffy, trippy boogie. It’s a big favourite of mine and has a uniquely proto-metal place in the UFO discography. Essential listening if you enjoy the early outings of Priest, Scorpions and Budgie and want to hear the development of a style that would be heard later, louder and heavier, in the output of NWOBHM bands such as Maiden, Saxon and Diamond Head.

HMO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

[UFO – Queen Of The Deep]

*note that older versions have ‘Oh My’ swap sides with ‘Too Young To Know’ (also occasionally mis-spelled as ‘Too Young To No’!)

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33 thoughts on “UFO – Phenomenon (Review)”

  1. That’s a great cover, eh?

    I think I have two albums here, but can’t recall ever listening to them. Maybe I should prioritise that… and Budgie… I still need to listen to Budgie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Still think Mechanix is there best studio album whereas Strangers is indeed there best live album!
    My 2 cents worth…
    Great writeup as I have seen these albums but have never really checked em out!
    Having said that MSG’s One Night At The Budokan is the real deal watch for the review in the next week or so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting… never really hear a lot of people vote for Mechanix! I think I’d pick Wild, Willing and Innocent over that for the 80s stuff but the Schenker albums are the best IMO.

      I agree with you on Strangers and that MSG live is brill. Look forward to reading that.

      Like

      1. For me it was about when I discovered them which was Mechanix …Making Contact was decent as well esp Blinded By A Lie….what an opening scorcher of a track…
        Crazy that Billy Sheehan played Bass on that tour…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. After Making Contact I bought the EP which came out around 87-88 it was ok nit great another than a few live retro shows like Headstone thats about it…
        Yeah Mechanix I know for fact is not there strongest work but its just the fact thats where I discovered em….I’m with you though as The Wild Willing Innocent is a great album as well…
        Martin Popoff wrote a great book on UFO…lots of great interviews …

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love Schenker. One of my biggest influences as a guitarist…and same for so many others. A kids I grew up was in MSG for ten years plus until Steve Mann seems to snagged the spot recently. Really a trip to see a kids I knew on stage with Schenker when we used to watch MSG videos back in the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Those naked dudes are standing real close to each other, would only take a slight miscalculation, or a momentary shifting of stance for all manner of embarressment to ensue. I wonder if that’s why they toook to the blow and booze so readily after this?

    Liked by 1 person

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