SCORPIONS

"Live in Munich 2012" (Eagle Vision; 2016)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I've been fortunate enough to see the Scorpions live many times over the past couple of decades. The band has never disappointed, not only in delivering an energetic show but doing so while giving a solid musical performance. And they've been consistent, year after year, decade after decade, in a manner that few bands have.

Which is why I was so excited to see "Live in Munich 2012" come across my desk. I immediately stuck it in my CD player and sat back, waiting to enjoy some great live Scorpions music.

Yeah, well, it was a DVD. It didn't play in my CD player.

So I put it in my PS3 where it belongs and sat back and watched over an hour and a half of the Scorpions live from a little less than five years ago. And it was amazing. Not only did the band perform each song nearly flawlessly, they did so with a dynamic energy that exploded from the screen. You've heard the old cliché --  "It's like you were there!" -- and, in this case, that's very nearly true. Not only is the band amazing but the production pulls you into the action. It's almost as though you want to stand up after every song and cheer. The sound and visual quality are that good.

The stage production is something to behold as well. Fantastic background videos, plenty of pyrotechnics. This was a show to remember. I wish I'd been there to see it in the flesh but, boy, am I glad I've got a copy to watch on DVD.

If you're a Scorpions fan there's no way you won't like this video. The band is in amazing condition. Klaus Meine's voice is virtually unchanged. Guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs clearly love what they do and feed off the audience's energy, returning a musical energy of their own. But it's the tattoo on the back of drummer James Kottak that says it all: "Rock & Roll Forever!" No where is that more true than when the Scorpions are on stage.

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Return to Forever" (Sony Music Germany; 2015)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

The legendary Scorpions have released a great album via "Return To Forever." Considering these German masters of metal have been around a long, long time, they still can rip your ears off and make you remember when music had a great singer, blistering but solid guitar solos and drums that keep the marching rhythm in step. Its been a while since I had these guys running through my headphones and it's been too long. I saw the Scorpions back in 1986 with Jon Butcher Axis and it was a great show because arena rock was the norm back then. Now, it's all digital, but bands that stand the test of time aren't just timeless, they're the glue that holds rock music together.

This disc has seventeen cuts, over an hour of music and there isn't a track that needs to be skipped. Upon first listen you'll hear Klause Meine mention previous song titles and names of albums in the lyrics. He's reminding you to return to the forever songs that you've hidden in your mind; of songs that take you to a special time and place. Even though the Scorps have been playing music a long time they can still keep up with the changing styles of music. You can hear some vocal growls on "Return To Forever" and plenty of bluesy guitar to keep you wanting more.

If you've been wanting an album that rocks you and makes you remember the music you cut your teeth on then grab, "Return To Forever" in whatever media form you want. This is the stuff that brings music back to the center so it can be blasted out in every direction it needs to go.

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Comeblack" (Sony Legacy; 2012)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Comeblack" basically came about because the Scorpions realized that retirement sucks.

The band, after releasing their terrific "final" album (2010's "Sting in the Tail") and touring the world on their "Farewell" tour, apparently realized how much they missed being in the studio, how much they missed their adoring fans and how much they liked making kick-ass rock'n'roll. They decided to go back into the studio to give their fans an "encore" -- one more collection of Scorpions tunes to say goodbye.

But they did it in a weird way.

"Comeblack" is a collection of re-recorded Scorpions hits and covers of tunes by such bands as Soft Cell, The Rolling Stones, T-Rex and more. None of the tracks on "Comeblack" are bad but they are all ... well, unnecessary. The newly recorded Scorpions classics sound clean and fresh but they also lose a little of the high energy that made the originals so great. And the cover songs, especially Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" and The Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday," are fun and interesting but, again, it wouldn't be the end of the world if we never heard them.

I would recommend "Comeblack" if you're a hardcore Scorpions fan or if you find a used copy cheap enough at a local record store. It's a good enough listen. It's just that it seems, as I stated above, unnecessary. I would have rather had a collection of brand new Scorpions songs but "Comeblack" is enough to hold me over.

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Sting in the Tail" (Universal; 2010)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

At first listen, I found the the Scorpions final release, "Sting in the Tail," to be a good rock'n'roll record, but not a great one. Subsequent plays, however, have made me realize that my first impression was wrong. "Sting in the Tail" is a great rock'n'roll CD and a great Scorpions release as well. My initial problem wasn't the album itself, but rather my melancholy as I realized this was the last time I was going to be hearing from this legendary band.

As I played the CD again and again, I relished the chunky guitar riffs, the never-flagging voice of Klaus Meine, the unapologetic rock anthems, the slower power ballads. I reveled in the razor sharp leads, the crisp production and the soaring choruses. I thought about how many hours of listening pleasure this band has given me over the years, how many great concerts I'd seen and how the Scorpions were always there, even when rock'n'roll was at its weakest.

And I realized: Goddamn. I'm really going to miss these guys.

So I cranked up the volume on "Sting in the Tail" and I drunk it all in. And I realized that it really is a good album, and some of the songs could become Scorpions classics (perhaps not in the vein of "The Zoo" or "Rock You Like a Hurricane," but classics nonetheless). And I thought, "You know, I'd give this album three-and-a-half chainsaws even if it wasn't the Scorpions last studio album." And then I thought, "Screw it, I'll give it four chainsaws just because it's the Scorpions.

So there you have it. A great album by one of hard rock/heavy metal's best and most enduring bands. And, although I'd like to believe the sentiment in the final track, "The Best is Yet to Come," I don't think that will be the case. Sadly, I think the Scorpions will indeed call it quits after this last world tour. But, thankfully, we've got this and over twenty other Scorpions albums to listen to forever. And that's good enough for me.

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Sting in the Tail" (Universal; 2010)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Since 1972, the Scorpions have been making great music. Now, sadly, the era of the Scorpion has come to an end. 

The upside of this story is that their last recording, "Sting in the Tail," has been released.  I must tell you, I did not really care for the recording at first but, after a few spins, I have found that "Sting" has quite a punch. Over the years, The Scorpions have truly mastered the power ballad ("Still Loving You" and "Winds Of Change" just to name a few) and the last release has a great one called "Lorelei."

I think I was looking for something special, something to go out with a punch. What I got was a classic Scorpions release, full of great rock'n'roll. I must say, I am glad they ended the same way they started: simple, great melodic music done the only way they know how: high quality. 

Goodbye, friends! You will be missed but not forgotten.

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Humanity: Hour 1" (New Door; 2007)

Reviewed by Snidermann

There are only a few things in heavy metal that are a constant and The Scorpions are one of them. "Humanity: Hour 1" is the band's 21st album and first album in three years and, like their previous studio CD, "Unbreakable," (and virtually all other Scorps releases, for that matter) it is a testament to the unshakeable ability of this band to sound great even after nearly 35 years. 

Everything you look for in a Scorpions CD is here: Klaus Meine's awesome vocals (the man still sounds nothing short of great after all these years), the incredible band and their signature sound, crisp production and awesome songwriting. Scorpions fans will not be disappointed with this CD.

Release after release, The Scorpions continue to deliver quality rock'n'roll. They're one of the few bands that even make their power ballads work.

Billy Corgan, singer and guitarist of the Smashing Pumpkins, makes a special appearance on "The Cross."

Scorpions: Klaus Meine - vocals; Rudolf Schenker - rhythm guitars; Matthias Jabs - lead guitars; James Kottak - drums; Pawel Maciwoda - bass.

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Unbreakable" (Sanctuary; 2004)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I know, I know. R. Scott Bolton already reviewed the Scorpions' "Unbreakable." But it's such a bitchin' release that I thought I would give it some more ink. 

Right from the very first cut of "Unbreakable," you know you're in the presence of metal genius. Thirteen cuts, almost an hour of music, all of it great. 

The Scorpions are not resting on their numerous past successes here in 2004, but have instead recorded and released a true and vibrant metal masterpiece. This is the Scorpions in their truest form; music that jumps from the CD player with an intensity and force that rocks like they did thirty years ago. 

Check out http://www.the-scorpions.com for a sample of each of these killer metal tunes along with some updated information.

The Scorpions are back with a high energy attack that is sure to be one of the best releases of 2004. 

Scorpions: Klaus Meine - vocals, backing vocals; Rudolf Schenker - rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, solo guitar, backing vocals; Matthias Jabs - lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, slide guitars, voicebox; Pewel Maciwoda - bass; James Kottak - drums, backing vocals. 

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Unbreakable" (Sanctuary; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Recently, in a review of the great new Motorhead CD,  I stated, "How many bands can you count that continue to play and record music today that's as good as the music they played and recorded nearly thirty years ago? I can tell you my answer easily enough: One. And that band is Motorhead."

Although I'm not backing off on my Motorhead comment (no band has been as consistent for so long as Motorhead), I must amend my previous comment. With "Unbreakable," 32 years have passed since the Scorpions first released "Lonesome Crow," and - for my money - that band sounds as good as ever.

If you're looking for something new and fresh, then you need to look elsewhere. "Unbreakable" is classic Scorpions, with its clean, solid rock guitars, irresistible melodies and the unmistakable, seemingly ageless vocal stylings of Klaus Meine.

There are few new releases by veteran bands that give their longtime fans exactly what they're looking for, but "Unbreakable" (like Motorhead's "Inferno"), does just that. I can't say there's anything on this CD that matches "The Zoo" or "Rock You Like a Hurricane," but there isn't a weak track to be found here. Scorpions fans will be proudly pumping their fists in the air again and with good cause. Apparently, this is another classic rock band that refuses to die.

Scorpions: Klaus Meine - vocals, backing vocals; Rudolf Schenker - rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, solo guitar, backing vocals; Matthias Jabs - lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, slide guitars, voicebox; Pewel Maciwoda - bass; James Kottak - drums, backing vocals. 

For more information, check out http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Moment of Glory" (EMI-Classics; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Following in the footsteps of their colleagues (Deep Purple) and the later masters (Metallica), as well as all of those in between and since, the veteran Scorpions decided to try their hand at performing their classic metal hits with a full-on orchestra backing them (in this case, the Berliner Philharmoniker). The big difference here, however, is that - unlike Purple's "In Concert With the London Symphony Orchestra" and Metallica's "S&M," "Moment of Glory" is a studio production and probably garners an edge because of it.

Although you may roll your eyes (I know I did) when I first discovered this album ("It's been done!" I remember thinking) "Moment of Glory" starts out promising enough, with a rousing version of the band's "Rock You Like a Hurricane" entitled "Hurricane 2000." The combination of orchestra and rock band is perfect throughout this track and it sets the stage for what appears to be an entertaining listen.

Unfortunately, "Moment of Glory" never really gets better than "Hurricane 2000." Although the music is big and bold in an "Excalibur"/"Gladiator" sort of way, the songs lean too hard on the orchestra and not enough on the rock'n'roll. The result is an album that isn't bad, just a little dull. By the time the CD reaches its end, you've listened to something that's probably a little more classical than you expected. (Of course, it is on the EMI-Classics label). Things get a little better around Tracks #8 and #9 with the Scorp classics "Still Loving You" and "Big City Nights" (with Ray Wilson on vocals), with "Big City Nights" proving to be a close second to "Hurricane 2000" for best track on the CD. In addition, there are two instrumentals on the CD as well - "Crossfire" and "Deadly Sting Suite." As its name may imply, the latter is the stronger of the two, featuring an all-out war of sound between rock'n'roll band and symphony orchestra.

Scorpions fans will no doubt enjoy this re-tooling of their favorite songs and fans of the rock'n'roll/symphony orchestra combination won't be disappointed either. Me, I'm still looking for the perfect combination of the two - and I know it's out there somewhere...

"Moment of Glory" is chock full of guests, including Len Liechty, Zucchero, James Kottak, Ken Taylor and many more.

For more information, please visit http://www.scorps.net

"Eye II Eye" (Koch; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This 1999 CD from the incredibly successful Scorpions was met with cries of outrage and confusion by fans who had come to expect albums like "Crazy World" and "Love at First Sting." "Eye II Eye" was an experiment - and one that was only occasionally successful. Most of the time, however, fans listening to "Eye II Eye" probably found themselves asking, "What the hell were they thinking?"

The CD begins well enough with "Mysterious," a rock-hard tune that could have come from any previous Scorps album. The second tune, however, is where the head-scratching begins. Play this for anybody who knows anything about music, ask them who they think it, and they'll likely tell you, "Well, it sounds like George Michael..." It's that kind of pop funk tune with a $20 Casio keyboard filling in the drum parts. 

The album's next track, "Obsession," sounds like one of the band's normal ballads. You know, the slow songs they stuck on each album to generate airplay and goose record sales. "Obsession" isn't bad at all.

And so goes the rest of "Eye II Eye," alternating hard rock tracks with bizarre, trendy music styles that just don't lend themselves to the Scorpions style. You probably can't help but be impressed by the musicianship of Rudolf Schenker or Matthias Jabs or the vocals of Klaus Meine, but it's not what you've come to expect when you hear this band's name.

Is "Eye II Eye" the complete waste of time and effort that many claimed it was upon its initial release? Probably not. Again, the word 'experiment' comes to mind and - as an 'experiment' - it's not a totally unsuccessful one.

But it's not "Lovedrive," either.

"Eye II Eye" was produced by Peter Wolf.

SCORPIONS are: Klaus Meine - vocals; Rudolf Schenker - rhythm guitars, lead guitars, acoustic guitars, sitar guitar, backing vocals; Matthias Jabs - lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, slide guitar, voice box and mandolin; Ralph Rickermann - bass, backing vocals; James Kottak - drums, backing vocals, vocals. Also playing on "Eye II Eye" are Peter Wolf - keyboards, piano; Michelle Wolf - backing vocals; Mick Jones - acoustic guitar; Herman Rarebell - backing vocals.

For more information, please visit http://www.scorps.net or http://www.the-scorpions.com

"Pure Instinct" (Atlantic; 1996)

Reviewed by Snidermann

When you think of the Scorpions, you usually think of all the power ballads of the 80s and 90s with a certain amount of fondness. Well, 1992's "Pure Instinct" is nothing but power ballads and, frankly, it's quite a bit over-produced and more than a little boring.

Now, with the unmistakable voice of Klaus Meine on vocals, it really cannot be too bad and it's not. It's just that "Pure Instinct" lacks the hard driving rock'n'roll cuts that we expect from a Scorpions release. The power ballads are nice - they get airplay and they help sell records. But we Scorpions fans like the heavier stuff even more. I wish there were more of it here.

For more information, please visit http://www.scorps.net or http://www.the-scorpions.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 05 Nov 2017 10:28:11 -0500.