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Album Review : Scorpions : Rock Believer

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

Way back in 1982, one of my mate’s big brother lent me an album to listen to. That album was going to be one of about half a dozen albums, that shaped my musical tastes that have stayed pretty much the same until this day.

That album was ‘Blackout’ by the Scorpions, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Now, admittedly as the timeline moved forward, I felt the Scorpions have lost a bit of their sting.

However, this is their first release in seven years, almost to the day, and is the first to include ‘new’ drummer ex-Motorhead tub-thumper Mikkey Dee, who actually joined in 2016.

Formed by guitarist Rudolf Schenker in Hanover during 1965, Scorpions have released eighteen studio albums including this one.

It’s estimated that the band have sold over 100 million records around the world, making them one of the best-selling hard rock and heavy metal bands ever. Their 1991 single ‘Wind of Change’ is one of the best-selling singles in the world with over 14 million copies sold.

The current line-up consists of Rudy Schenker (rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals), Klaus Meine (lead vocals, guitar), Matthias Jabs (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Paweł Mąciwoda (bass, backing vocals) and Mikkey Dee (drums). This album contains 11 tracks with a running time of 45 minutes, there is also a Deluxe Edition containing a second CD which has an extra 5 tracks and pushes the running time up to a respectable 64 minutes.

Launching the album is ‘Gas In The Tank’, a nice ‘Can’t Live Without You’ riff is the first thing you hear, a smile comes across my face, this is what listening to music is about.

With lines like “The King of riffs is back in town” and “Who is up for a deadly sting?”, the Scorpions announce the arrival of the new album and there’s plenty more to come. Upbeat and rocking, with a great mid track solo. Boom…The Scorpions are back.

The quick tempo ‘Roots In My Boots’ is next, Mikkey Dee’s drums a prominent feature. A nice push-pull feel as Meine alternates vocal duties with the backing vocalists. Some good old-fashioned breaks, riff and solos thrown in.

Mąciwoda and Dee’s steady and purposeful beats give ‘Knock ‘em Dead’ a slower and powerful feel. Meine’s vocal measured and rhythmic. I’m loving the variety of the guitar solos.

The title track ‘Rock Believer’, starts as Meine narrates the vocal, the guitars offering gentle support in the background. A Dee drum burst initiates an increase in tempo, inviting the Matthias Jabs solo. The song is slow and passionate. “I am a Rock Believer, like you”.

A bit of a ‘Holiday’ style riff introduces ‘Shining Of Your Soul’, a solid pulsing beat is the foundation of the track. The different guitar sounds are layered and structured to give the track atmosphere, Meine’s clear lyrics bond it together.

The Viking Longboat rowing tempo sets the tone for ‘Seventh Sun’, a slightly down and dirty sound, Meine’s vocal cutting through the track. The track builds depth as it develops, but the driving beats remain at the forefront. Some fantastic guitar breaks and solos give emotion. Some parts of it reminded me of ‘China White’. This will be great live.

A crashing start brings in ‘Hot And Cold’, a dirty sleazy sound, Meine’s vocal deeper. The track is about a Strip Club, and has a great balance of sounds. A strong bass riff and intricate rolling guitar sounds from Schenker and Jabs add character.

Quick riffs and vocals fire ‘When I Lay My Bones To Rest’ forward, high tempo, almost Rock ‘n’ Roll, everything is short and punchy, a squealing guitar solo gives you no chance to relax. High tempo, high fun, a bit different, loved it.

Next, it’s ‘Peacemaker’, the first single released from the album. An 80’s style Stadium Rock anthem. Again, a fast-paced beat and riff, Schenker has his ‘V’ purring, Dee is smashing the kit, reminiscent of his Motorhead days, Jab’s solo is spine tingling. Epic track.

The last but one track is ‘Call Of The Wild’, a gentler grinding feel, I’m loving the sleazy, dirty sound, the lyrics include a cheeky nod to a previous track with “Out for a love drive”, they’re having fun. The rhythm section is at the forefront of the sound, with a clever lead guitar woven between them.

We arrive at the final track way too quickly, ‘When You Know (Where You Come From)’ their most recent single. It has a bit of a ‘Wind of Change’ feel, an emotional power ballad with traditional Scorpions elegance. A fitting way to close the album.

I know I’ve referred a few times to similarities in some of the classic Scorpions tracks, now that’s a good thing, actually, a very good thing.

The band said they’ve tried to produce a record more in line with their earlier work. There is a great mix of tempos and styles.

Rock Believer’ may not have the ‘forks in your eyes’ power of ‘Blackout’ or the ‘titillation of your ears’ given by ‘Lovedrive’, but, get your First Aid kits ready because this Scorpions album has got a sting.

Order our new album “Rock Believer” now: https://scorpions.lnk.to/RockBeliever

Connect with the Scorpions YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcvn…

Website: https://www.the-scorpions.com/

Tourdates: https://www.the-scorpions.com/tour/

Apple Music: https://apple.co/2WyD5mG

Rock Zone Fan Club: http://www.The-ScorpionsCommunity.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Scorpions

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Scorpions

Instagram: https://instagram.com/Scorpions/

Spotify: http://spoti.fi/1ehWgET

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