Scorpions, ‘Rock Believer’: Album Review
“The king of riffs is back in town“, says Klaus Meine at the start of the new Scorpions album. And they hold nothing back. Although it’s an old showbiz conceit, there was real concern about whether the long-running band would follow up on 2015’s . back to eternity, a 50th anniversary commemoration that in itself felt like an effort to produce. The scorpions themselves seemed genuinely unsure if they had the guts to make another one, to find the proverbial gas in the tank.
believer in rockcoming seven years later and on the 50th anniversary of Scorpions’ debut album, shows there’s no shortage of fuel – with, in fact, “Gas in the Tank,” the track from flamboyant opening which references Trans Ams, “slam, bam, thank you ma’am” and urges “Let’s play harder and play hard… There must be more gas in the tank“while celebrating the camaraderie forged over the decades. The rest of believer in rock keep that faith, with scathing riffs, pounding anthems and scathing guitar playing between Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs that make Scorpions sound more like heavy rock evangelists than believers, happy to still rock us like… eh well, a hurricane. It’s as if the Scorpions songwriter duo Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker want to challenge their years (both are 73) and prove that there is no prescription to their craft, even if they are better off letting the public handle the actual act. of headbanging.
Recording at home in Hannover and co-producing with Hans-Martin Buff after working remotely with Greg Fidelman proved untenable, Scorpions sound refreshed on believer in rockas well as tight after two world tours since back to eternity. New drummer Mikkey Dee, deceased from Motorhead, brings new energy to the group, driving the fastest tracks with the ferocity of his previous band but also leaving space when needed on the stomping “Seventh Sun” or the more measured attacks of “Call of the Wild” and the almost powerful ballad “When You Know (Where You Come From)”.
believer in rock is best when the Scorpions are at full throttle, however, and pounding the metal pedal on high-octane numbers such as “Roots in My Boots”, “Knock ’em Dead”, and “Hot and Cold”. Title track and groove “Peacemaker,” both pre-release singles, apply the studio spit and polish that once brought Scorpions to radio playlists, while “Shining of Your Soul” shifts from twisted proggy guitars to reggae beats for the verses – a little messy but also a welcome break from the onslaught. And the canter “When I Lay My Bones to Rest” is just a clean, far-from-psychobilly tone, surging with a swagger that would make Lemmy proud.
In the discerning buyer’s department, meanwhile, believer in rock is better in its standard 11-track version than the limited deluxe edition, which adds five songs including an acoustic rendition of “When You Know (Where You Come From)”. Of the bonuses, only “Crossing Borders” holds its own with the main album, and while the others have merit, it’s also easy to see why they were picked up for add-ons. It’s nice to say that Scorpios are always true believers and always have the means to convert others. “Be true to yourself, it’s your life‘ advises Meine in ‘When You Know’ – and his band does just that.
Scorpions Albums Ranked
After more than five decades rocking like a hurricane, ranking all of Scorpions’ studio albums is no easy task.