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Casually flipping through your local classic rock stations, you are more than likely to hear one of three songs, maybe even multiple times. One obviously being Stairway to Heaven. Another being Sweet Emotions. The last will most likely be Rock You Like A Hurricane. Sadly, as is the case with most bands who become massively big for just one hit song, Germany's Scorpions suffered the same double sworded fate. Most folks will not know that they have a blasting heavy metal catalogue, and ironically just one album prior to the breakthrough. In majority, Scorpions' are mostly know for their obvious anthemic hit, and their ballad "Wind Of Change". But, just one short look into their previous works, you will get two things. Heavy, hard and aggressive rock/metal. and quite possibly some of the most controversial album covers ever. Luckily, on "Blackout", Scorpions hit a stride. Matching the idyllic harshness of AC/DC and Judas Priest with the capturing melodies of pop rock of the time. The album just rolls along. All the songs have a similar feel, yet none sound the same. If it were as most would have it, Scorpions would be known for their major hits "Can't Live Without You", or to some extent " No One Like You", which is already a big song. The point, you ask? This album rocks, period, and slays on every tier.
If you don't like classic rock infused heavy metal, you will not like this album. Not whatsoever. Scorpions may have been a lesser known contender for heavy metal kings in the 80's, but in so many ways this idea is criminal. Is it too much to say "Blackout" stands in competition with "Screaming for Vengeance", or even "Number of the Beast". In all honesty, some parts of this sound much heavier than anything Priest, Maiden, Saxon, or even Ozzy were doing at the time. Furthermore, "Blackout" is the pioneer work to a decade full of copycats and lameness. Released in 1982, the glam metal scene was just getting off the ground, with Motley Crue's debut still only one year old. Heavy metal was still taboo at the time, in the States at least. To hear a song as violently aggressive as "Now", or as pissed off as "Blackout", must have been some trip for the music world. You get it all on this album. Klaus' voice is really stellar here. The balding doppleganger to Dio has never gotten the credit he deserves for his vicious strong singing, and his soft, melodic singing as well. Take a song like "Dynamite". The pace is proto-thrash, seeing as thrash was still in it's demo phase at this time. Klaus' vocals are incorporating three styles. Singing, rapid fire delivery a la Rob Halford, and full on falsetto ear splitting. Eclectic as it is, "Blackout" as an album is seriously heavy, and seriously full of balls, yet just kind enough for the non-headbangers to give a listen to. "Arizona" is proto-glam, the groundwork for the soon-to-be exhausted style of metal, and full of the trademark multi-layering hair bands would so adore. Look no further than this album for two things. You want balls-to-the-wall rock and the traditional metal sound, you have found an album you will love. If not, tastes are subjective, no love lost.
In all, "Blackout" is catchy, hard, fast, angry, and yet still pop like enough for anybody to really take a liking to. Does it feel as though this album is overlooked by many? Of course. Metal is such a vast land. You can find anything you want, and in abundance if you so please. But it's not common, anymore at least, to find just some straight up heavy metal to blast. Scorpions' music is made for the headbanger. Or for the guy in the bar who loves to air guitar along to his favorite solos. This album is a full on fun time, enhanced by a deep devotion to the heaviness of heavy metal. Take note retro metallers, this is the benchmark for melodic heavy metal.