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The second album from Scorpions has one the strangest looking cover, but do not be fooled by the goofy looking dude on the cover. After Michael Schenker and the rhythm section of drummer Wolfgang Dziony and bassist Lothar Heinburg left, they were replaced by long time bass man Francis Buchholz, Jurgen Rosenthal on drums, and the almighty Uli John Roth on guitar. With Roth’s influence, the bad would take the next step into heavy metal greatness as his passion and Jimi Hendrix flare would propel this band toward a higher level.
The opener “Speedy’s Coming” is the only straightforward rocker on here and provides some foreshadowing toward where the band would be heading. This is one of my favorites as I enjoy the lyrical references to Alice Cooper, David Bowie, and Ringo Starr. This song shows a glimpse of what Roth can do as well.
What was heard on the last album is completely washed away this time around. There are no jazz elements or psychedelic influences, and the Black Sabbath like guitar tone is gone. Most of this record consists of more drawn out songs with a peaceful texture. One of the important aspects of Scorpions is revealed here too and that is conveying emotion.
No one can paint a more beautiful emotion in a song than Klaus Meine. “Fly People Fly” and “Far Away” are wonderful examples of this. The way he carries a note and how he brings the power is breathtaking. “Far Away” is the finest song on this album because of the vocals and the brilliant solo that erupts after the beginning. The uplifting nature of the tune is a plus as well.
The title track is the longest just as it was on the first album. “Fly to the Rainbow” is a nine and half minute epic with a peaceful vibe and vocal melody with the middle part featuring a trippy spoken word part by Roth and then develops into an earth-shattering solo and is the perfect way to end the album.
Speaking of Roth and vocals, there is something to be said about “Drifting Sun” which is a song he penned and also sung on. All I can say is, there is a reason why Meine is the lead singer. Roth has a weird voice and his singing here is atrocious. Every song he has provided lead vocal on in his Scorpions tenure is bad except for one. Musically, the song is very good and Roth’s guitar theatrics are impressive, but the vocals destroy it.
Besides that, this is a strong sophomore effort from the German lads. The peaceful and tranquil tone of the album accompanied by Meine’s majestic vocals and Roth’s inspiring guitar playing is very satisfying. Even though this is not what Scorpions are known, this is still an enjoyable record and they would keep on getting better.