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Scorpions have one of the most illustrious careers in heavy metal and music overall. They are mostly known for “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and their Cold War ballad “Wind of Change.” However, most don’t know of their humble beginnings in the mid-sixties and that their first full-length was released in 1972. To those that have not heard this, I would say forget about what you know about the band because this is something totally different.
“Lonesome Crow” is basically a trippy, psychedelic, rock album from Germany’s biggest export. The soothing vocals of Klaus Meine are still noticeable, but heavy riffing and flying solos are not going to be found here. A lot of mellowing howls by Meine are used either for atmosphere or to go along with the rhythm. The first track “I’m Goin’ Mad” utilizes this technique. It has a strong psychedelic vibe with some crazily spoken vocals which he has not done since this debut.
The guitars are provided by the brothers Schenker in Rudolph and Michael before he joined British rockers UFO. The guitar sound has a Black Sabbath influence and most of the guitar playing is doom filled and has the snarl that Sabbath’s had. The guitar does not really kick in on most songs until after the verses. Usually, Meine sings on soft verses over the bass and light drumming and then the guitar kicks in after the verse ends. The long jam on the title track showcases some nice solos and hints of Michael’s guitar playing shine.
“In Search of the Peace of Mind” is the best song on here because of its shift in moods. It starts with an upbeat acoustic guitar and Meine shows his keen sense of melody in the vocals. The song is peaceful and then all of a sudden it turns frantic as a brooding bass line is backed up by screaming vocals and ends on a creepy note.
Some other good tunes are “Leave Me” which has some more mellow howls and is very trippy, but the bluesy solo and the energetic playing at the end make this stand out. “It All Depends” is as close to a straight-up rocker as one is going to find on here. The drums and bass are very jazzy and it sounds like a song that I would “shake” my head to. This song definitely reeks of early seventies rock.
This first of many albums from Scorpions is very solid. The problem is that nothing spectacular is on here save for “In Search of the Peace of Mind.” Their sound would take another couple albums to solidify itself, but the groovy and trippy vibe of this record is still enjoyable and worth a listen.