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One of many potent examples of unnecessary Scorpions releases between 1984 and 2004, Moment of Glory is a large-scale studio experiment pairing everyone’s favorite aging German rock legends and the Berlin philharmonic orchestra. Classical music and hard-edged rock/heavy metal typically do not meld cohesively and it’s exceedingly rare to find a disc that succeeds in keeping the whole charade from devolving into a bombastic display of boredom. This Scorpions attempt falls into that all too common category of eccentric but useless music, a nice conversation piece for Scorps enthusiasts and nothing more.
Now with the Scorpions’ music being very melodically inclined and their catalogue well-populated with ballads, the material here isn’t too terribly jarring, unlike say, if we had Motorhead involved in this kind of pretentious self-aggrandizing. “Wind of Change” is rendered dramatically, as is “Still Loving You,” though both (not to mention every song on this thing) are needlessly elongated through extended orchestral preludes and interludes. But we should have predicted this going in, right? Ballads do take up the lion’s share of the album, which is probably a good thing considered how overdone the big hits like “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Big City Nights” come off with the symphonic treatment. The band sounds weak and passive compared to the majesty of the orchestra and the effect is far from desirable.
There’s a number of guest vocalists involved, none of which perform so exceedingly well as to be mentioned by name. Klaus Meine himself barely needs mentioned, as his own performance is rather languid for his reputation. Perhaps this was the incentive for the extraneous talent? As it stands, the many instrumental sections stand stronger than the vocal ones; there’s even a medley and a guitar/orchestra duel among the lineup here. All curious, but nothing to really sell the album as a whole. It’s just over an hour of classical noodling around basic rock chord progressions and themes.
There’s a few songs unique to this package for the Scorpions faithful, and I guess there are some out there that will probably really like this sort of thing. But I prefer Scorpions as a good old fashioned heavy metal band without all the orchestral assistance, so I don’t quite see the point of this thing in the first place. Are they really improving these songs? Are they really adding something to the catalogue here, or is this simply a big budget ego project? And what was the point of T. Rex’s arms? Truly, these are questions to ponder. Whether or not you’d appreciate what Moment of Glory was trying to do should not be among them.
A metal band and orchestra seems like an odd combination, and yet it makes a lot of sense. Both can convey power, evil, and excitement. There are no musical sounds that are more powerful then a distorted power chord and a deadly rhythm section or a full orchestra playing away like the end of the world was upon them. Sometimes mixing the two by taking the metal and adding the classical can lead to both ingenious and disastrous results depending on those who attempt the feat. Metallica tried it once and succeeded in parts and failed in others. Deep Purple is often mentioned as the creator of the idea.
So when the Berlin Philharmoniker and the Scorpions decided to join forces and record Moment Of Glory together, they attempted to continue this difficult but potentially rewarding tradition. Like those before them, the song selection was easy to figure out: a collection of some of the Scorpions most famous songs reimagined as orchestrated heavy metal masterpieces, and a couple original songs to keep things new.
Unsurprisingly, the ballads are prime examples of where the added muscle enhances the original compositions. “Wind Of Change,” one of the Scorpions more well known songs is introduced with light and airy wind instruments, leading into a sweeping and epic feel that makes one feel like they’re flying. The song continues as those remember it, powerful and exciting. The chorus is given a wall of sound treatment that could bring about debate among fans as which versions they prefer, this one or the original. “Still Loving You,” another famous Scorpions song, is greatly heightened by the power and glory that comes with a large orchestra. In many ways, one could say that this version is what the Scorpions intended this song to originally sound like. SInger Klaus Meine gives one of his best performances on this song.
The heavier songs are where things get a little bumpy. Some fans will find “Hurricane 2000” too over the top for them, however it’s an intense where the added orchestration creates a unique arrangement. Swirling violins and flutes create winds as the seas of sound begin to wash over you. If you knew the original song, initially you might be confused to what song it was. Once the familiar and highly catchy guitars by Matthias Jab and Rudolph Schenker come in, you are blown away by the storm. “Big City Nights” is an example of a song that’s almost too rocking to really need the added muscle, though a little melody that evokes the music from West Side Story allows for chuckle.
Some might be put off by the guest vocalists that appear every now and then. For the song, “Send Me An Angel,” Italian pop singer Zucchero joins Meine for a verse and a duet chorus. Depending on how one feels, this is a nice little addition to the mix, though could confuse fans to the reasons for this collaboration within a collaboration.
The original songs range from well written, to brilliant, to just bland. “Moment Of Glory” is a song that feels like it was composed with this album in mind, thus the balance between metal ballad and classical taste is perfect. The right amount of guitars and orchestra makes it a delicious track. “Here In My Heart” is a song originally written by Diane Warren, and is clearly neither a metal song nor a classical piece, which begs the question, what is it doing here? It sounds nice, catchy, and potentially will be in one’s head for days, but feels like a song that should be on a collection of adult contemporary tracks opposed to a metal/classical collaboration.
The real praise should be the two middle instrumental tracks that truly bring the two sides together. “Crossfire/Prologue” is the one of the few instances where the orchestra is backed by the metal band, at least the first half which is a beautifully done version of a Vassily Solovyev-Sedoy piece. The beauty is slowly transitioned into an epic and not as well know Scorpions track. The song almost tells a story of a day that begins nice and delightful, but then is shattered by a forbidding doom and excitement. “Deadly Sting Suite/He’s A Woman, She’s A Man/Dynamite” is comes right after with a bang. Probably the heaviest track on the album, the orchestra and metal band are one in this piece of unadulterated classical metal magic. These two tracks are the highlights of the album.
Moment Of Glory is indeed a success for this attempt at metal/classical bonding, though it will remain to be seen whether fans will embrace it.
Scorpions followed in the footsteps of Deep Purple and Metallica and recorded Moment of Glory with “Die Berliner Philharmoniker” orchestra. Unlike Deep Purple and Metallica who recently had released their classical projects as live albums, Scorpions’ album is a studio album containing mostly songs from their huge catalogue. The title track, Moment of Glory is a new song however written specifically for this album. It’s an okay little ballad that’s beautifully orchestrated. One of the few highlights here.
The old songs don’t go particularly well with the orchestra. Normally I consider Rock You Like A Hurricane to be a great party song that goes well with beer and singing along, but all of that is lost here. Now it just gets boring.
Some of the old ballads work decent with the orchestra but when Wind of Change lasts for 7 and a half minute, it just gets too fucking long, and when everything comes down I’d rather listen to the original version.
Halfway through the disc comes the absolute highlight of this disc: Crossfire. A classical piece of music (with only the orchestra playing) in which Rudolf Schenker plays a very cool solo that fits the music very well! This sounds very nice and should be the main reason for anyone to get this disc after all.
Overall this album could have been much worse… but Crossfire and Moment of Glory are the only things I’m gonna listen to ever again from here. The original versions of the other songs are much better!