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Keeps me dancing on the road - 89%

Metal_Thrasher90, December 14th, 2013

Scorpions were at the top of their career by the late 80’s Their hits were on radio and TV, their stadium massive shows were sold out and their popularity and fame were tremendous. It must have been such a serious challenge to make another great album, right after a true successful classic like “Love At First Sting”. No matter what the result of the following record was, it would be condemned to be ignored behind the huge impact of its predecessor. That’s what happened with “Savage Amusement”, Scorpions 10th studio full-lenght. However, Meine and co. Definitely tried their best on it, under the pressure of their record label and the commercial common trends of those times. There’s some fine moments here that shouldn’t be forgotten, though.

Their intentions here are inevitably much more commercial, leaving behind their distinctive aggression and intensity for a while. The current heavy metal sound of those days was pretty simple, repetitive, melodic and truly polished. Scorpions were forced in some way to satisfy the requirements of those years and include those elements in ther new compositions, making them part of their philosophy. “Walking On The Edge” or “Every Minute Everyday” show a considerable change from anything they did before. Melody has become absolutely omnipresent; vocals take now all attention, very insistent while instruments are relegated to support them rather discreetly. The German metallers simplify their methods to keep away from their characteristic technique and certain complexity to reach people’s ears easier. Their commercial attempt on “Media Overkill” or the ballad that failed, “Believe In Love”, becomes excessively explicit and pretentious. Their excellent performance and competent execution make their music decent and amusing, but the lack of the band’s usual roughness and strength keeps it from being memorable. On other hand, their formula is working suprisingly at times, on “Passion Rules The Game” and “Rhythm Of Love”, particularly, whose structures might be repetitive and dumb, but their sound exquisite and irresistible. The sweet voice of Klaus becomes totally seductive once again, along with the hypnotizing charming guitar lines. Those became instant classics, featuring some brilliance left among these wrongly focused numbers. More exceptions can be found here, luckily. Jabs & Schenker’s impressive harsh riffs show no mercy on the devastating “We Let It Rock...You Let It Roll” and the terminal velocity of the pure speed metal track “Love On The Run”. Scorpions couldn’t get rid completely of their genuine attitude, power and brutality. Those 2 are from the heaviest they ever did.

During those times of cheesy ballads, MTV videoclips and glam clothing fashion, the pressure from recorld labels and producers became bigger than ever before. Specially, on popular legendary groups like these guys. Not even Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple or Accept, along with many NWOBHM victims of Def Leppard influence, could escape from the unstoppable destructive trends of those old days. Scorpions either, although at least, they kept some of their original intentions on this album, as those 2 raging metal exceptions I mentioned demonstrate. The general pattern here goes further into that inoffensive mainstream musical path, unfortunately. Guitars have been reduced to be background support to the leading vocals. The excess of voices and lyrical repetition contributes to make these tunes absolutely catchy and perfect to sing along. Instrumentally mediocre and poorly conceived, it’s such a shame they wasted the immense potential of a combo of the level of Matthias and Rudolf. Their guitars are still amazingly merciless, with that violent slashing tone that makes me tremble. Unfortunately, the overproduced atmosphere and mixing doesn’t give the 6 string section the presence and solidity they crave. Vocals are what have become the main attraction, and Klaus is completely brilliant on giving them their appropriate texture, modulation and emotion. His voice can be touching and soft on the quietest compositions, but also crude and wicked on the straighter moments here. The song-writing is convincing too, each track is well-developed and defined. The weak spots are the persisting melody and the supremacy of vocals, while this material gets stripped down instrumentally. What could have been heavy and hard turns into something inoffensive, casual. The lyrics have been also transformed into something more cheesy, away from the group’s usual horny/kinky/explicit cool words.

After all, this is not that bad. Of course, this LP is far from the glorious magnificence of “Blackout” or “Taken By Force”, but still offers totally enjoyable moments and a few fierce metal cuts. It’s easy to criticize them for following a wrong direction and trying to emulate what popular 80’s glam acts were doing. Some had no other chance, like most of the NWOBHM underground groups that in the end, were dropped by their record labels (Atlantic, Capitol, and those famous ones). On other hand, those bizarre albums give us the chance to listen to the classic big of metal doing something alternative and different. I enjoyed some of the “Seventh Star” numbers by Iommi and guests, a bit of Priest’s “Turbo” and Accept’s “Metal Heart” from the mid-80’s, and this one provides also amusement, as its title suggests.

I'm amused alright - 87%

The_CrY, March 10th, 2010

So often do I come across an album by a band that’s severely underrated by the fans and, of course, loved by me and a few others. Though this is the follow-up to the overrated and commercial Love at First Sting, they did make a huge change in their music. There were four years between these albums and though bands can pull that sort of thing off in the here and now, it was certainly something rare back in the 80s. The Scorpions have spent those four years well I’d say. They found a way to still be commercial, like on Love at First Sting, but also write GOOD songs in the process, something that was forgotten back in 1984. On Savage Amusement, the Scorpions show the world they can be commercial without being lame and unoriginal, and that’s what matters most to me.

This album is not heavy at all. Can you even consider it metal? It’s hair metal at best. Maybe Love at First Sting is even heavier than this, yet this all doesn’t matter. For who cares what style they pursue, the main question will always be: are the songs original, well-written and good? Well, yes, the songs on here are very good. It’s really classic Scorpions of the likes of which you would hear on Blackout or Lovedrive, but then reissued in a commercial jacket. Vocalist Klaus Meine is in excellent shape, as is the lead-work of Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker. The drummer does his job typically 80s style but with some cool unexpected moves. This album contains melodic rockers like “Don’t Stop at the Top” and “We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll”, some great (power) ballads like “Walking on the Edge” and “Believe in Love”, and there is a piece of speed metal found here in the shape of “Love on the Run”. Together the songs form a strong album with a great overall ambience throughout. Let’s get a bit into the details.

The album opens with the hesitating guitar intro to “Don’t Stop at the Top”. As soon as the band joins in we are surprised by the drummer making an unexpected move by not hitting his snare in one bar. The song then evolves into a melodic theme with great lead guitars and the verses totally change the mood of the chorus, which is a great contrast. “Rhythm of Love” was the biggest hit off this album and therefore is one of the lesser songs on here, which still isn’t that bad. It starts the same as the previous song in structure, giving a hesitating start at first and then evolving into the catchy theme. It’s melodic and catchy as hell, two standard ingredients for a hit, and it works. The catchiness and somewhat poppiness continues with “Passion Rules the Game” and “Media Overkill”, and they’re really good songs with cool riffs and good melodies. Especially “Media Overkill” has the necessary 80s pop influences in the beginning but it has a really groovy bass line throughout the verses to give it its unique sound. Then we come to power ballad “Walking on the Edge”. It starts off really quiet with a soft guitar playing gentle chords. Carefully Meine joins in to sing some lines and then at the verses the power starts coming in gradually and at the chorus it bursts out! It’s a little aggressive in sound then and it’s a really cool journey from gentle to wilder.

“We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll” has, besides one hell of a cheesy title, the best riff on this album. The lead guitars at the beginning really reminded me of Children of Bodom a little, mostly due to the pinch harmonics. The song is really aggressive and adrenaline pumping. This is my absolute favorite of Savage Amusement. The verses and chorus really carry lots of energy and the guitar solos are very inspiring. We continue on a high note with “Every Minute, Every Day”. This one starts off like the first two songs: hesitating at first, but then bursting into the catchy theme. This one features odd keyboards at the theme. The rest of the song sounds great again and continues in the same vein as the other great songs here. “Love on the Run” is a fast speed metal-ish song to give the album some more energy and power. This one does not meet the greatness of the other tracks here, but a good fast song is always welcome. The album is closed by “Believe in Love”, one of the finest ballads the Scorpions have ever recorded. It’s gentle, romantic, melodic and catchy. What more does a good ballad need, besides members of the Scorpions to play the instruments and to sing?

My writing skills tend to fail me in describing the greatness of some albums, and this is one of those albums. The melodies are many and the originality is high. This is what the Scorpions should be remembered for, not predecessor Love at First Sting. This is the proper way of a metalband going commercial, such a shame that so many fans fail to see it. I recommend this album to every Scorpions fan.

Strongest tracks: “We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll”, “Media Overkill” and “Believe in Love”.

http://thecryreviews.blogspot.com/

Scorpions Month IV: Bottom's up! - 35%

Empyreal, December 24th, 2009

People, I love rock music. But that doesn't mean a good band can just throw any crap together and I'll eat it up. There are lines that can be crossed, folks. Scorpions were on top of the world in the early 80s, but they went completely overboard with Savage Amusement, and the result is a shiny, neutered, glammed up shitpiling that goes against everything the band did so well in the past and ends up a godforsaken mess of 80s cliche. Why is this album so bad? Prepare the Jägermeister, get some cups out and let's get started, folks.

In fact, let's not just do this like a normal review. No, let's make this one a drinking game. Listen to this album along with me while I review it, and every time you think about how much better the band used to be, take a drink. Sound good? Okay.

I mean, what the fuck? Where did this come from? It's like a drive-by glam clusterfuck. It comes out of nowhere, leaving no lasting impression except, where the fuck did my Scorpions go? This album is completely bereft of any musical worth! Hooks? What are those? Savage Amusement is savagely amusing to the devil-horned record executives who pushed it on the public, perhaps, but not to me. This album basically takes the Scorpions formula and rapes it with a pitchfork, removing all the charm and innocence that I loved about it and replacing that with a lot of sleazy redundancy and trend-hopping disgust. What happened to the heart and passion that filled the band's previous material so vigorously?

Oops, there's one. Take a drink.

Right away, you notice the first problem: the band hasn't written any good hooks. Don't you remember how on their older albums, they'd write songs that you could remember instantly? Like how about "Catch Your Train"? Or maybe "Dynamite," off of Blackout? Ah, I can hear them in my head as if I were listening to THEM now instead of this unmemorable piece of prostitution...

And that's two. Take another drink.

So the album kicks off with "Don't Stop at the Top," which is pretty much the model for all of the non-ballads on here. There are a lot of shiny riffs and flashy licks and a big, high-pitched Def Leppard-wannabe chorus belted out at full volume for the whole arena to sing along to and then forget about. And indeed, I do mean forgettable - these songs are nothing but fluff; no substance at all. I can't remember one note or one line from any of them. They're not engaging, they have no longevity and I don't even think they're that much fun to listen to. I'm not asking for the metal equivalent of Shakespeare here, guys, I'm just asking for a little bit of the likability and energy that Scorpions once so proudly displayed on their sleeves.

Three makes a party, so take a drink.

"Rhythm of Love" is almost cool, but the awful "Passion Rules the Game" busts out annoyingly sugary glam guitar licks that you've heard a thousand times, and "Media Overkill" starts off with a sound effect that is something like the belching of Fat Albert. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Keep in mind, people, that the band that once wrote the ballad "Yellow Raven" and the epic "China White" is now writing a song with a sound effect that sounds like Fat Albert's bowel movements. Let that sink in for a second. Sadly, they do not keep up this stupidity, and the song sinks into a mire of below-average hard rock shash. This song is really about as bland as a rock song can get - using those chorus layers doesn't really do much when the chorus itself isn't any good, guys! You would think the band that wrote "Make It Real" or "Blackout" would know something about writing chorus hooks, but apparently not. I know I keep coming back to the lack of hooks, but...it's just so insipid. There is a shocking laziness to the compositions here that I am surprised the band actually let out of the studio. They didn't need to lean on the crutch of what's popular in order to be liked, but here they are doing it anyway. Mindblowing.

Sigh. Take another drink. Witness the blandly generic gang shout chorus on "We Let It Rock...You Let It Roll," and you'll probably need another one after that.

This album is so conniving. You think because it's so well played, so pristinely produced and inoffensive, that it is actually good, but no! It's a trick by the record producers who brainwashed this band into doing this! DAMN YOU, CORPORATE MEDIA OVERLORDS! A POX ON ALL YE BLACKENED HEARTS! Ahem. Excuse my outburst. I just get a little emotional when I hear great bands that I love releasing such watered down, piss-weak commercial crap. But there is one saving grace...sort of...in the moderately good "Love on the Run," which packs some legitimately kick-ass metal riffing - hell, it's more intense than the classic stuff at times. But the vocal performance is still weak and you won't remember much of it after it's over.

This album is a wretched pile of flaming drivel that I would sooner eat a bag of nails than listen to again. It is a gutted whore of worthless candy-metal without any kind of entertainment value, made doubly ironic by the band's usual good record for that kind of thing. I can't think of even one reason to listen to this crap over any other Scorpions album. Just listen to the dying notes of "Believe in Love" - it's so defeated sounding. It's pitiful. This album is probably the best reason I can think of to take up heavy drinking, but before you do that, throw this album in the trash where it belongs. Good riddance and Merry Christmas - may you listen to no horrible musical sell-outs this year. Have a good one!

I Like This Album - 85%

The_Scrab, June 25th, 2009

On this album, we find Scorpions at their most accessible. Lush production, catchy songs, infectious melodies, and generally peppy and happy tracks dominate this record. I know many people write this album off as pop metal trash, but, with an open mind, I think this record could appeal to the majority of the Scorpions audience.

The record opens with my personal favorite, "Don't Stop At the Top". Searing guitar melodies catapult this song into your eardrums, vocal harmonies and fluffy lyrics make this song an instant Scorpions classic. Worthy of note in this song are the soaring vocals of Klaus Meine, and the excellent leads of Matthias Jabs.

Then the album falters a bit. For being a single, Rhythm of love is sorta lame and predictable. Not much to say on this one, doesn't do much for me. Thankfully, the one-two shot of "Passion" and "Media Overkill" are bouncy and interesting enough to reignite my interest, good songs.

The songs are solid from here on out, maybe not quite as memorable as past material, but still well written and worth a listen. Then we're blindsided by "Love on the Run", and the excellent mix of speed/power metal riffing knocks this album on it's ass. The perfect insertion, smashing into your consciousness just as interest begins to waver again. The track order on this album is well thought out.

Now that we're paying attention again, we can really appreciate the last track for what it is; your typical Scorpions ballad. It's good, it's happy, it makes you reach for your lighter; it does what it's supposed to, without being particularly sappy.

This album is not groundbreaking, it's not genre revitalizing, and it's not the Scorpions best 80's work. It is, however, a solid pop metal album, with enough hooks to keep the average listener entertained. Should we expect more? I don't think so, Scorpions pulled another good album out of the bag, and given the length they'd been around at this point, I think it's silly to write it off for being formulaic. It's called playing your strengths.

Good stuff.

Savagely Unentertaining - 60%

DawnoftheShred, April 12th, 2007

It's truly a shame about those Scorps. After about a decade of solid records, the mainstream media finally started to pay attention to them during the 80's, convincing the band to attempt to repeat the success of their breakthrough album, Blackout. Adopting an even more commercial sound, the following album Love at First Sting actually pulled it off, appealing to the masses while remaining heavy enough to keep their old-school fans in assent. Unfortunately, this led to an even more commercial sound on the followup to that. After all, why quit while you're ahead? Savage Amusement is why, an ashamedly typical 80's hard rock album that showcases a band that gave up trying to break ground, content instead to ride on the successes of the past.

Now admittedly, Savage Amusement isn't a terrible album. I've listened to it several times before and it's not only tolerable, but at times enjoyable. But it's the principle of the thing really. The format of every song is the exact same, following the precedent set by some of the songs on the previous album. Klaus Meine still sounds good and has plenty of nice vocal melodies, but I'll be damned if every song on this album doesn't adhere to the exact same verse-chorus-repeat-solo-outchorus structure. Even the ballady songs stick tight to this format, only the riffs change. This repetivity is unbearable and hampers this thing from beginning to end.

Despite the noticable lack of innovative songs (musically and lyrically) and one truly bad song ("Media Overkill," trendy 80's rocker), there are some glimpses of hope. Though most of the songs are mid-to-slow paced rockers, a few actually feature some decent metal riffing and "Love on the Run" is pure speed metal. Plus all of the songs are speckled with plenty of mighty fine leadwork; solos of untypical quality and quantity for the pop metal of the late 80's.

But "Love on the Run" and some fancy leadwork can't save an album this commercially marred. Only hardcore Scorpions fans might be able to appreciate this fully. I, however, will stick to the classics and pretend that this didn't happen.