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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”.