Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

True example of 80s Power/Speed metal - 95%

DesecratorJ, May 30th, 2018

Coming from the power metal explosion of the late 80s with bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, etc. Scanner were not quite as much successful as their peers. For some reason, they did not have the same attention level, even if their music was similar. This band also have a background, they were known as "Lions Breed" and actually released a record under that name, which was of course very different from what they did as Scanner. Having said that, the musicians already had some experience and then decided to change their name to start fresh and play something different, also bringing a new singer to fit their new musical style... here comes the power/speed metal band Scanner in 1986.

The band got a record deal with the giant "Noise Records" and released their first full-length album under the Scanner name in 1988, the famous "Hypertrace" album. I'm saying famous because this record is top-notch German quality stuff. In fact, the whole album is based on a concept story and follows through the eight tracks, though 10 tracks were recorded in the recording session of this album. What I liked the most about Scanner and this album is the variety and originality of the material, of course it sounds like other German power and speed metal bands, but in a unique way. Useless to tell how good the singer is on this album, the vocals performances are outstanding and definitely the perfect fit for the musical style, delivering high-pitched screams and intense melodic moments in some tracks. The energy was there and easily noticeable on this record, they had the recipe right there to make the perfect record, and they did it. Speaking of variety in there, power and speed metal are often a mixed genre, but here we can see where they put those stylistic elements.

For example, "Across the Universe" is a timeless German power metal classic, and definitely the catchiest Scanner song ever, for me at least. The kind of tracks that get stuck in your head is basically what you will get from this band. Of course, songs like "Warp 7" and "Grapes of Fear" are the definitive speed metal parts of the record. The guitar playing is magnificent as well as the awesomeness of the riffs. It really didn't take much time for me to be impressed by how these guys were great, I also noticed that the music is less straightforward or bashed to your face, like bands such as Agent Steel or Vectom for instance. What we have here is more musically focused and technically advanced with more tempo changes. The famous "Killing Fields" is a great sample of that, its structure is incredibly well-arranged, and also feature one of the most catchiest moment of the album as well, which is actually the epic outro of the album in fact. It's a pretty nice way of ending a record, even if two tracks are lacking in the original press, "Galactos" and "Wizard Force" were added in the end of the album on later re-releases. Those are cool songs, but not as much as the original material, in my opinion.

When I am speaking of perfection, "Hypertrace" comes near that, not only the music is great, the production work done for it is also awesome. All the instruments are well balanced and mixed, nothing is left unheard, even the bass sounds great, there's nothing that impressive on the bass and drums playing, but it still definitely does the job for its purpose. The lyrics based on a science-fiction story is pretty cool and original, not many bands were doing this back in the 80s, thus making this album a little more original than some other records. The only problem is that the story doesn't really follow the track list order on the record, as well as lacking two songs from it in the original release.

Well, overall, this is one of the best power/speed metal record ever released from Germany, or even Europe. It's very unfortunate that Scanner didn't have more attention because with this album, and the 1989 "Terminal Earth", they had two killer albums, but even with those, success didn't come. Anyway, it doesn't really matter now, we can listen to it and enjoy how awesome it really is. Definitely a record that I recommend to all fans of old school power and speed metal, as a warning, I can tell that by listening to Hypertrace, some choruses will get stuck in your head for a while!

Favorite tracks :

Across the Universe
Grapes of Fear
Killing Fields
Locked Out