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A glorious tour de force - 90%

ElectricEye, March 5th, 2007

I won't hesitate to call this one of my ten favourite debut albums of all time. Scanner comes leaping onto the stage with ridiculous confidence - so full of youthful creativity as to be years ahead of their time, but still so sure of their craft, you'd think they've done this a hundred times before.

What we have is a work of totally focused inspiration, and no apologies in the delivery. The sound is completely unique and instantly recognizable. Perhaps it was even too much to handle, because unfortunately, this gem has become sort of drowned in time. But it is absolutely as good as anything by the German "name" bands - Helloween, Rage, Running Wild, etc. - of the same general time period.

I guess you could call the music power metal, but it shouldn't be confused with wimpdom like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and friends. The album is as much speed metal as it is "power", though it's really too unique to care about labels. Knoblich's vocals are high and clean (but with edge!), and the sci-fi lyrics will surely appeal to overweight, undersexed Star Trek creeps in glasses, but that's about as far as the power metal associations go. Everything else is too concerned with grinding unbeliever-skull at any given second, to suck like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Star Trek.

I could go over all the tracks, but really, it's just one hit after another. No fuckhead ballads, tons of spacy riffs (you'll wonder how they came up with stuff like this!), and tremendously memorable choruses, some of which (most notably, "Across the universe") are instant classics. The music is alternating between fast and faster, and the melodies - MY GOD! The final minute of both "Warp 7" and "Killing fields" are positively pants-shrinking!

A few songs, "Retaliation positive" and "Wizard force", are not quite as strong as the others. They're still worth the listen, it's just that the bar is raised so high by the tracks before them, the album appears to run out of steam a bit towards the end. Had these two been as strong as the rest, this album would surely get a 95 - I simply can't find any other faults with it!

They also managed to create an outer space atmosphere, almost through the riffs alone, without resorting to distorted vocals and other artificial gimmicks. Although there is some "FX" thrown around here and there, it's sparse enough not to be a nuisance. The production itself has a very "open" feel, with crystal clear instrumental distinction. Guitars themselves are sharp and screechy, "piercing through the void like ancient starlight". :cheese:

The storyline is given a brief overview in the sad excuse for a booklet, but it appears that the songs are not in correct order on the CD to follow the concept, so don't look for cohesion in the lyrics. Weird, but who cares? If you want to sit and contemplate the finer philosophical points of this nonsense (let's just mention that mutant cyborgs and "extraterrestrial wizards" feature heavily), instead of headbanging and playing air guitar, you suck anyway!

An additional note - there is no tenth track (the one supposedly called "Galactos") on my CD, it might be on a re-release of some variety. I will have to look into this.

Favourite songs: Well, absolutely best are "Across the universe", "R.M.U." (these two are near-divine) and "Warp 7", but a good four others are well up there; "Terrion", "Locked out", "Grapes of fear" and "Killing fields", yeah.

They just don't make shit like this anymore. Now it's up to you to catch up!