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Daddy Klaus and Uncle Rudolf - 85%

Felix 1666, June 12th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1982, 12" vinyl, EMI

The old bands are like parents. They do not understand what's going on, their living room smells slightly strange and they are anything else but fashionable. And that's not all! As soon as they try to be trendy, they are all the more embarrassing. Nevertheless, it is advisable to contact them from time to time, because they are not immune against a sudden flash of genius. Of course, this does not happen very often, but this phenomenon exist. You need evidence? No problem, I don't have a blackout, I have "Blackout"!

35 years after its publication, this album still spreads its charm. I thought that nobody buys a record with such an artwork, but as always, I was wrong. The Scorpions were almost at their zenith. Only "Rock You Like a Hurricane" had not yet been written... However, maybe one can say that this kind of smooth metal rock never sounded better than on "Blackout". We are often talking about a good flow, but compared with the arrangements of the here presented songs, it's all just a big lie. Yes, I used the word "smooth" not arbitrarily, nevertheless, "Blackout" holds songs with rough edges. In particular "Dynamite" and the title track do not beg for the attention of the mainstream. They are vigorous, energetic and based on a 100% metallic fundament. "Now" goes in the same direction, but in terms of quality, it cannot compete with the openers of the A and B side. By the way, back in the early eighties, the Scorpions were among the heaviest band of the world with these - absolutely authentic - songs that stood in the tradition of early eruptions such as "Steamrock Fever" or "Speedy's Coming". Even the sometimes fragile, slightly feminine voice of Klaus Meine worked in the "brutal" context of these tunes, because he demonstrated what stuff he was made of. While combining power and emotions, his charismatic vocals revealed his masterly performance. Too bad that this nearly perfect voice has been misused for silly tunes so many times ("Du bist so schmutzig", "Under the Same Sun" and comparable crap still hurt.)

Yet Meine is an extremely lucky guy. Apart from his talent and the fact that he was able to master two serious vocal chord operations, he always had very competent instrumentalists at his side. Even the heaviest tunes of "Blackout" have very catchy guitars and choruses with an extremely high recognition value. The guitar work for "Blackout" and "Dynamite" is great, but the flattening riff of "China White" puts the cherry on the cake. Rudolf Schenker has converted a bulldozer to a guitar and levels the soil thoroughly. The interplay with calmer parts reinforces the impression that Schenker, the sovereign winner of the "most useless moustache" award, intends to crush everything that stands in his way. This epic, extremely expressive steelwork marks my personal climax, power metal in the literal sense with a melancholic touch. Speaking of melancholy, there are more songs that put the focus on this profound emotion. "No One Like You" must be mentioned at this point. The soft verses, the rather heavy chorus and the longing lyrics build a strong unit. Of course, this number has a more or less commercial configuration and its direct neighbours flirt with the taste of the mainstream, too. But the Scorpions are credible. They never said that they hate money, they never talked dishonest nonsense like "we are playing our music mainly for ourselves" and therefore I see no reason to blame them for commercial yet strong tunes. This applies for the mandatory ballad as well. "When the Smoke Is Going Down" has not one iota of greasy schmaltz, it's just a sensitive and honest closer of a pretty excellent album.

The Scorpions were already a global player in 1982 with more or less generous financial options. Furthermore, the German pioneers had an absolutely professional attitude. It is therefore a matter of course that the album scores with an immaculate production. The full and warm sound forms the basis for the songs to live like a bee in clover. Consequently, they are still in good condition. Even the pretty harmless good time rocker "Arizona", usually a typical B side track, still shines with some compelling lines. And with that said, the verdict is clear: more than six millions sold copies cannot lie. Every, really every hard rock and metal fan should know this perfect link between the crunchy double hit "Lovedrive"/"Animal Magnetism" and the polished yet still great "Love at First Sting". If you are still undecided whether it makes sense to listen to this milestone, ask your parents what to do. Guess they will give you (exceptionally) a good advise.