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The Incidental Masterpiece - 100%

The_CrY, February 27th, 2010

Eye II Eye is the black sheep of all Scorpions albums. The band itself even stated in an interview that they did not like this album. It is so different from everything they ever released before that nobody really dared to actually listen to the album, although there is a small group of big Eye II Eye fans scattered across the world, which I will gladly represent in this review.

As soon as opening track “Mysterious” begins to play, we are immediately shocked by what happens. First we have an overdriven guitar to play a very short riff-ish something, and then some laid back drumbeat kicks in, only to be accompanied by an immensely laid back guitar riff, and a moaning Meine on the background. What the hell? Where are those typical Scorpions hard rock driven riffs with solid drums and catchy lyrics? Instead, we get to hear some insanely relaxing shit which only gets better when you’re a bit used to it. Vocalist Klaus Meine sings with a dirty low pimp-ish voice on the verses of many songs, sounding a bit hoarsely, but in the choruses he mostly shows off his clear voice, as we’re used to. The opening track evolves into an offbeat chorus and then back into the relaxing rhythms with the after-chorus. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album and is followed by the equally laid back single “To Be No.1”, obviously repulsive to many with its techno-ish beep in between. But also this one is nothing but a diamond! Just because it is so different from all the other Scorps-tunes it stands out! The relaxing ambience continues throughout the entire album, with heavy riffing occurring on various songs like “Mind like a Tree” or “Yellow Butterfly” and sometimes even classic Scorpions riffing like on “Aleyah” and “Priscilla”.

I will discuss some of the highlights of this album, to give a better overview. There is a gem in title track “Eye to Eye”, which is very gentle, almost poppy, but so very touching a ballad. It is about the deaths of the fathers of guitarist Rudolf Schenker and vocalist Klaus Meine, and the lyrics are so beautiful and Meine’s voice is so full of emotion, though hoarse, and the ambience through the entire song... indescribable. Then there is “Skywriter”. Though its verses might not be very catchy at first, the chorus will most likely get your attention. Not to mention the great bass tune underneath. Come to think of it, that bass player, Ralph Rieckermann, is truly a star on this album. On numerous songs his colourful bass playing really stands out, for example on “Mysterious”, “Yellow Butterfly”, “10 Light Years Away” and , of course, “Skywriter”. It’s really a pity this was his latest studio album with the Scorpions. An often disliked song would also be “Freshly Squeezed”, another one of my favorites. It sounds so damn wrong in the verses that it’s actually very cool. It sounds like some attempt at being modern, cool and hip with its fast and catchy verses and the offbeat rhythm throughout the song. They probably failed at being hip or modern, but they certainly made a cool song here. Another standout would be Priscilla, with a more recognizable Scorpions touch. As you hear Klaus Meine sing about Priscilla eating all his food and him planning to kill her, it was truly funny to hear that Priscilla seemed to be a cockroach! Didn’t see that one coming.

Classic Scorpions riffing on “Aleyah” must’ve satisfied all the naysayers of this album, if they would still be listening to this album and not be turned down by its weird ambience. There is just typical 80s riffing here and the chorus is so epic, especially at the end when the normal riff is placed underneath it and the epic solo comes through. The album is closed by the piano ballad “A Moment in a Million Years”, which is an emotional thank you to the fans. A great way to close the album, and I think most fans would appreciate the thanks after the ‘torture’ of this album. Only some fans, like me, will notice that the end song is just speaking up for what the entire album is.

As usual in my reviews of black sheep and hidden gems, here’s to the naysayers. Eye II Eye is not the typical 80s hair metal you are used to on albums like Love at First Sting, Blackout or Crazy World. This album is unique in its own way, and you can only see it if you manage to let go of what you wish. You can’t love this album if you hate it for what it isn’t, but you will if you can see it for what it is: the best Scorpions album ever recorded.

Strongest tracks: “Mysterious”, “Eye to Eye”, “Freshly Squeezed” and “Aleyah”.
Weakest tracks or fillers: NONE!

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