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The Start To A Decline - 52%

SweetLeaf95, May 14th, 2018

Following a few years after the release of Crazy World, which was a fairly promising start to the new decade, Crazy World would begin to give hints at a downward spiral that was beginning to take form, and pretty much obliterated the '90s for them. With each '90s album getting worse, the band could only be saved in the next decade by Unbreakable. This record in itself can actually still be somewhat enjoyable, but for the most part, it seems like a lot of it would be leftovers from the previous album. Beyond this point, it's pretty much hit or miss for the Scorps.

Up until now, Scorpions were built on heavy metal riffs and unique composition to define their sound, with the occasional ballad, and pop influence in some of the later tracks. This is where that ends, and they begin to overproduce, water down, and simplify their writing style. With a catalog of outstanding output, it's common to run low on ideas. The guitar solos and epic melodies are way less common. The production sounds far too clear for its own good. The drums are pulled up and snipped, removing any kind of ferocity that may have been intended to be present. No less, they're nothing more than a timekeeper here, and aren't very impressive. Not being very metal does not equate to being bad, but watering down rock n roll hits and phoning in the vocals is pretty uncool. Klaus doesn't necessarily sound bad, he hits the notes, and still carries the heat of his nifty vocals. There's just a clear shortage of interest. Plus, the style used in "Unholy Alliance" is pretty annoying, and relies heavily on outbursts of nonsense sounds that fill in where there should be lyrics. Reminiscent of bubble-gum pop groups that would make this common in years to come.

All of this is pretty harsh criticism, with good reasoning, but it isn't a complete snooze-fest. The designs that didn't stray directly from the recycle bin cue interesting thought. While "Woman" isn't the most exciting track, at least it features one of the most fun guitar solos on here, taking a '70s epic rock style. The usage of strings is also intriguing here too. There's definitely good intent with lyrical themes, channeling peace and encouragement with moving forward. It just should have been built on better foundation, to prevent it from tumbling down. And again, rest assured that what is played shows the skill that they all posses, but there's no way it's done to full potential. Think of this as a group of smart students that don't apply their gifts in real life very well.

Since Scorpions were entering older age, it only makes sense that they'd begin to tone down, and approach different themes, I just wish it wasn't so overdone. This is a bargain bin purchase for sure, as there's more fill than thrill. It's only held up by the provoking subtleties thrown in here and there, and rockers that are admittedly catchy, but nothing too special. Give it a spin, but then let it collect dust for a while before re-visiting.