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A new direction - 78%

WastedYears, May 4th, 2009

The Scorpions were the band that introduced me to heavy metal, so my first reviews for the Archives will be for the Scorpions’ discography. I already wrote a review to Lonesome Crow and I will continue with their second album Fly to the Rainbow, which was released in 1974.

The first thing you will notice is that the lineup has completely changed, apart from the two leading members Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker. I guess these two guys will go on until one of them dies. Gone are Wolfgang Dziony and Lothar Heimberg (I have no idea what happened to them afterwards) and also guitarist Michael Schenker. He decided to accept an offer to join British rockers UFO. The new guys on drums and bass are Jürgen Rosenthal and long-time member Francis Buchholz. But the biggest change is the new guitarist Uli Jon Roth (or Ulrich Roth back then). With him came a change in the music.

As I pointed out in my review on Lonesome Crow, that album was heavily influenced by jazz. But these influences seem to have disappeared when Heimberg and Dziony left. The psychedelic influences are still there but different, in a way that is less dark, but more peaceful and positive. The new man on lead guitar, Uli Roth, brings the music of Jimi Hendrix into the band. This becomes clear when you hear Drifting Sun, a track entirely composed and sung by Roth. In my opinion, this is one of the highlights on the record, even though Roth’s voice is rather thin. But his guitar playing is absolutely brilliant.

The rest of the album is heavily driven by acoustic guitars. Unfortunately they brought in a few fillers, which are not bad but forgettable. Examples would be This Is My Song and Far Away. They Need a Million is a bit strange. It begins with acoustic guitars and Klaus singing, but then switches to something that sounds a bit like a Latin rhythm to me. Uli sings this part (I think) but his voice sounds strangely distorted. Fly People Fly is far better. It sounds very relaxed. I wonder what they were smoking when they recorded it…

Like on Lonesome Crow, the title track, co-written by Uli Roth, is the best song on the album. It is a nine minute epic, which starts with a happy sounding intro but changes its direction to pure epic beauty with creative guitar playing. It also has a mystical spoken part by Uli in the middle. Pure magic!

Another song I have to mention is the opener Speedy’s Coming. This is the first time the Scorpions wrote something you could call hard rock. This song points the direction the band will take in the future. But I think the song feels a little bit out of place here.

My conclusion is: Overall the album is weaker than the debut, because it is a bit inconsistent. It seems the Scorpions wanted to change their sound but they didn’t really know which direction to take. Nevertheless, it is an album worth owning, at least for the title track and Drifting Sun. I would strongly recommend it to everyone who likes the seventies.