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Continues to entertain - 94%

Lane, November 26th, 2019

German legends Scorpions' 'Love at First Sting' album has been on my playlist since 1984, the year it was released. It might not be my most listened to album ever, though. Then again, it is one of those responsible platters that made me a metalhead, together with Loudness's 'Disillusions', Dio's 'Last in Line' (the album that includes bass player Jimmy Bain, who actually played with Scorpions during initial sessions for this album, that took place in Stockholm, Sweden's, Polar Studios in the Summer of 1983) from same year, Kiss's 1982 'Creatures of the Night', Motley Crüe's 1983 album 'Shout at the Devil', and Accept's 1985 album 'Metalheart'. All prime fucking classics.

Scorpions were the biggest rock/metal band that came from Germany. Came? Well, these days they are probably outweighed by Rammstein. Anyway, back in 1984, Scorpions had tasted such success before that more was wanted. On the 1979 album 'Lovedrive' the band found the formula for fame: mixing catchy yet ripping hard rock tunes with heartbreaking ballads. 'Still Loving You'. This song was played who knows how many times in youth discos at the end of night... Remember? I bet you do, if you were born in 1970s. The song has been played on radio, I guess, a few million times. Ever heard it on radio? I bet yes. The song is one of the sweetest yet most sorrowful ballads the band have ever put out. It has been played to death, but fuck me if it ain't kicking like a horny bull! Totally unforgettable, want it or not.

But the song ends the album, so let's get back to the beginning. 'Bad Boys Running Wild' does somewhat include Scorpions' speed metal trait: The opening riff is simply ripping and so are some guitar solo licks. The band also show their technical know-how. And, of course, their absolute head for catchy tune. A fantastic opener, yet there's more to come. Thinking about played-to-death songs, 'Rock You Like a Hurricane' is one of them with its hugely catchy chorus. Well, there's nothing uncatchy in the song, to tell the truth. The band carry a slight glam-trait, but it is not as L.A. as so often (definitely not as much as for example when UK legends Judas Priest wanted to sound like a band from Sunset Strip after mid 1980s). Suprisingly, when thinking about its name, 'I'm Leaving You' is actually a rocker with some cool NWOBHM-style riffing. Did I already mention how catchy they are?! The band is on the winning streak here...

First ballad-ish moments are heard on the start of 'Coming Home'. Airy and otherworldly vibe turns to rocking Teutonic fist-banger. 'The Same Thrill' is a rock 'n' roll song; I almost could hear Lemmy singing it! It's not a perfect fit for the album, though. One of the 5 (!!!) singles out of this album, 'Big City Nights', is another huge gem of catchy-as-heck rock, and takes it all back on track. 'As Soon as the Good Times Roll' contains some wicked ska-rhythms, but doesn't sound like Madness for sure. Nice, well-working clash of styles. 'Crossfire' is another different song with its darker, almost militaristic (well, anti-militaristic more like when thinking about its lyrics...).

And then there's this ballad...

Admittedly, the album does how a couple of weaker links ('The Same Thrill' and 'Crossfire', which in fact aren't bad nor boring, not even close), but is still very, very strong opus of catchy and damn fun balls-to-the-wall rock, as well as some melancholy-infused moments.

Klaus Meine's vocals are unique. His voice is somewhat sneezy yet soaring! The vibrato is sometimes speedy, and he handles it well. There's power and passion in him, as well as softness in required moments. Guitar duo of Rudolf Schenker (founder of the band, and composer of all the music here) and Matthias Jabs is on fire here, throwing loads of cool tricks every now and then. Ripping and shredding is what lead guitar work often is. If you're fan of such pyrotechnics, you'll love this. Sometimes I feel it's close to Eddie Van Halen. I love the ripping guitar tone, it grabs the listener for sure. Bass player Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell offer pulsing and strict backbone. The production job was one of the first digital hard rock recordings. Whatever, the sound is totally clear yet punchy.

Thrills, action and tears is what Scorpions' 9th studio album offers. It won't leave a listener cold, but yes, some people might have heard some of its songs a few too many times. I personally cannot get bored or annoyed by anything it presents. A bonafide classic.

(Originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com)

“Still Loving You Sunday Morning…” - 93%

bayern, May 22nd, 2018

“… and Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday morning… still loving you.” Yes, the Love was really big at the time when this album was released. It was literally everywhere, in the air, in the water, in the soil, in the beer, in the… I don’t remember which morning it was exactly when I sat down to count how many perfect scores I could give to the Scorpions output… I counted four, to the two concerts (“Tokyo Tapes” & “Worldwide Live”), to “Animal Magnetism” and to “Blackout”; the biggest number of perfect scores I give to a single band… But then, as I think of it, the impact can’t be that big provided that we’re talking a huge discography comprising whole 20 full-lengths; definitely not as big as, say, three perfect scores across a 5/6-album output…

This opus here was a likely candidate for a fifth 100 at some point, but the more I listen to it (maybe I should stop) the more I get disenchanted by the presence of two pieces: “As Soon as the Good Times Roll” and “Crossfire”. The first one is just a mellow filler which so strongly reminds me of the worst track in the Scorpions repertoire, the obnoxiously romantic “Is There Anybody There?” from “Lovedrive” that skipping it has nearly become a favourite pastime of mine; and the second one is a boisterous epicer that simply doesn’t fit into the monolithic façade of the album except as a more vociferous splitter between the two lyrical escapades at the end, the already mentioned “As Soon…” and “Still Loving You”. Both numbers take away about three points, give or take, from the perfect score to all the hurricane lovers’ and big city boys’ utter chagrin…

Not that I firmly belong to either of these two categories, and I see no faults whatsoever in the remaining half hour with “Bad Boys Running Wild” in the streets at the beginning, the situation not looking very safe with the belligerent riffage creating numerous headbanging opportunities, before “Rock You like a Hurricane” rocks you like… well, a sure MTV hit which amazingly became the guys’ most emblematic anthem having in mind that it’s just a catchy sugar-coated heavy rocker, a template the band later used successfully to create a whole album (“Savage Amusement” that is). It’s by no means the highlight here, but it’s so fuckin’ infectious that one can’t help but have a good time jumping around on it before things take a more aggressive, speedier direction with the brilliant “I'm Leaving You”, a lively roller-coaster and a personal favourite; it beats me why the band continuously refuse to perform this fabulous cut live… No such refusals for “Coming Home”, of course, although the soft balladic intro is always omitted during live performances, the rest being speed metal carnage second to none, uproariously supported by “The Same Thrill” (yeah, exactly!), another hyper-active speed metal shredfest after which the guys well-deservedly can take a break.

“Big City Nights” is logically an introspective heavy metal hymn cause another fast-paced melee would have turned this album into a “Walls of Jericho” precursor; not that this wouldn’t have been the more preferable option for a certain part of the fanbase, but something had to serve as the mediator between the belligerent and the mellower side of this showing, the latter wrapping it on, comprising the already discussed compositions plus the closer. “Still Loving You” is a great ballad, no doubt about that, but it’s a bit of an exaggeration to be viewed the finest achievement of the band in this trend, a view shared by a huge number of people. To these ears the Scorps never managed to surpass the extraordinary “Yellow Raven” from “Virgin Killer”, arguably the greatest ballad in music history, but this cut here still delivers thanks to the ultra-heavy seismic riffage which sounds as though the song will leave the balladic confines at any moment; and last but not least Rudolf Schenker’s sublime lead contribution should also be taken into consideration. The guy literally leaves his heart and soul on this one with these spell-binding melodic pirouettes flying from all sides near the end. Still loving it, that’s for sure, after all these years…

All the vital ingredients for a grand Scorpions party are here: the aggressive fast-paced material, the catchy sing-along anthems, the more or less idyllic ballads… the unmitigated ballast which in this particular case simply can’t remain unmentioned. It doesn’t hurt that bad (yet), mind you, and I’m sure for the majority these two numbers are hardly a detriment, and many can easily justify their presence… Well, what can you do? Sometimes the perfectionist starts taking the upper hand, rising somewhere from the top of your brain, definitely not from the centre of your heart, and starts looking for pitfalls that may or may not be there. Again, at the beginning the whole album was one impressive solid listening experience and was such for a lengthy period, but with age I catch myself picking on this or that motif, on this or that riff-pattern, on this or that vocal staggering… here and elsewhere.

Yeah, I guess this music is not for ageing cantankerous citizens regardless of how young and wild they may feel at heart and soul. Still, that doesn’t mean that they won’t play “Still Loving You” time and again on a bright Sunday morning, sitting on the veranda sipping beer… sorry, coffee, determined or rather hoping to seduce the beautiful young, or maybe not so young and not that exceedingly beautiful, damsel next door. Well, as people say, if you don’t succeed with the first “sting”, try again… and again… and again…

Quality Commercial Metal - 89%

SweetLeaf95, May 13th, 2018

If it isn't obvious already, Love At First Sting is widely seen as the most successful record by the bad boys running in Germany. By 1984, they had built a strong reputation of amazing records one after another, back to back ever since Fly To The Rainbow. Subtle changes would carry through the years, winding up with the one that would bring them the most radio airplay and singles. Moreover, it also made for a very clean production, pop-metal garnishings on a lot of the tracks, and very accessible tunes, making it easier to broaden their audience. What do all of these things produce? A record that has strong delivery, yet could shatter the fragile ego of many a metal-goer.

Admittedly, "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and "Still Loving You" are pretty played out, and seldom would I ever choose to listen to these tracks on their own. However, as part of the record, they're extremely fitting and fall right into place with the beauty of the rest of the album. The gritty force that was the main attraction of the '70s records is now gone, and replaced by catchier riffs, that still have a nice bite to them. "I'm Leaving You" is a killer clash of heavy rhythms and clean guitar licks working as a team to create one of the finest tunes on here. The bass-lines in this one are pretty stellar as well. Don't let the lack of Uli Roth fool you either, because the load doesn't all fall on the creative instincts of Rudolf Schenker. Matthias Jabs rips just as well, just has a different playing style. Rather busting out bouncy, classical influenced bridges and solos, there are instead a greater abundance of shredding solos and fret tapping complexity that was becoming essential at the time. And of course, there are no more Roth fronted tracks, which goes without saying. Klaus is in complete control, and sounds amazing as ever.

"Bad Boys Running Wild" is another one of the greatest tracks here, as this displays Jab's ability right from the start, delivering a strong, all-over-the-fret-board type solo. "Big City Nights" sticks a pop overtone into this, yet holds the same quality. Plus, '80s pop is pretty good, and if anything works as a great compliment to the songs on here. Slower, calm moments work wonders on this record. The intro to "Coming Home" gives it a nice build-up before breaking into one of the heaviest, and also strongest tracks on the entire record. "Crossfire" is another slow one that does not disappoint. The drum beat in this one is rather fascinating, too. Sex appeal plays a large role in this entire release across the board (if that isn't obvious). Like many of the other factors, this was a fairly prominent feature of the time period. It's no wonder that this has always been a go-to record with the ladies.

Simply put, Love At First Sting was the album that brought the ideas that were beginning to show in Blackout into full from. Really, even since Lovedrive you can sense a change into this direction, likely due to that one being the first non-Roth album. As amazing as everything before that was, it would have likely gone stale had there not been some style shifts. Poppy does not mean bad. This is packed with shredding solos, powerful vocals and riffs, soothing clean guitars, and bouncy bass-lines galore. Yeah, the really huge songs get old, but what are you gonna do?

Love at First Sting, Awful at Second - 40%

The_CrY, February 20th, 2010

If there is one thing I can’t understand, then it’s why the hell the commercial albums by metal bands often are the most praised among the fans. It was like that with Queensrÿche’s Empire, Judas Priest’s British Steel and, even though it’s not metal, Kayak’s Phantom of the Night. Love at First Sting is no different from all those. Cheap, commercial, uninteresting, but still very praised among the majority of the Scorpions’ fans. This I totally can’t get to. Honestly, I don’t care what genre a band plays. They can go progressive, they can go grunge, or they can go commercial, as long as the songs are good and original. I’m not sure that is the case with this album.

With the raw sound the Scorpions adopted in the 70s already dismissed on 1982’s Blackout, Love at First Sting sounds overpolished at times, and very uninspired. Apparently the masses don’t care for good songwriting, since I’ve rarely come across a commercial album with solely good songs. Anyhow, we are welcomed into the album by a shrieking guitar dubbed in a nasty 80s chorus effect. The rest of the song “Bad Boys Running Wild” consists of a few average riffs with an average vocal melody over the verses. The chorus is where the song gets a little more interesting... IT’S ABOMINABLE! They shout the title of the song with a choir and then ramble on about “and you better get out of the way”. Well, if this song is accompanying these “Bad Boys” then I’ll sure stay out of their way. Ah well, the second song makes it all right. “Rock you like a Hurricane”, a true live-track with a catchy riff, but nothing really memorable. I guess this is one of the better tracks off the album, and that says something. We proceed with what the opening track tried to tell us in “I’m Leaving You”. Again, a bunch of average riffs with an average vocal melody and you’ve got it. The bridge is quite catchy though.

The REAL music starts with “Coming Home”. On the Blackout album we already saw the Scorpions could make 80s metal with a good result, and this song would’ve fit better on that album. It starts off like a ballad, with some arpeggiated chords as an intro, but then kicks off into a speedy rocker full of energy. And THIS is riffing; THIS is what the Scorpions can do so well. Not all that commercial crap the rest of the album is filled with. Such a shame. But as soon as they’ve recorded a masterpiece like this, they think they can take on the world and give birth to another fast song called “The Same Thrill”. Nothing is as bad as this song. Was there an election for the worst Scorpions song ever? I’ll pick this one. How low can we go? The entire verse-chorus-verse-chorus is the same chord, with singer Klaus Meine just shouting the lyrics over it. The bridge is a little different, but nothing worthwhile, and then we get that same chord again for the solo. Wasn’t that fun? No it wasn’t.

Remember track two? “Rock You Like A Hurricane”? Meet his twinbrother, “Big City Nights”. Since BCN was born two minutes earlier, it beats its younger brother by far. This time, we have a real catchy riff instead of just using every chord on the e-minor pentatonic scale, and this time the melody is way better. This is Blackout quality. But beware of its end! For there’s another piece of sheer boredom following this one. “As Soon As the Good Times Roll” is a song that can pass by and never be noticed. Or at least the verses. But I assure you the chorus is just more of the “Same Thrill”-quality. Next song is “Crossfire”. A song with political character that doesn’t seem to vary its drum-rhythms, but still manages to be so catchy and epic to keep me listening to it over and over again. Last song off the album is the big hit “Still Loving You”. I can’t say anything bad about this one. This is truly a classic Scorpions song through and through. A really good power ballad with an epic chorus and epic ending.
Well I think I gave you a pretty good impression of Love at First Sting. It’s commercial through and through, with some elements of the good side of the Scorpions showing up, especially near the end of the album. With a few good songs, a few really bad songs and a few average ones, I don’t think this release deserves the praise it gets. I wouldn’t recommend this album to anyone, unless you get horny by the cover. Only then you might enjoy this CD.

Strongest tracks: “Coming Home”, “Big City Nights” and “Crossfire”.
Weakest tracks: “Bad Boys Running Wild”, “The Same Thrill” and “As Soon As the Good Times Roll”.

http://thecryreviews.blogspot.com/

Scorpions Month II: Love at First Cash Grab - 69%

Empyreal, December 10th, 2009

This is the second installment of December is for Scorpions, and today we jump into the future of the band with one of the releases from their commercial heyday. Enticed? I hope so.

Well, after Blackout, there really wasn’t any place for Germany’s rock heroes to go but down, and down they went with Love at First Sting. Now, before you go nuts, I still don’t think this is really bad. This album is pretty decent overall, if not uninspired and somehow even more commercial than the previous effort. I mean, really, that’s an accomplishment! Blackout was already unabashedly commercial and fiendishly hook-oriented, and this one is like, how much commercial ass can we kiss? Apparently, a lot.

“Bad Boys Running Wild” kicks off first, and the problem is evident: the band slowed down. They still play their trademark brand of creamy hard rock, but somehow it just sounds slower and stodgier, less dynamic and less electric in tempo. It sounds dumbed down, is what it is. The rhythm section just isn’t playing as fast or as smooth as on the previous one. Even despite this, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and the epic “Coming Home” manage to kick things up a notch with build-ups to crescendos of Germanic power and metallic might. Klaus Meine croons away over the pristine guitar riffs and melodic leads like an extremely nasal, sleazy siren, and the rhythm section keeps on crunching. “Crossfire” is the album’s weird talking point, with a militaristic beat and a sort of patriotic feel to it – a hymn to fallen heroes, perhaps? It’s an interesting song, which of course means that the band wouldn’t do it again or expound upon it on the following release – but that’s another story.

A lot of the stuff on here sort of falls into the bargain-bin-esque category of “listenable and fun, but would you really miss it if it were gone?” It’s filler stuff. Songs like “I’m Leaving You,” “Big City Nights” and especially the tepid droll of “As Soon as the Good Times Roll” just don’t really go anywhere. These songs are pretty much cashing in on the whole 80s glam rock thing that so many bands were doing at the time, except with the old Scorpions flair – it’s like seeing an old friend coming home from a trip completely changed, without anything that made him or her distinguishable. They resign themselves to sounding…bland and uninspired. Not ambitious at all except for the band’s desire to make money. That may have been an incentive. The filler on Blackout was so good that it almost wasn’t filler at all, and certainly didn’t detract from the album’s lightning-fire energy. I only wish the same thing was true for this album.

The last song on here is “Still Loving You,” another one of the band’s long epic romance ballads, and a good one, at that. Which is why it gets its own paragraph. I don’t think this song is quiiiiite as good as some people seem to, but it’s definitely of reasonably good quality. I like the mature, somber feel it has and the poignant lyrics, and their delivery – probably the best performance by Klaus Meine that this album boasts. It is a quiet, slow song with a wistful, mourning feel, and it succeeds as that, ending the album on a much more serious and mature note than it deserved. How deceitful.

So that’s Love at First Sting, the album that unfortunately cemented the band’s place in mainstream rock history when it should have been one of their previous ones. It is pretty decadent, without a lot of the charm of the band’s earlier releases (hell, even their recent releases at the time; this was only two years after Blackout!), and replaced with a lot of hollow imitation of said charm. But I have to admit, the imitations are at least decent ones, and the album remains at least a little bit entertaining.

…well, most of it…

…Okay, about half of it. Eh, it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been Savage Amusement

Good... Metal? - 77%

Erdrickgr, January 4th, 2008

This was the last Scorpions record from a five year period (1979-1984) in which they were really churning out the best material of their career. While not living up to Lovedrive or Blackout, this album still has a lot of ass kicking songs, and some awesome slower material as well.

The album begins with the rocker Bad Boys Running Wild, which along with Big City Nights and a couple other songs, really adds some rocking meat to the album. I think that, overall, this album is heavier than a lot of their previous albums, which is sort of interesting considering that it was also their best selling album in the U.S. (triple platinum).

Then there is Rock You Like a Hurricane, which I guess is the main reason that this record sold so well. It's one of those infectuously good songs that you'll probably listen to, even if you loathe pop metal. The other major reason that this album sold so well would probably be Still Loving You, which is a great ballad.

There are a few average songs, though I wouldn't go so far as to call them filler. Also, while they drag the album down somewhat, they are scattered throughout the album, so there's no long lulls. I guess this album would be pop metal, but it nonetheless has some good tunes.

Classic Scorpions - 75%

DawnoftheShred, March 14th, 2007

One of the undeniable forces of 80’s metal, the Scorpions stood high above their glam contemporaries, creating a much darker and more technical sound better compared to Skid Row than to Whitesnake. Love at First Sting is a foundation of their popularity, reflecting all of the aspects of their unique sound and while it might not be their best album, it is certainly a good representation of their abilities, dwarfed only by the might of their 70's material and the unfuckable Blackout that preceded it.

There’s a nice variety of song types on here, ranging from standard rockers to ballads to borderline speed metal numbers, all being quality. Despite this, I must say that “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is really fucking overrated. Perhaps it's standard wear from years of mainstream radio play, or maybe its just that the song is unbearably typical of generic 80’s metal, but I can’t stand this track, though a few of the other songs on this album follow its formula. Songs like “I’m Leaving You” and the other big hit “Big City Nights” feature that signature Scorpions catchy riff work with Klaus Meine’s equally signature vocals over top, but without complaints. The rest of the songs mix it up a bit. “The Same Thrill” picks up the pace and displays a ton of cool lead moments, which just begs the question as to why the Schenker/Jabs harmony tag team was never as revered as the Smith/Murray one over in Iron Maiden. But the real beauty of this album (as well as many other Scorps offerings) is the power ballads. It’s in their mellower moments that the band truly shines, evident on the album’s masterpiece “Still Loving You.” Haunting riffing, magnificent vocals, brilliant soloing and great lyrics, this song rules and provides a great tone upon which to end the album.

There’s not a whole lot else to say here. This is classic 80’s metal, classic Scorpions, and classic hard rock. They weren’t pushing any boundaries with this one (though there’s some overt progressivism to be found in “As Soon as the Good Times Roll), but this is solid in performance, technical flair, and songwriting, so what else can you ask for? Definitely worth checking out if you’re into the style.

It rocks you like a freakin' hurricane! - 94%

cyclone, November 30th, 2004

You all know Scorpions. Yeah, you do. They're the band, who has that huge hit, Wind Of Change with that famous start. And this is their metal bible. Love At First Sting is as metal as a record can get. Let me explain a bit. Scorpions are a German heavy metal/hard rock/arena rock band. They have this great singer, who's voice is completely out of this planet and guitarists, who are able to do the most catchy riffs, flashy solos and all-in-all great songs you could ever imagine. And this is, in my opinion their finest record.

Klaus Meine does a great job with vocals. As said, he has an amazing voice and he was probably born just to sing on this record. Melodic, fun and catchy. That's what is all about. Jabs and Schenker also do great. They produce some of the catchiest riffs ever. The riffs are really simple, but they work just amazing. Soloing and lead work is typically 80s. Flashy and pure fun.

The record is really well balanced, but there are some highlights worth mentioning. The opener, Bad Boys Running Wild is a great way to start off. Nice catchy chorus, neat guitar work and the lyrics that just scream HEAVY METAL!

Rock You Like A Hurricane is the best song on the album. It's one of those song you just love. The ones who just make you wanna scream, headbang and just go crazy (see also: Mötley Crüe - Kickstart My Heart, Saxon - Princess Of The Night,...). Awesome! It goes almost the same for Big City Nights. Two songs like that on an album - a winner! Crossfire is a neat song with that army rhythm, which works fine.

Scorpions have always been the masters of ballads. And they didn't fail to do it again. Still Loving you is a touching ballad, placed at the end of the album and it's definitely a must-hear. As one can see from the title, it's about love. It builds up with an acoustic, the verse part is really mellow and soft, but the chorus picks it up a little bit, just to get a bit more exciting.

Love At First Sting is a great album. If you like heavy metal, and I'm sure you do, get it! Now!

Nearly perfect pop-metal - 86%

OlympicSharpshooter, April 18th, 2004

And after Blackout there was Love at First Sting, the second biggest seller in Scorpions catalogue, and with good reason. This is scintillating hair metal, quintessential 80's rock, and a great all around record. I don't think it can be denied that the mid-to-late 70's records were the Scorpions real zenith (In Trance, Virgin Killer, Taken by Force, Tokyo Tapes), but this stuff was the height of their popularity, and it shows that they could do hard-edged commercial metal as good or better than Ratt, Def Leppard, or Motley Crue. Turns out this would also be the last really good Scorpions record though, as the band suddenly developed a single-minded drive to destroy any respect that twelve years of hard rockin' had accrued.

Other than Klaus Meine's inimitable voice, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Scorpions is guitar perfection, and LAFS does not disappoint. I've always found it strange that Scorpions, who have had four unbelievably talented and influential guitarists are never given their fair due from guitar mags and metal lists. Rudolf Schenker, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, and Matthias Jabs. These men have come up with solo after solo, riff after riff that have been branded into my brain, many of them from this album. Rudy Schenker and Jabs are the tandem on LAFS, and although it doesn't match the virtuosity of Blackout, there is plenty to love here. "Bad Boys Running Wild" is the frenzied album opener, and despite the insipid lyrics and recycled riff (see: "Dynamite"), it's hard to ignore. Harder still is "Crossfire", an adrenaline-pumping rhythm section driven firecracker that is tailor-made for the live environment.

Since you've all heard it ad nauseum, it's easy to forget how original "Rock You Like a Hurricane" is. There's no blues-based simplistics here, Scorpions blending thespian metal theatrics with arena rock, coming up with a really incendiary song that took the air-waves by storm. Just listen to that opening flourish, cold steel winding and mixing and building up to a crescendo, the verses simple and withdrawn with the guitars simply adding atmosphere while Meine whispers gleefully, and then BOOM! that chorus hits you like a tidal wave and the guitars build up these windy cathedrals that a less commercial band might've turned into something like "Hallowed be thy Name". And hell, that solo has some serious power behind it, almost making you forget the nonsensical video for the song. Almost.

For pure force though, there is a song that tops it. "Coming Home" is a flat out amazing song, folks. It opens with a tender acoustic intro, fooling you into thinking it's another power ballad (not that there's anything wrong with that...) before smacking you upside the head and bursting forth with unbridled metal might. This is pretty good speed metal actually. That underrated rhythm section is top-notch here, particularly Rarebell who stomps and fills with an admirable solid quality like a less busy Vinnie Appice. Man though, you just can�t ignore the hot chops on the solo, one of those shredders that just tears off the record and "melts your face". Hell, Meine is perfect on this one too, stretching his upper register and playing what could be a silly song with just straight-faced earnestness that you just have to respect it. Very good use of sudden stops in the action too, as if simulating a rollercoaster ride.

The new Scorpions keep it simple, stupid, attitude is really laid out with the gleefully sparkly "Big City Nights". This is just a perfect energetic rocker, sorta like "No One Like You" in that it has the classic Scorpions steel grafted onto a standard pop construct and forms a totally different hybrid. The solos by Jabs are just so damn dramatic, even here, especially the little transitional lick heading into the slow break, before taking off on the power of Meine's voice for another fast Jabs diddler. This is perfect cruising music, and its great fun to sing along with these strangely accented German tourists. And, I'll point out, this is nothing like the ball-less clap-trap that Scorpions would put out basically non-stop for the rest of their careers, the soulless pap that would make Scorpions possibly the worst sell-outs in metal history.

A lot of the other songs on here are awfully generic, particularly Schenker's rather dull classic rocky "As Soon as the Good Times Roll", so I'll gloss over them in favour of devoting more time to the last song on the album, and also the best one. Yep, "Still Loving You" is one of the all time best Scorpions songs, and probably the best power ballad ever written. Really. Klaus Meine is kind of a repulsive little imp, but I'll be damned if he isn't a romantic SOB. This song is his calling card, a challenge to other vocalists out there to be this emotional, this grandiose, this by God powerful. Thing is, he cruises through the majority of this thing in a very reserved fashion, scarcely registering a pulse as he spins his tale of lost love and woe, going up just a little at the choruses, stringing us along... until we get to the real climax, this incredible release of pent up lust and sorrow, perhaps the zenith of the mid to late Scorpions catalogue.

"I'm still lovin' you
Me alone
Still lovin' you..."

So, simple, but so effective. And let�s not forget one of the best solos I've ever heard, Jabs and Schenker turning in a magical performance, one of those long solos that follows the music rather than breaking from it, adding colour and depth to these simple chords, duelling high-note for high-note with Meine before plunging down. It's just perfection.

So despite the effusive praise, I do have to knock off a few points here and there because it isn't as all-around solid as Blackout and it has a lot of really forgettable songs. But when Scorpions are on, as they are through so much of Love at First Sting... they're tough to top.

Stand-Outs: �Still Loving You�, �Coming Home�, �Rock You Like a Hurricane�