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Did I get the Sonny & Cher version of this album? - 61%

TrooperEd, April 13th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, EMI (Remastered)

I'm beginning to think Sin After Sin, Stained Class and Killing Machine should start losing points for giving birth to a stereotype that if a metal band which accomplished commercial success in the 80s put out albums in the 70s, those albums are infinitely heavier then their 80s counterparts. I've spent about a good decade and a half peeking over the fence at Scorpions, but if only a record company could put out a greatest hits collection that had both eras of the band that wasn't double disc or so miserably expensive. Hearing this in full, I was right to be cautions.

I will gladly admit that Sails of Charon is everything it's hyped up to be and more. Writing credit faux-pas be damned, it's a crying shame the band never played this live at all. This is power metal majesty at it's finest, easily the Scorps masterpiece. He's A Woman, She's A Man ain't too shabby either, though I think calling it proto-thrash might be a bit too generous. With that being said, if you have those two songs on mp3, you've heard everything you have to hear from this album. We'll Burn the Sky has a decent riff, but some days of the week it just gets run into the ground. When I find myself asking when the damn guitar solo is gonna start already, I seem to snap out of a trance and unfortunately realize I was already about halfway through it. Then I have to rewind. I hate rewinding. Guys, placing a generic riff or chord strum under your guitar solo section in order to accentuate it is not the horrid crime you think it is. Hell Iron Maiden were masters at it.

The rest of the album isn't trash, but it's rigged with problems that an album with this kind of reputation should not have. Those problems include laughably stupid lyrics (Steamrock Fever), too much 70s rock and not enough metal (I've Got To Be Free, Your Light), and the vocals being way too poppy-bouncy (The Riot of Your Time). There's catchy, and then there's distracting. And yes, some of these problems are indeed the trappings of one Ulrich Roth. Roth is unquestionably one hell of a guitar player, proudly carrying on a tonal legacy of Jimi Hendrix. Your Light would have made one hell of a Band of Gypsys track. But people laud him like he was Randy Rhoads before Randy Rhoads; as though he was THE metal component of the band. He did write the aforementioned Sails of Charon after all. But you know what he didn't write? Dynamite; Can't Get Enough; Don't Make No Promises (Your Body Can't Keep). Not to demonize the man but if he was just so metal, he should have gone on to have a career similar to Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai or at least Stevie Ray Vaughn, but he didn't. The Scorpions seemed to do OK without him.

My dear reader, definitely make sure you have a copy of Sails of Charon on your iPod shuffle. But if you're looking for a rock band from the 70s with strong metal overtones and/or credentials, go pick yourself up some Thin Lizzy. Or Blackout.

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks the second half of Born To Touch Your Feelings should have been the credits music to the obesely morbid anime Grave Of The Fireflies?