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Nostalgic for both them and me - 85%

Mr Ferocious, March 11th, 2012

For me, Scorpions are one of about three bands whose watered-down, commercially-driven musical output appeals to me as much as their early, hungry years, when they sounded bulletproof. However, those pop-rock albums aren't really worth reviewing. It's just generic late 80's rock, that stayed at the pub long enough to stumble into the 90's. But this album represents one of the best examples of a band successfully fusing the different sounds they toyed with in the past. Now, the hazy Hendrix-esque daze cannot be recaptured without first catching Uli Jon Roth, but the youthful essence is brilliantly delivered on 'Unbreakable'.

Now. Klaus Maine. I adore this man. He is capable of singing so many emotions, and he seems to be in possession of an elixir of youth, because he sounds like he stepped out of the 'Blackout' recording sessions. He doesn't scream as much as he used to, but on a track like 'Blood Too Hot,' he shows he can shriek like a eunuch warrior in the midst of slaughtering his testicled enemies, whilst delivering operatic dramatism on 'Maybe I, Maybe You,' which incidentally features a piano for the first moody section before moving into a heavy guitar-driven second half. Gang vocals occasionally back up Klaus on the album, adding a touch of menace to the faster tracks.

Scorpions have had catchy guitar work for many a decade now. 'Top of the Bill' is as memorable as 'Bad Boys Running Wild' and the riffs on this album will not escape your head for while after you finish listening to them. There is a variety of meaner metallic riffs that cover groovy tempos to neckbruising speeds, as well as the flat-out heaviness on 'New Generation,' which brings back memories of 'China White.' And that is always a good thing. However, Rudolf and Matthias also deliver some happy bouncy riffs on the out-and-out rock n roll tracks that just make you feel good and all mushy inside. But before I convince you that I have a little girl trapped inside of me, I will mention the ballad 'Through My Eyes.' Why? Because this is not the typical love song that captured the hearts of millions of women around the world. This has some moody arpeggios that do bring you down, before the crashing chords of the chorus pick you up in an inspirational high. In terms of soloing, Matthias handles that venture capably, adding in licks every so often to complement Klaus's voice. There are some interesting solos on the album, such as 'Someday is Now' and they all add to the mood perfectly.

The bass doesn't get a lot of time to itself on the album, with only the infrequent slide to kick off a new verse, just shake things up. However, it does fill out the sound admirably, mostly following the guitars with a few variations. Because it is so loud and chunky, the songs are a lot meatier than they would be without the good production.

On the topic of drums, they don't do anything especially special on the album, adding occasional fills to keep things from getting stale and utilising most of the kit to get the best 4/4 groove possible. The tempo varies from mid-paced rock stomps, with the classic snare-bass dominating everything, to up-tempo speedfests that get me jumping around everytime.

The one track on the album I have anything against is 'Borderline' for dragging on longer than necessary and getting in the way of 'Blood Too Hot.' It's not a bad track but it grinds on repetitively and not sparking any emotion from me.

The title of this review states that this is a nostalgic album. I say that because it sounds as though Scorpions are wishing for the return of the good old days, from their pleas for social change on 'New Generation' to their tales of the shenannigans of the 60's on 'Remember the Good Times' with such a passion they sound like they went out and bought new Kevlar vests and are ready to kick the world in the balls again. It blends all the best aspects and sounds of the band into one album. I would go as far as to call it the ultimate Scorpions album, but 'Lovedrive' is making me feel guilty.

At this point, suffering reader, you may be asking but why is it nostalgic for me? That hasn't come up in the review at all. Aren't you going to tell us?


(How's that for an anticlimax?)