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Got No Soul - 15%

Zombie_Quixote, December 10th, 2009

If what John Coltrane said about music is accurate- that it is in fact a representation of the performer's soul- than the five members of german heavy metal outfit Scorpions have among them a grand total of zero souls. Which is pretty bad to say of them during the seventies, because come the eighties they would sell what is worth five souls for the fame awarded to them for such awful rock ballads as Rock You Like a Hurricane and No One Like You. Once Beelzebub finds out he's been played, I'm sure there will be a Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash in this band's future. But onto the review of Virgin Killer.

In this vast genre called rock and roll- from which metal branched- there are two types of bands. There are bands who play music, your Led Zeppelins, Pink Floyds, Judas Priests, Iron Maidens, Black Sabbaths, etc. (Whether or not you like all of these bands is inconsequential. The point is that these are bands that have made a genuine attempt to express themselves in an artistic medium). And they have fun playing music but primarily what they do is play music. They write a series of riffs, vocal lines, bass lines, and rhythms that become a complete work of art. The second kind of band is the type of band that thinks it would be pretty nifty if they got into one of these band things for the strict purpose of scoring groupies and drugs. And scoring groupies and drugs isn't a bad motivation for living, it's only a bad motivation for attempting to spear yourself into an artistic medium, which, I remind you, music is.

It should be obvious that I think Scorpions fall into the latter category.

It's not that I think having fun with music is bad, or even that I think getting into music to have fun is bad; I just think that you should have a shred of artistic talent before you attempt to degrade an entire art form. And Scorpions degrades art like R Kelly degrades a fifteen year old girl.

Scorpions is not without talent, they are without soul; I would like to draw that distinction before I continue. The guitarist can play, the bassist can too, the vocalist can sing and the drummer can... okay, the drummer's actually not so hot, but the rest of them have at least thumbed through some literature on the subject of music. The problem is that functioning as a collective unit they have no idea what to do with themselves and end up running in place. Their riffs don't lead anywhere, so their solos don't matter. The vocal lines are filled with hooks but their subject matter is vapid and that's not a problem usually for heavy metal; it's only that in the sea of sterility that is this album something has to stand out and NOTHING STANDS OUT. Except that drummer who I imagine was a sad, homeless invalid pounding on trash cans in the band's hometown and they decided to take pity on him and let them into their group. Because, really, who needs drums when you've got slick riffs and hooky vocals, am I right?

This is formulaic, rock and roll drivel at its worst. The songs are formulaic and so is the whole damn album. It's the formula that made the glam bands of the eighties so nauseating. Rock anthem, ballad, rock anthem, ballad, occassional speed metal track sprinkled in between and the band proclaims, "We've made an art!"

My main problem with this album in particular is that it all sounds so full of holes, if you catch my meaning. It's as though each and every song is missing something in the writting. There are giant gaps in the music where there should be something- an extra beat in the drums, an additional note to the riff, or a guitar solo, perhaps a well-executed scream from the vocalist- but there's nothing and there never is anything because this band doesn't care about their music which is precisely my problem when bands forget that they are playing music and music is art. Imagine if Van Gogh had left pieces of his canvas empty and when asked about it, he shrugged and said, "The painting wasn't really fun anymore, so I moved on".

That's what this band is: a whole lot of canvas and nothing on it but some pretty colors. And vomit, but that's mine.