Scorpions – Rock Believer

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Scorpions are one of my favorite bands that I grew up listening to when I was in high school and the fact is that they have remained dear to my heart until this very day. I still recall the beautiful memories from the early 1990s when I first discovered bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and the list goes on…the German hard rock legends are still relevant in the realm of rock music. For over 50 years in business, Scorpions have been quite influential in their early and mid-career with their discography including a wide selection of great records such as “Fly to the Rainbow”, “In Trance”, and “Love Drive”, “ Blackout” etc…

Rock Believer” is the 20th album that reflects on the prime sound of these German rockers. Despite being in their 70’s, Rudolf Schenker (guitars), and Klaus Meine (vocals), with Matthias Jabs (guitars), show an impeccable spirit of crafting heavy tunes. Onboard, we also see Mikkey Dee (ex-Motörhead, ex-King Diamond) (drums), and Pawel Maciwoda (bass guitar) bring a full zeal of energy. The opening track “Gas In The Tank” explodes in a fiery blast of sharp solos and the badass drumming by Mikkey Dee captures the ears. Klaus Meine‘s vocals are soulful charismatic and packed with massive rocking riffs, Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs provide a piece of the action with such outstanding consistency. The slew of riff mania brought a combustible mixture of flaming melodies and scorching solos that will remind the old fans of their amazing flamboyance. Next is “Roots In My Boots” bursting into anthemic vocals, infectious choruses, and the riffs are damned heavy with lots of tempo changes the sensational energy gets quite addictive!

Scorpions are still gifted in crafting catchy songs and they can still rock you like a hurricane, every moment seems is loud and powerful as the band delivers outstanding performance. Mikkey Dee has brought the dirty attitude of Motörhead into the songwriting, and ongs like “Knock ‘em Dead” capture the glamour of Scorpions 80 era. The musicianship is balanced by catchy hooks and sharp guitar riffs but it’s not all about that. For instance the track “Rock Believer” shows the band’s unique style of playing heavy metal. Riffs ride the ether and sail to the edge of the rainbow bridge. With emotionally packed vocals and catchy hooks, this song brings many memories from Scorpions‘ classic era. There are a lot of riffs that are reminiscent of albums like “Love at the First Sting”, and “Blackout” and you can expect nothing less than contagious melodies, grooves, and memorable vocals. “Rock Believer” has the introspective muse of the past and it goes without saying that this is easily Scorpions‘ best output since the 2004 album “Unbreakable”.

The second half of the album delivers a volatile mixture of emotions and solid hard rock song structures. Songs like “Shining Of Your Soul” contain some beautiful melodies that only these guys can deliver. The vocals of Klaus Meine touch lofty heights where his full range of warm and catchy anthems are evocative whereas the semi-reggae-like grooves are awash by heavy bouncing guitars. The song reminds me of their hit ballad “Is There Anybody There” and part of the song has a pulsating section of Pawel Maciwoda’s bass guitar. The very opening of the next track “Seventh Sun” will strike you with the loud gigantic riffs juxtaposing the fierce drum sound. Scorpions combine some modern elements with a menacing synthesizer and loaded by the locomotive riffing reinstalling the signature sound of the band. Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs exhibit excellent dual guitar riffing that coalesce together into instant hooks. “Hot and Cold” seems to have that dirty rock ‘n’ roll attitude that is very old school, the energy boost of the relentless riffing and  battering drums tunes your ears somewhat to the sound of Motörhead. The ferocity of the guitar solos has that sharp tone that echoes on “When I Lay My Bones To Rest”, and “Call Of The Wild” takes you on an amusing ride. On other songs, Scorpions generate stomping riffs and plenty of swaggering and hard rock tunes unleashed in a full organic manner. Raw and heavy, Scorpions show no remorse on “Rock Believer”, the kind of stamina which is brought here is powerful and proverbial.

When You Know (Where You Come From)” serves as a fine ballad played in the typical Scorpions‘ style that is slow and heavy. While the rhythmic vocals soar, the instruments mesh together gently with the flowing guitar lines and melodic textures. The powerful vocals are perfectly layered and thus the Hanover-based rockers Scorpions seal their discography in a way that would bring tears to their loyal fans!

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 10/10
8.8

Rock Believer” is a contemporary and significant album for the band, although this isn’t necessarily a true masterpiece, it stands strongly as a testament to the band’s ability to consistently write heavy and catchy songs filled with energy, even in their already blessed age.

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