Company: Massacre Release: 2015 Genre: Power Reviewer: Eric Compton
Make no bones about it, this is not the Scanner line-up that released pivotal German power metal staples like "Terminal Earth" (1989) and "Hypertrace" (1988). Those remarkable albums were a cornerstone for the genre alongside other mid-tier heavyweights like Heaven's Gate, Reactor and Squealer. While "The Judgement" isn't as tenacious as earlier works, this isn't the same Scanner that released the somnolent Scantropolis record in 2002. In fact, the only member left after 2002's complete overhaul is the founder, guitarist Axel Julius. Many would agree that the band removed themselves from traditional form with their last album thirteen years ago. The Judgement seeks to better that stale predicament with a record that sees the band return to their early roots with a headlong escapade into speedy German pageantry. Meticulous runs through double-bass overtures, galloping speed picking and operatic vocals are all vigorous reminders that Scanner are back on track, perhaps delivering their best work in nearly twenty years, yet something still seems somewhat suppressed. Where "Terminal Earth" and "Mental Reservation" had more of a roistering Teutonic sound (Grave Digger, Running Wild), this new album sacrifices the gritty pound-for-pound strokes for more European theatrics that wouldn't be out of place in the Italian or Greek scene. This 2015 version of Scanner has more in common with Freedom Call than dauntless acts like Accept. I'm not sure I am completely on board with this band's continued identity crisis.