Scorpions - Unbreakable 2004 Sanctuary/BMG Reviewed by: Jonah Haze
|Track Listing1. New Generation|
2. Love 'Em or Leave 'Em
3. Deep and Dark
5. Blood Too Hot
6. Maybe I Maybe You
7. Someday is Now
8. My City My Town
9. Through My Eyes
10. Can You Feel It
11. This Time
12. She Said
13. Remember the Good Times
Another hyped "return to form" and eagerly anticipated release from classic hard rock influentials has made its way onto the shelves across the world, this time in the form of the Scorpions. Victims of changes in the 90's like so many other 80's heroes, fans followed these arena Aryans on a long boring holiday into completely unneccessary musical territory. The uninspired bedtime ballads of Pure Instinct including the gag-reflex songwriting of Eye2Eye and the bandwagon pukey Philharmonic release was the perfect series of neurotic twitches that could have resulted in a very career damaging blackout.
HOWEVER, the last few years of touring for no reason other than a Greatest Hits release and simply because they could just walk through their live performances must have bored them more than me because Unbreakable stings instead of stinks. Finally!
Comparable to their mid to late 80's releases like Savage Amusement and even as far as 93's solid last stand Face the Heat, these classic Krauts have finally listened to my complaints about how older bands should reinvent and release. Not that I had direct discussions with any of them but it became obvious when some bands were able to survive through the trends and inevitable industry and fan changes while some weren't. Examples like Ozzy, Aerosmith, and Bon Jovi kept the faith and the balls to continue to be themselves when writing and feeling their music but simply hired the right producers to arrange and produce a modern sounding record with mass appeal.
Even if it meant downtuning, sampling, looping, megaphoning, distorting, drinking, crying, mellowing, sobering up, learning, relapsing, remixing, stealing, hiring, firing, fighting, hugging, counseling, comprimising and just pure rocking these artists continued to protect the integrity of the original songwriting which made them the influences and legends they are. I have said all this before and I simply cannot stress it enough, but if Dokken, Motley, Ratt, Def Leppard among others including the Scorps would have been men enough to believe in their originality and innovative styles they might have been able to keep their self-respect and the respect of others. Instead we had almost a decade and albums of undeniable crap.
So, utilizing the modern sonic approach of Eye2Eye and the memorable melodies we all came to love we now have Unbreakable, more like not broken anymore, and these Deutchsters dominate once again! Will others learn their lessons and restore their careers in time for a rock revival? Only Satan and Don Dokken know.
Opening with a nice crunchy distorted mid-tempo riff, New Generation rings of a well balanced past and present bringing immediate hope to the listener's ears that we are back on track. Picking up the pace, Love Em or Leave Em refamiliarizes us with the Crazy World sound and again the message is clear that we are gonna have some fun finally. Deep and Dark slows us down a bit but attacks with a signature arena sound and the next track Borderline keeps a nice solid mid tempo rock beat but mixes in a bit of an experimental vocal melody for the chorus and sucessfully modernizes the tune. Blood Too Hot gets the blood pumping full steam and was placed perfectly in the line up as a homerun hitter. Classic Scorps.
Knowing I couldn't have too much of a good thing, Maybe I Maybe You actually flows quite well and is not the same ballad we have heard from them since the late 80's and has been growing on me. My only problem with the entire album is the obvious post-modern-alternative-grunge-pop-punk riffing on Someday Is Now. Klaus keeps up his end of the deal with a strong veteran voice throughout this song and the rest of the disc but the riff is tired from overuse by bands who don't know any better and dammit the Scorpions do know better. However, the rest of the disc never ceases to rock you only like these gifted Germans can. Special mentions for My City My Town, Through My Eyes and the incredibly fun and neccessary closer Remember The Good Times for maintaining the second half of your listening enjoyment.
Please let me finally shut the hell up already and just say if you are a Scorpions fan or a fan of classic/hard rock with a fun in the sun-driving with the top down feel then go out and support. Buy the CD, go to the concert, have a good time, get hammered and help keep rock and roll alive as long as the artists put out something worthy of support. This album my fellow Hessions, is worth it. In the name of rock, in the name of Michael Schenker's hilarious career desicion and in the name of former Kingdom Come drummer James Kottak--thank you and good night.
I give this album 10 "Ich bin ein Berliner's" out of 10.
Links: www.the-scorpions.com, www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.com
--Jonah Haze 08.24.04