The 19th studio album by Germany’s metal titans reveals a re-energized band recording live in one room, like they did in the ’80s, and with no outside songwriters. Guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs, with their distinctive tones fully displayed, drive Klaus Meine’s vocals. It’s great hearing bassist Pawel Maciwoda’s rumbling parts, and drummer Mikkey Dee is a powerhouse, clearly having a blast post-Motörhead.
Perhaps the revved-up opener, “Gas in the Tank,” is meant to argue the band isn’t running on fumes after 50-plus years. “Knock ’Em Dead” swings on a cool, laid-back groove. “Rock Believer” serves as a catchy anthem, but it’s more mid-tempo than fist-pumping screamer. The chugging power of “Seventh Sun” recalls band anthem “The Zoo” with its sly menace and slashing guitar lines. “Peacemaker” is a concise punch of unforgiving rhythm guitar, topped with searing leads, and the loose “Call of the Wild” is a Zeppelin-flavored change of pace with guitars getting full room to breathe. Electric and acoustic versions of the dramatic ballad “When You Know (Where You Come From)” are interesting to compare.
Scorpions took their time writing this material. Yes, there’s a filler track or two, but the crunchy enthusiasm makes it worth the wait.
This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.