Review Summary: The end of an era.
Sting In The Tail marks the end of a remarkably long career. Founded back in the 70's, before their style of hard rock had yet been forged, The Scorpions have outlived and outlasted several generations of bands, artists influenced by the style they had created and carried on throughout the years when hard rock became a dirty word. Now, some 35 years later, with the members pushing into their 60's, the band has announced their retirement, Sting In The Tail the last statement of a legendary band.
The album does what it can to give the band a proper send-off, highlighting their strengths, but revealing their weaknesses as well. "Raised On Rock" sets the stage for the album, a ripping rocker reminiscent of "Rock You Like A Hurricane", but with a better hook. It is a four-minute encapsulation of everything The Scorpions are about, slashing riffs, a solid hook, and Klaus Mein's ageless and unique vocal. What comes next is a confusing mix of rockers and ballads, equally divided between worthy additions to the canon and clunkers better left forgotten.
The title track incorporates modern vocal effects, a lame attempt at relevance from a band that doesn't need gimmicks. The song needed something to save it, but that was not the answer. "Slave Me" is far better, another heavy rocker with a strong melody. The rest of the harder songs fall flat, "No Limit" and "Rock Zone" terribly generic songs that have nothing to offer. They are bland, lazy attempts to sound like The Scorpions of old.
The ballads are better, a more mature expression of where the band is at this stage of their career. Their last album, Humanity: Hour One, was a brilliant album of tamer, more melodic songs. That feeling has stuck with the band, making "The Good Die Young", "Lorelei", and "The Best Is Yet To Come" the most memorable songs on the album. Each is a compelling listen, with understated guitar-work and dynamic melodies from Klaus. The latter, closing the album with a statement of optimism that belies the finality of the band's decision, is the best lighter-waiving sing-along the band has written in the last two decades. It is wholly magnificent, and a fitting last statement from a band that has given so much to the world of music.
Sting In The Tail won't go down as one of the best albums The Scorpions put out in their career, but it's a solid end to what has been a great run. The best may not be yet to come, but there's still so much to remember.