Scorpions
Taken by Force


4.0
excellent

Review

by John Marinakis USER (26 Reviews)
May 9th, 2013 | 20 replies


Release Date: 1977 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Taken By Force is yet another solid effort by Scorps in the 70’s, with Uli Roth shining brighter than ever before. But still, despite all the positives, there are some minor flaws deteriorating the whole experience.

During the mid 70’s and after recording 4 studio albums, Scorpions had to be regarded as an entirely different band compared to the first line up incarnation that wrote Lonesome Crow. With each release the germans got meliorated, sweeping off any possible imperfection the previous recordings might had. With Virgin Killer, Scorpions displayed a natural growth in wisdom and stature and their future in the music industry at that point looked prosperous, purely, in terms of musical evolution and progress. But the same could not be said for their financial revenues. Since the band couldn’t get any serious attention outside of Europe, every release failed to meet with the expectetions of each member. That alone explains why Scorpions changed so much after this album.

Musically speaking, the album carries on from where it’s predecessor left us. Virgin killer had almost the same direction with In Trance, but in that album we hear for the very first time the results of Uli Roth’s extended practicing, as he incorporated in his playing style far more advanced compositional elements. As a result, Virgin killer had an exotic, middle eastern vibe combined with the melancholic and sorrowful tone of In Trance. When the time was right, and the band decided to write the successor of Virgin killer, as they set in motion the writing procedures, they took a bold decision, to drag the compositions a step further and experiment a little bit more. Inevitably,the weight of the writing process fell in the shoulders of Uli Roth. Roth’s contribution here is huge. He takes full credit for writing four songs out of the total eight, as also, writing along with Monika Dannemann the lyrics of the epic ballad We’ll Burn The Sky.

Due to it's unconventional nature, Taken By Force, might be perceived by the audience as being somehow less brutal than the two previous albums. Although that point of view is veritable, the presented material is still provided with a vigorous thrust. Scorpions at that time seemed to have almost completely forsaken any effort of writing anything that would sound usual, straightforward or accessible to the wider audience, something which can only be confusing since all of their previous records were a financial failure. But Scorpions insisted. And they were vindicated, as the album provides us with some of the most beautiful songs in the band’s catalog. Streamrock Fever is the album’s opener and as with the previous album-opening songs, Scorpions continue the same trend: Bursting out of the gate with brute force, playing fiercely but without ever crossing the lines of unconventional experimentantion.

Uli Roth is at his best here. He is allowed with enough creative freedom to express his Hendrix-isms and with his wider range of knowledge and his experience, he’s riffing and soloing like a madman. The Sails Of Charon is quite possibly his greatest creation during the years he stayed with Scorpions. Every time I check the official, so-called lists of “the greatest guitar solos of all time”, it amazes me how his introductory soloing performance is always absent. The intro is truly memorable and you only need to hear or actually possess some knowledge over the instrument, in order to understand how vitally essential that solo really is, not to mention of course how crucial it was to the evolution of the Neo-Classical Metal genre. At such high playing speeds, Roth’s control over the wah pedal combined with his accuracy and precision over the frets is jaw-dropping, giving breathtaking results. It feels like a musical whirlwind, a tornado of notes and the listener is trapped inside the core. What makes this piece of work all the more unique is the fact that Roth’s ability allowes him to play each note crystal clear even when he plays so fast. In fact, you can actually hear every single note. The way the solo is sounding is addictive simply enough because it shares nothing in common with most of the modern-ordinary shredding sounds. In addition, the amp effects that Roth chooses to use do nothing more but enhance the already amazing experience.

Roth might be glowing with his performance but Taken By Force is not a one man's show. He is accompanied by a group of fine musicians, with each and everyone of them bringing something of their own. Meine brings personality and his powerful vocals resound with energy and conviction. Rudolf Scheinker’s rhythm guitar playing is solid as always and the last track of the album is one of the greatest songs he has ever written. Herman Rarebell makes his debut as the bands drummer and he is easily the best drummer the band ever had up to that point. Francis Buchholz unfortunately seems isolated, since this is not a bass oriented album.

While Roth’s performance is flawless, the album as a whole is not. If we examine this album closer and more carefully, we will find out that the tracks I’ve got To Be Free and The Riot Of Your Time are pretty weak. It seems to me as these two songs were abandoned during the early stages of their conception and the band used draft versions on the album. Other than that, the track He’s A Woman She’s A Man, apart from it’s weird name and the great Proto-Thrash riff in the beginning, doesn’t seem potentially capable of offering anything more. The album’s last track Born To Touch Your Feelings is one of the most bizarre cases I have ever encounter. Although the song is truly great, (it feels like a remnant from the period the band wrote the classic In Trance) an effect during the last two minutes of the song spoils the wonderful outro. I never understood why Scorpions decided to add a vocal overdub. Could it be because of their experimenting mood ? That’s possible. But the fact remains that the final result didn’t justify their (good) intentions.

Despite the inconsistencies, Taken By Force is yet another hard Rock gem from a band whose work during the 70’s was and still is underestimated. A record which is definitely worthy of checking not only from the fans of Scorpions but also from every fan of classic Rock.

Recommended tracks:
We’ll Burn The Sky
The Sails Of Charon
Your Light



Recent reviews by this author
Windhand SomaWindhand Windhand
Candlemass Candlemass - LiveCandlemass Tales Of Creation
Avatarium AvatariumScorpions Blackout
user ratings (116)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Daniel Dias (4)
One of Scorpions' finest albums. Sadly, the last one to feature Uli Jon Roth....

arfenhausen (4.5)
Years before the Scorpions said they'd rock you like a hurricane...they did....


Comments:Add a Comment 
rockandmetaljunkie
May 9th 2013


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I reviewed this album as the other review doesn't seem informative enough.
I hope this review will provide the readers with a better overview of the album.

rockandmetaljunkie
May 9th 2013


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Allmusic’s reviewer rated this album with 2 out of 5 stars. He didn’t even mention "The Sails Of
Charon” in his review. Shame on you Gary Hill. Shame on You.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 9th 2013


20645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, man. Was hoping for a higher rating though ;)

This is my favourite Scorpions album. I love pretty much every track including the ones you mentioned as being the weakest. The Sails of Charon is definitely the best though.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

manosg
May 9th 2013


6070 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn, it's been a long time since I listened to this one. I'll give it a spin soon enough.

Great review John, pos.

Digging: Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine I

ksoflas
May 9th 2013


389 Comments


Fantastic review, pos'd hard!
I wish Scorpions wouldn't take this commercial-mainstream turn after this album...

rockandmetaljunkie
May 9th 2013


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@JamieTwort
Thanks Jamie

@manosg
It definitely deserves a spin mate.

@ksoflas
Me too man, but I can understand that if you exist as a band for more than 10 years and you haven't manage to make some serious money (cause in the end that's the bottom line), you have to decide whether you'll take some drastic measures or not. Unfortunately, Scorpions's turnaround to mainstream paths meant that they had to live without their most talented member. On the other hand, Roth's presence guaranteed a course into the unknown. If he had stayed, Scorpions wouldn't be anymore a purely Rock band, but a group playing fusion music. And the (undoubtedly) good albums they made in the 80's wouldn't exist. I think it was for the best that Roth and Scorpions took separate ways.

rockandmetaljunkie
May 9th 2013


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think I'll take a small break from reviewing Scorpions.

RunOfTheMill
May 9th 2013


1455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

KEEP ON
FOR THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT

Sails of Charon and We'll Burn the Sky are some of the best Scorpions songs ever. However the outro to Born to Touch Your Feelings is badbadbadbadbad.

Sweet review bro, pos. Seems like you're already back into your old skin. One quirk: "...shining more brighter than ever before," in the intro. Something can't be more brighter. Either get rid of "more" or replace it with "even".

YoYoMancuso
May 9th 2013


11080 Comments


your description of that solo is dead-on. pos-ification

rockandmetaljunkie
May 9th 2013


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@RunOfTheMill
Good call man, thanks for that.

@YoYoMancuso
Thanks dude. I remember the first time when I heard the solo, 3 years ago and getting confused by the way it sounded. I couldn't identify it. The way it sounded seemed to me totally alienated.

RunOfTheMill
May 9th 2013


1455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, agreed with Mancuso

manosg
May 30th 2013


6070 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just listened to this one after so many years and it's incredible. The period up until Lovedrive is my favorite one of theirs.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 30th 2013


20645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The period up until Lovedrive is my favorite one of theirs.


Same.

This is my favourite Scorpions album. Roth is so good on here.

rockandmetaljunkie
May 30th 2013


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ rate it Dragon

manosg
May 31st 2013


6070 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"This is my favourite Scorpions album. Roth is so good on here."

For me it's either this or Lovedrive. Roth is boss here.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2013


20645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What are your 1st and 2nd favourites, skele?

rockandmetaljunkie
June 2nd 2013


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I saw Uli Roth today live. What an amazing concert. The concert took place in order for him to
celebrate his 40th anniversary since he joined Scorpions. He played for two and a half hours and the
whole list was consisted of songs from the 4 albums he participated. What an amazing performance. In
the end he made 2 Jimi Hendrix covers.


Great show.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2013


6092 Comments


Right on man!!

I have yet to get into his "Scorpions" era.

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

RunOfTheMill
June 2nd 2013


1455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lucky. He came where I live in February, but I couldn't make it. I would have loved to see him.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
June 3rd 2013


20645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I saw Uli Roth today live. What an amazing concert. The concert took place in order for him to celebrate his 40th anniversary since he joined Scorpions. He played for two and a half hours and the whole list was consisted of songs from the 4 albums he participated. What an amazing performance. In
he end he made 2 Jimi Hendrix covers.


Great show.


Sweet dude, sounds like a great show. I'd love to see Roth live.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy