Scorpions
Virgin Killer


4.0
excellent

Review

by Daniel Dias USER (73 Reviews)
August 18th, 2013 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist


Scorpions

Klaus Meine: Vocals
Uli Jon Roth: Lead Guitar #
Rudolf Schenker: Rhythm Guitar
Francis Buchholz: Bass Guitar
Rudy Lenners: Drums

#(Vocals on "Hell Cat" and "Polar Nights")


"Looking at that picture today makes me tremble. It was done in the worst possible taste. Back then I was too immature to see that." Uli Jon Roth

After the release of Scorpions' 3rd album, In Trance, the United States finally started to give the German rockers some attention. But they gave them the attention for the wrong reasons! The controversial album covers gave the Scorps a bad reputation, and the critical press judged them by the scandals and decided to ignore the music. That didn't happen in Germany and in Japan. In those countries, they were becoming big in the music scene. In Trance was the Scorps' first album that sparked some interest in the casual listeners. As the band's heavy sound and style was consistently and progressively upgraded, the fans started to wonder: what would be the band's next move?Would they recapture Krautrock's influences that were found in Lonesome Crow and Fly to the Rainbow, or would they explore In Trance's shredding sound, under Dieter Dierks' recommendations? Would the Scorps be able to succeed? Would they make the right decisions? The pressure that the members of the band were going through could easily hold them back, but they weren't worried at all. They followed Dierks' advice, continuing to upgrade In Trance's heavy sound.

Virgin Killer really is an excellent album but to some fans it is not the Scorpions' best album. Throughout the album there are some defects and faults and it is probably not as consistent as In Trance. But this album features a development in the musicians' friendship. The musicianship and creativity are amazing and the musicians were focused and motivated. "We gave 100% in Virgin Killer and we all had the same goals and ambitions", Uli Jon Roth mentioned. In Virgin Killer, Uli's performances were, as usual, amazing. Unfortunately, he continued to sing in some of the songs, and he really was/is a lousy singer. Sometimes, Klaus' performances were also slightly disappointing but in most of the songs he did a good job, and Rudy Lenners continued to be very impressive: the proficient drummer's skills helped the Scorps in a big way. With such a healthy and positive environment, the result could only be extraordinary. And it was. Virgin Killer instantly turned into one of the Scorpions' classics, as it successfully stood the test of time.

Virgin Killer repeats the formula of Fly to the Rainbow and In Trance: it has instant Scorpions-classics that immediately captivate the listeners. The songs aren't tedious, boring or repetitive, and they're not supposed to be profound or even taken seriously. It's just straightforward rock'n'roll. That is what Virgin Killer is all about. There is more: this album has one of the best trio of opening songs in a rock album from the 1970's (obviously it's just an opinion). Pictured Life, Catch Your Train and In Your Park immediately became Scorpions-classics. And why wouldn't that happen? These songs have what it takes to be considered classics. The riffs and solos, especially Pictured Life's, are solid and exciting and they're just right for the songs. Besides, they give Uli a chance to showcase his virtuosity/talent and his importance in the band. The choruses are anthemic and catchy, but they don't come off as cheesy. Klaus' performances are extremely positive in this trio, and in Catch Your Train he is absolutely incredible. But the members of the band are entirely in sync in In Your Park. It is very melodic and quasi-psychedelic but it doesn't get boring at all, and it has one of Virgin Killer's best chorus. But don't restrict Virgin Killer to just a few songs, because there is a lot more to appreciate.

There is a lot more to appreciate, but, obviously, there are also some flaws. This is the biggest flaw of them all: Uli Jon Roth's vocal performances. He has a chance to sing in two of the album's songs: Hell Cat and Polar Nights. In Hell Cat he doesn't do a bad job at all (considering Uli's standards), and that song is actually capable of being a standout in Virgin Killer. It is a cool song with a very interesting riff. But if one can't tolerate Roth's voice, this song may not be very appropriate to listen to. Polar Nights doesn't get much better. The song itself is already somewhat uninteresting and Uli can't do much to give it something positive. The songwriting issues hadn't been resolved yet, but when someone listens to the Scorps he learns to simply ignore the lyrics. Yellow Raven is probably not the most appropriate song to close out the album, and it probably shouldn't even be in Virgin Killer. It somehow tries to recapture the style of Lonesome Crow and Krautrock's influences, mixing a bit of jazz fusion with a psychedelic environment that is just way too weird! But those flaws are the only relevant ones in this album. Most of the songs that are in the middle of Virgin Killer, especially Backstage Queen and the title track, simply fit in the album and satisfy its needs, managing to "hide" its mistakes.

Considering all of the album's positive notes, Virgin Killer is undoubtedly and deservedly one of the Scorps' classics. It fails to be better than In Trance but it is also very solid and cohesive. Virgin Killer also failed to attain serious attention in the U.S. but it sold well in some countries in Europe. In the following year, the Scorps would release Taken by Force. The controversial album cover (!) would, again, get them in trouble, but that album also became an instant classic in the Scorpions' long discography. Before the completion of that album, Rudy Lenners would leave the band, and he would be replaced by Herman Rarebell, who would become one of the band's most longstanding drummers.

Recommended Tracks

Pictured Life
Catch Your Train
In Your Park
Backstage Queen
Hell Cat


Recommend cover of "Pictured Life" by the Greek band Firewind



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Why don't you have a seat right over there....


Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
August 18th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So, tell me how i did!

manosg
August 18th 2013


6707 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules but has its flaws. It's a bit of a step back compared to In Trance imo. Great review too, pos.

Digging: Whitesnake - Slide It In

warlordfun
August 18th 2013


402 Comments


Yeah Virgin Killer man! So many great memories from this album! Have a pos!

danielcardoso
August 18th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rate it, Warlord!
And thank you both for the feedback!

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2013


21607 Comments


Great album but probably the weakest of the Roth-era.

Good review. One thing you might want to consider revising:

Virgin Killer really is an excellent album but to some fans it is not the Scorpions' best album


This sounds a bit odd. I think quite a lot of fans would say that this isn't their best, not just 'some'. It might be better to say something like:

"Virgin Killer really is an excellent album but by no means is it the band's best."

Good job overall though, pos'd.

Digging: Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic

danielcardoso
August 18th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In case you want to listen to Pictured Life by Firewind, i'll put the link

[A]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um1IaMH3sbU[/A]

danielcardoso
August 18th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll put what you said into consideration, Jamie.
Good to see you enjoyed the review ;)

danielcardoso
August 18th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you guys listen to Firewind's cover, please tell me what you think.

MrSirLordGentleman
August 18th 2013


4881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is the weakest of the first 9 Scorpions albums... yes, including Lonesome Crow

Well written review daniel, you definitely found your style

danielcardoso
August 18th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you all for the wonderful feedback!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2013


20158 Comments


nice review agreed the first few songs are killer

Digging: Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050

MrSirLordGentleman
August 18th 2013


4881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You wouldn't believe how hard it was to find a vinyl with the original cover....

Detritivore
August 18th 2013


274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, but i disagrre with some points

Yellow Raven is probably not the most appropriate song to close out the album, and it probably
shouldn't even be in Virgin Killer.

This is a power song despite the soft begining, and was right finish with one. I think this song
capture the escence of the mid-
early era of the Scorps, for me the best in theirs careers. The outro of Uli guitar is amazing and
epic, and show the influence of this man in the scorp sound

This review enfatized too much the weak side of this album (Uli's voice). Is true that this is the
main flaw, but is compensate for the outstanding guitar work . I think every review of mid 70'
scorps should enfatize Uli's influence on their sound.

...ahh and this is by far the best album of Scorpions...highly recomended


danielcardoso
August 18th 2013


2640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I tried to balance my thoughts on Roth's performance on the pros AND cons. You have to understand that i can't keep talking about how great Uli was, otherwise i can lose credibility, and i don't want to do fanboy reviews.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2013


21607 Comments


The other 3 Roth era albums are all better than this imo. Althogh it's been a while since I last listened to this one.

ChopSuey
August 18th 2013


2392 Comments


nice album cover

facupm
August 18th 2013


8607 Comments


klaus vocals are awesome



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