Review Summary: A glorious rampage and Klaus Meine’s personal victory.
There are times in the history of recorded music, when an artist, in behalf of his own profiteering, somehow, finds the way to combine his talents with his perceptive knowledge in regards to the operational ways of the trending flow. He has to be the right person, at the right place and at the right time. Timing is the key word. All he needs is good timing, some skill, the will to carry on and of course luck. Lots of it. When the combination is successful, the artist does something extraordinary. He manages to combine qualitative music with mainstream appeal. Once he has done that, he doesn’t have to worry about anything-his legacy is secured. His fortunes will be huge. He will have fans who, thankfully, will pay huge amounts of money to see him live. He will inspire a whole generation. He will make a name for himself and he won’t have to worry about savings. We have occasions of such bands or individuals who manage to write great music and sell big time. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Iron Butterfly, Metallica, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, are just some of the names in this industry who found this dreamlike formula, either at an earlier or a latter stage of their career. Yet another name in this field is Scorpions of course.
As we all know, the road towards worldwide recognition and fame has obstacles and Scorpions’s case was no different. After the recordings of the mediocre Animal Magnetism
, Scorpions faced their biggest challenge yet. The bands longtime vocalist Klaus Meine, began experiencing throat problems. The recordings began, but his condition deteriorated. Meine reached a critical point. He almost lost his voice. The situation was so serious, that a surgery operation on his vocal chords was required, in order to restore his voice. Doubts were raised on whether he would be able to provide again his charismatic singing abilities. Meanwhile, Donald Dokken was brought in to provide the vocals, while Meine was on his way to his full recovery. Eventually he was healed and returned back to his post. The results of the recordings showed one thing: Scorpions owed a huge debt to the doctors who undertook the procedure and saved two careers, the first being that of Scorpions and Meine’s.
After his recovery, the band gathered together and finished the recordings of their eighth studio album. Blackout
was the first big breakthrough, the album that catapulted Scorpions to stardom. And it’s no wonder why this album is often being hailed as the best work they ever did. With this endeavor, Scorpions managed to balance perfectly the metallic, heavy riffs and the melodic solos with a number of ultra-catchy hooks. And the positives do not end here. Blackout
is an energy generator. As the album cover suggests, you will get a blackout for supercharging. That is because this creation is probably the most powerful album Scorpions ever wrote. The sound of Blackout
is purely 80’s. It is the sound that was used as groundwork for the Glam style, but at the same time, it is much heavier. In all honesty, some parts of this album are even heavier than anything that Judas Priest, Saxon, Accept, Maiden, Ozzy, or Diamond Head were doing at the time.
If the adventure of the group’s frontman has escaped your attention, there is no way to tell it via listening to this album. Because, Meine’s performance here is simply the best of his entire career. During the course of Blackout
, Meine shrieks, shouts and screams like he has never done before. With his frenzying, almost crazy performance, he escalates the tension and for this lively performance alone, the album should be considered sufficient enough to be viewed as a highlight. Meine’s traditional melodic vocals are also present but not for very long. After the delirium of the first tracks, he adopts his casual softer approach just to calm you down a little bit. And then, his aggressive vocals drop like thunder, all the way until the last song of the album. Unfortunately in the future, Meine’s vocals never sounded that fierce again.
The performance of Scorpions’s frontman was proved as a catalytic agent. The spark that emanated from Meine, influenced with the most obvious way the other members of the group. Rarebell’s energetic performance make an instant impact. His drumming is protrusive and much more prominent than on Animal Magnetism
- one of the missing points of that album is now found again. The album is also highlighted by the fast paced performances of guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs. After two studio albums of collaborative duties, the guitarists are now completely harmonized and Jabs delivers some of the best solos of his career.
Along with its successor, Blackout
is indeed one of the two albums, accountable for being mostly associated with the “genuine” sound of Scorpions, the sound that made them famous. The final verdict might seem exaggerating. Surely, when someone gets stuck on the music, some other important aspects might escape his attention. And yes, this album has some negatives. For example the lack of variety, or the cheesy, over the top lyrics are enough reasons to make you skeptical. But as with every album, the conclusion for this one is also very simple: Do the negative aspects outweigh the positive ones? The answer is an emphatic NO. Blackout
is truly one of the landmarks for the 80's Rock music and the best album Scorpions ever wrote in the after-Roth era. Sometimes this album makes me feel sympathetic towards most of Scorpions’s colleagues. If only most of the bands who emerged in the 80’s, were talented enough to write music that combines sheer energy, power and melody in the unique way that Scorpions did with this classic output.
No One Like You
You Give Me All I Need
When The Smoke Is Going Down