Review Summary: On killing fields, where nobody wins...
This is the debut by the german speed metallers, Scanner. It was released in 1988 and features the best line-up that the band ever presented. Michael "M.A.J.O.R." Knoblich - vocals, Axel Julius - guitars, Tom Sopha - guitars, Wolfgang Kolorz - drums, Martin Bork - bass guitar.
Though it's not apparent from the start, this is actually a concept album, narrating the tale of the "Scanner", a victim of a military experiment trapped in a rocket and left out in space. The whole album is based on science fiction and war-like themes, as far as lyrics are concerned.
Musically, what we get is top-notch german speed metal in every aspect. High pitched vocals with a slight german accent, solid rhythm section and nice guitar work in an uplifting tempo. The choruses honor the particular genre by delivering sing along tunes and live atmosphere.
The album kicks off with "Warp 7", a fast and uplifting track, followed by the anthem "Terrion". "Locked out" delivers some mid paced tempo changes, which are pretty welcoming, featuring nice melodies and solo guitar intermissions. On the same level, "Across the universe" with its atmospheric intro and heavy riffing and then "R.M.U." one of the most standing-out tracks, with a slow intro and speedy progression. "Grapes of fear" and "Retaliation positive" serve well to the continuation of the concept, until we reach the master track "Killing Fields" with an amazing vocal show by Knoblich, both powerful and technical. Also the lyrics are of high quality, sending a "stop-the-wars" message. Double guitars sound great on this one too.The last 2 tracks "Wizard force" and "Galactos" conclude one of the most solid speed metal releases ever.
Overall, what we get here is speed metal at its greatest, back in time, when Running Wild, Rage, Heaven's Gate etc. dominated the european sound. You can listen this, over and over, it sounds fresh, dynamic, inviting to participate in singing along and not even a single track is mediocre. "Terminal Earth", their next release, was very close to this, unfortunately their latter history was not so amazing.
A must-have for speed metal fans, it's an energy shot for sure!