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Scorpions

Love At First Sting  Hear it Now

RS: 3of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 5of 5 Stars

1997

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Under the tutelage of sonic maestro Dieter Dierks, who may be the best heavy-metal producer in the world, Germany's Scorpions have evolved into one of the most powerful bands in the genre, right up there with England's Judas Priest. What this may mean to non-HM aficionados is hard to say. As is customary among head-bangers, the Scorps' lyrics – while certainly no more stupid than their non-Teutonic contemporaries' – essentially boil down to the choruses: They're "Bad Boys Running Wild," they want to "Rock You like a Hurricane," and so forth.

If there's a message here (apart from the de rigueur antiwarisms of "Crossfire"), it's all in the decibels. When Matthias Jabs is on lead guitar – as he is throughout side one of Love at First Sting – and drummer Herman Rarebell is drop-kicking the riffs along, this band can really burn. Jabs, who displays much of the flash of Eddie Van Halen (if not Van Halen's free-romping fretboard wit), is a true "monster" guitarist, in the classic HM mold. And in Klaus Meine, the Scorpions have a singer of unusual subtlety and considerable tonal control (note the relative delicacy of his approach to the ballad "Still Loving You").

Problems crop up only when Rudolf Schenker switches from rhythm to lead guitar, as he does on most of side two. His more languid, Sixties-rooted style is occasionally at odds with the band's neck-whipping dynamics and bombs-away instrumental ethos. Still, Love at First Sting – a thirty-two-track digital recording – does reach new high-tech highs of ear-melting aggression, and even offers some inventively colored vocal harmonies. Heavy-metal devotees should lap it up, and even HM skeptics might knock their noggins in tribute to the pure overkill of it all. (RS 420)


KURT LODER





(Posted: Apr 26, 1984)

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