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SCORPIONS Return To Forever

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 @ 11:48 AM


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SCORPIONS
Return To Forever

Sony Music - 2015
http://www.the-scorpions.com




As the band nears the 50th anniversary of its founding, you might be forgiven for wondering just how much the SCORPIONS have left in the tank. After all, wasn't it just a few years back that they announced they were going to retire?

Those retirement plans didn't come to fruition and musically speaking, we as listeners are the better for it.

In Return To Forever, the SCORPIONS have given us a musical mixture that blends the highly energetic rock and roll you would find at a rock party and some of their more lyrically driven introspective work.

I will say that I was, at first, a bit concerned with how involved producers/writers Mikael Nord Andersson & Martin Hansen (who also produced the band's Sting In The Tail CD) were involved in the songwriting. They are credited as co-composers or co-lyricists on 7 of the album's 12 tracks. My concern over any band having creative ownership in the material they produce was allayed by the material being superb throughout and with the exception of the "The Scratch", either Rudolph Schenker or Klaus Meine being involved in the crafting of the songs.

The song "Going Out With A Bang" opens with a very brief little riff that caught my ear before blowing up into a fast moving track that gets your blood pumping.

On the more hard rocking numbers like "Rock My Car", "All For One" and "Hard Rockin' The Place", the band is simply kicking their way into your head with material reminiscent of their 80's heyday. And they do this without sounding the least bit dated.

There were instances where I really enjoyed the guitar work including the nicely done riff that runs through "Catch Your Luck And Play". The previously mentioned "The Scratch" also conveys a bouncy and seemingly bluesy vibe as well.

You always worry about a singer's ability to deliver a high quality vocal performance as the years go by, but the vocals here from Klaus Meine are superb. He sounds fantastic. And he can spitfire deliver his vocals with the best of performers as amply demonstrated on the catchy rocker "Rock 'N' Roll Band".

I'm normally loathe to slower ballad type songs because of the generic nature of the lyrics but when the band slows things down from time to time (the album's track sequencing is perfect), instead of focusing on a rehash of some lovey-dovey sense of the poetic, the SCORPIONS opt for lyrics that both openly and covertly address the band's longevity and knowledge that they are in the latter part of their career.

It isn't a sad thing though but rather the thankful and appreciative nature of the lyrics help make the songs that much more important. On "Eye Of The Storm", the opening stanza is a perfect encapsulation of this thought.

"Another year is running through my veins
Some moments wasted, some will remain
The days are getting short and I try to drown my fears
The shadows of the night slowly disappear"

As for the band's capability to craft a memorable chorus, check out the songs "We Built This House" and "House Of Cards".

What really strikes me so strongly with this album is how nothing feels contrived. Bands of a certain vintage can turn in songs or lyrics that make them sound passe or desperately trying to hold on to some long ago sense of machismo. Instead, it just makes them seem kind of skeevy or worse, cheesy.

But for the SCORPIONS, the Return To Forever album confirms once again their commitment to turning out an electrifying (and yet also reflective) album that can rank with the best of their back catalog.

The album can serve as a darn near perfect source of rock and roll entertainment for any music fan looking to rock out. Many happy "Returns" indeed.

4.8 Out Of 5.0

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