Rock Believer

Germany’s Scorpions have been around since 1964. That’s 50+ years.  You can say the band was directly influential in starting the metal scene in Germany.  My start to Scorpions music is their 5th album Taken By Force from 1977. My first album was Love At First Sting in 1984 and that’s still my fave from them.  “Rock You Like A Hurricane” was played 24/7 on MTV and now at sporting events too. So then I went backward and Blackout, Animal Magnetism, and Lovedrive all scorchers of rocking metal.  There earlier records are pretty darn classic too.   The band are retiring from touring after this new album run and singer Klaus Meine is 74 years young. Rock Believer is their 20th album.  Quite honestly after Love At First Sting, I stopped following the Scorps.  I felt their music took a major commercial turn. This brought about lackluster albums not really utilizing the band’s talent. Rock Believer is flawless from start to finish and really harnessing their late 70s and early 80s metal spirit this hits harder than anything the band has put out since 1984.

11 songs in 44 minutes.  No wasting the metal with long drawn out boring songs, these songs are slick, short and that adds to their impact and memorable factor.  But the lmd ed contains bonus songs which are all incredible. Opening with the kick-ass “Gas in the Tank” longtime guitar duo Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs make you forget some of the clunkers the band has released and Klaus with nostalgic lyrics mentioning Blackout and Love At First Sting. Almost brings a tear to this guy’s eye. The band is rounded out on drums by Mikkey Dee and Pawel Maciwoda on bass.  The song is pure 80’s Scorpions metal and Klaus sounds like he’s 30 again. The band is having fun.  Catchy chorus and lead riff will sting you all over into submission.

“Roots in My Boots” is more up-tempo. Almost at the speed of their classic “Coming Home”.  This song again has nostalgic lyrics about being on the road and the riff and chorus will be caught in your head. The 2.15 section has a killer guitar solo and main guitar riff that pays homage to the song “Blackout”. This song is terrific. Galloping metal madness at its finest. The title track will have you think of the opening of “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. Killer with squealing pinch harmonics. The song slows to a ballad and then picks up to a mid-paced crawl with great emotive vocals. The lyrics and vocal patterns are beyond catchy.  More nostalgic lyrics about the love of music. “Scream for me, screamer I’m a Rock Believer like You, Just Like You”. This repeated chorus will have you singing in the Chipotle line next time you’re buying your burrito bowl and overspending on their guacamole add-in.  It’s that catchy.

I could mention all the other songs. They all are incredible. Scorpions wrote my fave metal ballad, still to this day, “Still Loving You”, from Love At First Sting.  The last song on Rock Believer is “When You Know (Where You Come From)”. This is now my second favorite metal ballad.  I have even pressed repeat 20x in a row to listen to 80 mins of this song – the bonus disc has an incredible acoustic rendition. Klaus’ emotive vocals are spectacular and the feeling, which is played in this song, is enthralling. The guitar soloing at the 2.44 mark is breathtaking and the isolated vocals come in and then a nice drum roll right into the riff-driven end of the song as this incredible chorus and vocal tones continue.  Outstanding song!

I mentioned some of the bonus songs on the deluxe. There are five. “When Tomorrow Comes” is the fastest song the band had written in decades. It calls to mind “Coming Home”. It’s heavy and fast and the bass guitar is prominently featured as it’s isolated in spots and increased in the mix.  You will feel it in your chest. The catchy chorus and phrasing make this a monstrous headbanging song. Let’s not forget Scorpions had some power metal tunes in the 80s and this calls to that amazing era.

One of my closest friends, Graham, just saw the band live in Canada and said they destroyed it and sounded amazing. The pics he sent me and song clips showed a massive stage with great design and lights. Yes, I’m jelly.

At the end of the day if you would have told me Scorpions Rock Believer would be my pick for AOTY I  would have asked you to take a drug test. I kept seeing the album in our promos and would hear a clip here and there until I sat down and gave more of it a listen.  Then I was hooked and listen to it a good 5-10x/ week. This messed up my best-of list so far and with the return of a new Hammers of Misfortune album, in December, my list is truly effed up.  I’ve tried refraining from calling the band The Scorpions and it was tough. But the band is known only as Scorpions. Not The Scorpions. The purists out there will appreciate me mentioning that.

Rock Believer features heavy-hitting hard rocking metal which has shown the band go back to their late 70s and 80s era and create an astonishing return to form.  I never thought this would be possible.  The production is ace as is the musicianship. There’s even double bass on the album in certain parts. Thanks, Mikkey!! If you had given up on the band and like me worship their 70’s and 80s music get this album at once. I’d imagine this will be the last album they ever release and it’s a scorcher. Scorpions – welcome back old friend. Flawless album. And Klaus- don’t forget you still owe me $5 for the 2 slices and Pepsi from back in the fucking day in NY.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
April 18th, 2022


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