Scorpions – Rock Believer (2022) – Review

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It looks like a ripe old age won’t withhold bands from churning out decent material. The old warhorses from Saxon just proved that point a bit earlier with a fiery sermon of theirs. Now, as to the Scorpions, they’ve been at it since 1965. Yep, you heard that right, more than 50 years of service.1)

Now, if you ask Michael Schenker, the brother and endless nemesis of Rudolf, they’re all lying sons o’ bitches. I just enjoyed watching a somewhat nerdy interview with one of the most gifted guitarists of this world claiming it’s never 50 years. And besides, Scorpions won’t be able to hold their instruments correctly, let alone play them. That kind of thing. But hey, not my issue, right? We’re only here for red-hot rock’n’roll and some more unpaid labor.2)

Until this day, the occupants of the RMR office tower indulged in this band for their old hits, mainly around the late ’70s and early ’80s. And so far, no more modern record quite made it to our eclectic selection of Scorpions pieces. But here Rock Believer crossed our hawse, and out of curiosity, we popped it in. After all, there has been a wait for some 7 years since Return to Forever hit our turntables. And this one will probably be their last, even if we should never say never.

Well, a leopard doesn’t change its spots, right? Quite so. The record truly is Scorpions, but with a patina that comes from a wise old age and too much experience. In other words, if you’re looking for experimental material, try some Nordic Folk. But on Rock Believer you will get that typical mix of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock that we grew accustomed to over time. Klaus Meine still stands strong as well, even if he sounds subtly different with a slightly wheezy whine. To put it differently, the wild screams of bygone days left the building. But for a dude his age, the performance is still pretty flawless.

And their lyrical talents haven’t quite improved either. It’s still pretty easy fare with some silly specimens. Roots in my Boots, I am looking straight at ye. But make no mistake, you will get your fill of metallic rock ‘n’ roll that expertly sprinkles chuggy riffs and excellent solos by the dozen.

Rock Believer starts off with something called Gas in the Tank. A Hard Rock piece that seems to harken back to long-gone times when gas-guzzling monsters were still all the rage. Nostalgic to a point, true. But go ahead and rock about – I don’t know – Teslas? How exciting can this be, right? Not the strongest track on this latest record for sure, but it is indeed a good start. Oh, and spoiler alert, the lyrics ain’t about cars at all, it’s all a lot more steamy.

Now, the title track – Rock Believer – comes with a sneaky groove that awakens memories of BAP of the Sonx era and a tiny bit of Mighty Oaks in the refrain. ‘Tis truly a song made for concerts and it will probably rock the mainstream. Peacemaker will supply that welcome counterweight a bit later on the tracklist with its oldish airs of rock and weighty Heavy Metal.

Other songs kinda reminded us of past glories. Shining of your Soul immediately created that flashback to Lovedrive with its airs of Reggae and Ska. And the equally smooth Seventh Sun got its clues from Blackout‘s China White. And that doesn’t turn the record into an atrocity, far from it.

If there’s anything to bemoan on Rock Believer, it is the deluxe edition. Five additional and utterly lackluster songs sold to you for hard dollars. With the only exception being the excellent acoustic version of When You Know (Where You Come From). You know, the absolutely cool ballad with that TÝR-esque group chanting that always ended on my good side. This extended version is just a blatant money grab that probably saw the light of day in Vertigo’s very own Hel’s kitchen. That said, the band should just have slammed the acoustic ballad onto the main tracklist and be done with it. That would have been truly awesome.

So, did Scorpions dazzle us the way the aforementioned folks from Saxon did earlier in the year? Well, not quite, but they didn’t disappoint either. Rock Believer is a mixed bag of truly snazzy songs and a few others that just about navigate on the good side of the abyss where those awful fillers live. If you tune out the sins of the Deluxe Edition, that is.

But – ultimately – this new record of one of the oldest rock bands still out there truly seized us with that irresistible mix of savoir-faire and rocky groove. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal played the way it should be by masters of their craft. And that’s pretty cool in itself.


Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Vertigo | Web: Official Band Site
Release Date: 25 February 2022

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