REVIEW BY: Mark Millan
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/26/2011
Following the strong success of last year’s Sting In The Tail, the Scorpions announced a world tour that would not only be their last but also a chance for fans to say goodbye as the band would at the conclusion of the tour be retiring from the business. Theirs has been an incredible career followed by one of the most loyal fan bases of all time that has at times delivered the band great success when they were least expecting it.
The current (and in my opinion, the best) line-up of Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker (guitars), Matthias Jabs (guitars), Pawel Maciwoda (bass), and James Kotta (drums) absolutely ripped every show to pieces and then some. They played like men possessed and were clearly determined to make sure that everyone who saw would never forget them. And it was during this last foray that they had come up with an idea to give fans an encore just to say thanks and farewell in the vein of a new album that would be all about having a good time. The decision to re-record some of their most loved songs and mix them with covers of their own idols from the ‘60s and ‘70s was an ambitious one, but they certainly achieved what they set out to do here.
Their playing is super tight, which is no surprise considering the length of time they have just spent on the road, and Meine’s iconic voice is still holding up as strong as ever. A more cynical reviewer could, of course, question the relevance of a project like this, but when it sounds this good (for the most part) and the artist seems genuine in their reasoning, then I have all the time in the world for a little something like this. I have to admit though that I came to the Scorpions when I was in my mid-twenties after a mate had given me three of their albums in exchange for a Bon Jovi tour poster of mine that had been collecting dust for years.
So not having grown up with them or been around during their electrifying ‘70s period, I have no real alliance for any particular lineup or period of their work. I say this because I realize these topics are hotly debated among the band’s faithful, and so I’m not about to compare this new release to anything they have previously done because I don’t really see the point. If they are to be believed, then Comeblack will be the last new material released by them, and apart from a couple of the selected covers, it is a very satisfying curtain call.
Of their own songs, there really isn’t a whole lot to say because they have been playing them for years and what they have done here essentially is given them an updated sound. So, for instance, a song everyone knows like “Wind Of Change” no longer sounds dated and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” just sounds like a live recording minus the crowd noise and obvious obstacles that recording live throws up. “Rhythm Of Love” and “The Zoo” actually have benefited from this process; they just sound tighter and leaner then the originals. As for the covers, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.
A bloody horrible rendition of a terrible song “Tainted Love” almost put me off buying this album to begin with. Since Marilyn Manson has already done almost this exact version some years ago, I just find it completely unnecessary. I’m sure everyone who has ever even attempted to write a song has been in some way inspired by The Beatles – I mean, it’s impossible not to have been, as far as I’m concerned. So it’s no surprise that they remain so heavily covered, but rarely do covers even come close to being satisfactory and the version of “Across The Universe” added here is no exception. It sounds dreary and generic and completely lifeless.
Having said that, though, the rest of the covers are quite surprisingly good, the best of which is a fantastic run-through of The Kinks’ “All Day And All Of The Night.” The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and T. Rex’s “Children Of The Revolution” are also highlights.
So it’s with Comeblack the Scorpions draw their 46-year career to a close, and as an encore to the brilliant Sting In The Tail, it’s a pretty cool way to say goodbye. Adios, boys, thanks a million.
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