BMG International, 2004


REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


On the heels of various Internet reports stating that the Scorpions were set to release an album that would take them back to their rocking roots, I decided to do the same thing in purchasing Unbreakable. While I have always done everything possible to catch the Scorpions on tour in recent years, the same can't be said in me having the same inclination in buying their recent albums. And yes, it has a lot to do with the band recently experimenting with everything from the acoustic works found on Acoustica, to teaming with the Berlin Philharmonic on Moment Of Glory, to their failed foray into the techno world with Eye II Eye, as I feel the band could and should have been putting out hard rock albums.

Well, I've got to say that it sure does feel good to pigeonhole myself, in this instance, as being one of those fans that any serious band probably despises. I can hear the band saying, "that guy is nothing more than a half-cracked music journalist to not be able to expand his horizons!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll just say that if it weren't for the sheer power of the Scorpions guiding me through my adolescence by giving me the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Animal Magnetism, Blackout and Love at First Sting albums to listen to, I would probably be reviewing god-awful Dexy's Midnight Runners albums and the like. Since that is fortunately not the case, I'm going to remain selfish in my expectations of what the Scorpions should sound like.

With that being said, I am finding Unbreakable to be an interesting listen. On one hand, I'm not really surprised to hear that vocalist Klaus Meine hasn't lost his chops, considering the fact that I've seen him perform in stellar live fashion recently. If I were to report any disappointment, it would be in that the guitar work of Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs, while tight, is rather pedestrian-sounding. These guys in the past had undeniable penchants for breaking off some of the most wicked lead breaks found in rock n' roll. By and large, that energy is gone. "This Time," which is buried deep in the track order, is about the only song I can find on the album which attempts such fury.

Interestingly though, there are still several tracks that border on the "killer" status I would have given them had this been the '80s and I were still in my early teens. "Through My Eyes" is a dark track with an opening that gets precariously close to making me want to spin "Still Loving You" again. The song resonates the same purpose reminiscent of songs from the era of the Scorpions ascent into their peak recording years. "Love 'Em Or Leave 'Em" is a more modern track as the guitars replicate the chord-driven nu-metal trends that are fashionable today while "Deep and Dark" gives Meine the platform to showcase his vocals with full range allowing for a few melancholy backing overdubs.

For nostalgia's sake, the opening riffs to "Someday Is Now" remind me of the track "Arizona" found on the Blackout album. Unfortunately, the track spirals into an even fluffier song than the aforementioned deterring further curiosity. Otherwise, the rest of the songs on Unbreakable are listenable but not all that memorable to these ears. Unbreakable also comes with several enhanced video features that are interesting enough in their own right but not equipped with enough revolutionary material to make a purchasing decision alone.

Maybe my expectation for a band that has been recording albums for over thirty years is a bit harsh. But when I find that the Scorpions can still churn out worthy rockers amid some admittedly forgettable tunes, it gives me reason to further anticipate investing time in seeing them the next time they come through town. And that's not a bad thing, eh?

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of BMG International, and is used for informational purposes only.