Last Friday the Scorpions released Rock Believer, their 19th studio album in a storied career spanning over 50 years. It also marks their first studio effort in 7 years.
The Scorpions have been hit and miss a bit with their albums in the past long while. Some of their 2000’s output didn’t quite hit the spot, though with decided variances in quality. The early offerings from Rock Believer seemed to indicate a return to form for the legendary group.
I’m just going to go through this with some quick thoughts about each song and wrap it up at the end. This is one of the releases I’ve really been looking forward to this year so I wanted to give it a bit of extra attention. I will say that on my first few listens through I am really impressed with what I’m hearing. I’m only going to cover the proper album and omit the bonus disc on this sweep through the songs.
The Scorpions – Rock Believer
Released February 25, 2022 via Vertigo
Gas In The Tank
The opener hits with a nice rocker that seems to be a mission statement from the group. There still is gas in the tank and the Scorpions can still rock with the best. The lyrics are dripping with sly references to their own catchphrases and past songs as well as a small nod to Motorhead in the second verse. It’s a great opening track that sets the tone for more to come.
Roots In My Boots
Silly title aside, the songs keeps the pace going with a song that would have fit very well on their seminal 1990 outing Crazy World. It’s got melody for days and as a great solo section to put a stamp on everything.
Knock ‘Em Dead
Three tracks in and it’s looking like we have a winner of an album. It’s another signature Scorpions rocker that hits all the right notes. The party is going strong in 2022.
This was the second single released ahead of the album and obviously also the title track. The song starts in ballad-like territory but then the song kicks it up a notch. This serves a reaction to the oft-cited “rock is dead” cliché. Sure, rock isn’t what it once was and isn’t likely to be again. But here are one of the pioneers of the format still at it many years after rock was declared dead.
Shining Of Your Soul
Here we see the band pick up a bit of a reggae beat. It mixes things up a bit but still keeps the hard rock alive and flowing. The band doesn’t tackle too many love songs on this record but this one keeps the band’s long-storied career of educating its fans on the nuances of love going.
This slow burner pounds its way through some heavy riffs and a marching-like pace from Klaus Meine, who is sounding especially vibrant on this track. The band have not let up at all through this record and are on pace for a classic. It recalls China White from Blackout, one of the band’s best.
Hot And Cold
The pace kicks back up for yet another hard rock gem. Lyrics and music are kept simple for this one as the band gets hot and sleazy, they aren’t breaking new ground here.
When I Lay My Bones To Rest
Klause Meine and the band go off the rails on this barn burner. I had thought by the title that this might be the signature Scorpions ballad but it’s the exact opposite. The song recalls drummer Mikkey Dee’s old band Motorhead, this song just drips with Lemmy’s influence.
This was the first song we were given the chance to hear in advance of the album. It is a massively heavy track that laments the state of war, a topic the band have handled many times over the years. Sadly this album comes to us in a very troubling time on that front but the song itself is magnificent.
Call Of The Wild
The Scorpions kick down the tempo a notch but keep the heaviness going for this new entry into their extensive catalog of songs about getting with it. The man may get older but the thoughts and desires don’t change.
When You Know (Where You Come From)
The album concludes with a ballad, a song type the Scorpions have excelled at over the decades. This tune is an uplifting song about keeping your head up and believing in yourself. It’s a nice message for these pretty dark times and another winner in the band’s long history of knocking it out of the park with ballads.
Rock Believer is a massive statement from the Scorpions. It stands out head and shoulders above their past several albums, I have to go back to 2010’s Sting In The Tail to recall the last one I’d begin real comparisons with. I’m not ready to say what I could say, which is that this is their best since Crazy World, but it’s a thought going through my head right now. I’ll give this album more time to settle before going out on those kinds of limbs.
No matter – Rock Believer is rock done right. The Scorpions sound great on this record and this album is a triumphant statement from a band many thought were well past their prime. The album is unreservedly great and is a fine addition to their catalog. Everyone into old rock stars knows that age is a debilitating factor in performance, but that is absolutely not the case here. The Scorpions came out swinging on this effort and there’s really no excuse for anyone else who can’t execute at a passable level. Rock isn’t dead, it’s right here.