NEW RELEASE: Scorpions – Sting In The Tail
Sting In The Tail is a terrible album to choose as your first CD review.
After an incredible 45 years, the Scorpions are calling it quits. Sting In The Tail will be their final album, and presumably the pressure to end it all on a high must have been immense. The band that brought us ‘Winds Of Change’, ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ and ‘No One Like You’ are finally bowing out.
As a result, there is the risk that any review will turn into a summation of their career, rather than an honest look at their final offering. Luckily, the CD is compelling enough that there is little time for nostalgia or comparisons with past glories. The Scorpions have most definitely ended on a high.
Overall, the production is sharp and distinctly modern. Power ballad ‘Lorelei’ is an instant classic, and final track ‘The Best Is Yet Come’ is a fitting end to the Scorpions’ legacy.
The surprisingly moving ‘SLY’ reminds me somewhat of ‘Holiday’ (from 1979’s ‘Lovedrive’ album) at the outset, and tells the story of a father’s love for his daughter: true ‘dad rock’. But this is still definitely the Scorpions, and there’s much that is reminiscent of their earlier work. Klaus Meine’s vocals are varied enough to keep things interesting and there’s plenty of fancy guitar work, even if there’s not that one distinctive riff or soaring solo that might help make the album a classic.
This is certainly not a band who are stuck in the dark ages, and one of the album’s real highlights is the collaboration with Tarja Turunen (formerly of Nightwish) on ‘The Good Die Young’. Tarja’s vocals are surprisingly subtle, and not as ill-fitting as other (marginally similar) collaborations such as Megadeth’s re-recording of ‘A Tout Le Monde’ (featuring Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil).
Penultimate track ‘Spirit Of Rock’ perhaps takes things a little too far. It’s difficult to imagine singing along to opening lines “We are in the Ocean, every kind of fish – we are a human rainbow, we are whatever we wish”. But perhaps we shouldn’t be too critical, especially given the success of equally ludicrous songs such as Dream Evil’s ‘The Book Of Heavy Metal’ or anything that has ever been written by Manowar.
Whilst there really are numerous excellent songs on the album, it’s a real disappointment that the title track isn’t a stand-out: the chorus is uninventive, and the vocals on the verses are just bizarre.
Sting In The Tail does offer plenty of straight-forward Rock ‘n’ Roll songs (what else would you expect from an album where a third of the songs have the word ‘rock’ in the title!?). It’s difficult to choose a favourite, and not because of any let-up in quality. Despite their advanced years, the Scorpions have managed to inject a lot of energy into this CD, and whilst ‘it rocks consistently’ might not sound like a particularly exciting selling point, this is definitely a release that you won’t tire of quickly.
Ultimately, Sting In The Tail is a fitting end for one of the greatest rock bands that the world has ever seen. It’s not just an album, it’s an event. And it’s not all quite over yet: the Scorpions are embarking on an epic three year world tour. So if you’ve yet to experience the live experience, you do still have one more chance.
I’ll leave you with one final thought from album-closer ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’:
“How can we grow old when the soundtrack to our lives is rock and roll?”
– Phil Henderson
The Scorpions are:
Klaus Meine – Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Rudolf Schenker – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Pawel Maciwoda – Bass
James Kottak – Drums
Country of origin: Germany