Raw and aggressive, 'Blackout' is the sound of the Scorpions stripped down to their grinding, metallic hearts. While other of their albums may be more accomplished, none possess the pure hi-octane heavy metal that is ever-present here. Opening the gates, the title track hurtles out of your speakers and savages your ears like a rabid wolf and second track 'Can't Live Without You' drops the pace but increases the bass, pummelling you into delirious submission before they turn down the aggression while maintaining the energy on 'No One Like You'. A Scorpions classic in the midst of an album full of classics, the use of light and shade is hugely effective when the chorus comes thudding in. 'You Give Me All I Need' follows the same lyrical vein of love and sex, but its run-of-the-mill hard rocking is set alight by a brief but incendiary guitar solo from Rudolph. 'Now!' gets the album back up to the speed it first came at you, with some furious fretwork and a rhythm section running like a full-steam locomotive and long-standing live favourite 'Dynamite' has exactly what the title suggests - the capacity to blow your head off. Only on 'Arizona' do the band take a breather; everything about the track is more laid-back and the music is perfectly in tune with the lyrics, a sweet reminiscence of a particularly memorable lover.
If this album were a zoo, then 'China White' would be the elephant enclosure - a huge, pounding monster, it's undoubtedly the heaviest the Scorpions have ever sounded, with a wonderful, twisted guitar dominating the sound. It creates the perfect prelude to the melancholic cool-down of beautiful closing number, 'When the Smoke is Going Down'.
'Blackout' is a definitive album of early 80's heavy metal, an album that stood out when it was released and stands the test of time, still sounding remarkably fresh in today's metal landscape. Not just a Scorpions classic, this is a metal classic that deserves continued appreciation.