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Nev Daimler (West Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

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Moment Of Glory
Moment Of Glory

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many cooks, 5 Aug 2007
This review is from: Moment Of Glory (Audio CD)
Oh man, there's no reason for any of this "rock band and orchestra" twaddle; it's pompous, overblown and just makes me convinced that a band has a) run out of ideas and b) allowed their sense of musical self-worth to delude them to the point of imbecility.
Kiss, in their typically self-important fashion, actually managed to pull it off on `Symphony' - the results were a little patchy, but they'd already used orchestral music in the studio on `Destroyer' and even some of their more simplistic rock tunes worked well with classical backing.
Metallica's `S & M' gets it half-right - most of the more intense tracks don't gel but the slow, epic numbers work very well, although the overall album is far too long.
However, the Scorpions simply don't offer anything special on `Moment of Glory'; there is almost nothing on this album that is either an improvement or a refreshing new angle on any of the old songs. Some of the stuff on offer is quite the opposite - the clumsy intro of `Hurricane 2000' makes you ponder the Stop button at an early stage and the rendition of `Still Loving You' is so lacking in depth and emotion it borders on sacrilege. `Wind of Change' seems suited to the format, but it's certainly not a good enough song on which to recommend the album. The triumphal, chilled-out swagger of `Big City Nights' is transformed into hollow, clumsy pub-rock with violins and the blend of familiar tunes in `Deadly Sting Suite' is ill-conceived and insulting to the original tracks' stature.
However, closing number `Lady Starlight' actually does work and it seems to be the only time that the original recording is treated with respect, with the new arrangement retaining that charming and wistful atmosphere. But one track out of ten isn't good enough and `Moment of Glory' has to be viewed as an experiment that failed, a bad idea poorly executed and an album that the casual Scorpions listener should most definitely avoid.


LIVE BITES
LIVE BITES
Price: £6.02

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A CD of two halves, 5 Aug 2007
This review is from: LIVE BITES (Audio CD)
Something of a stopgap release between `93s `Face the Heat' and `96s `Pure Instinct', `Live Bites' has a rather throwaway feel to it, from the mediocre packaging to the uninspired track listing. However, it's definitely a superior album to the two studio releases it that sandwich it and even though it's no match for the Scorpions' previous live outings, `Live Bites' does have plenty of fine moments.
Certainly, the first half of the album is very good indeed; `Tease Me, Please Me' and `No Pain, No Gain' are not the band's best efforts at heavy rock, but the live recording gives them a welcome burst of energy and they sit well among the older songs evident in the first half-hour. Of course, it's these older tracks that give `Live Bites' a touch of class - a fiery version of `In Trance' sounds fresh and exciting, `When the Smoke is Going Down' is performed beautifully and it's great to hear the excellent `Is There Anybody There' in a live setting. Even `Rhythm of Love' comes over very well, with a lot more punch than the studio version. However, after six tracks, things get decidedly patchy, with a smattering of clunky ballads (`Living for Tomorrow' is simply a bad song) filling the gaps between the muscular `Alien Nation' and the hard-hitting `Crazy World'. I can do with out that "song with the whistling", which closes out the live proceedings in wholly predictable and unspectacular style and the two execrable ballads tacked onto the end will definitely have the listener reaching for the stop button.
So, `Live Bites' is a record of two halves and on vinyl, side one would get worn out a lot quicker than side two. For the Scorpions fan, it's a good purchase because of the great versions of a few old classics; for the uninitiated, `World Wide Live' and `Tokyo Tapes' offer a far better introduction to the band.


Face the Heat
Face the Heat
Price: £5.53

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocrity Rules the Game, 3 Aug 2007
This review is from: Face the Heat (Audio CD)
With `Face the Heat', the Scorpions show some evidence that they still possess the ability to pen a great tune and there are flashes of the brilliance that placed them in the highest echelons of heavy rock just a few years previous. Yet a lot of the album is clichéd material - lightweight melodies and throwaway rockers that are far too flimsy to stick with the listener. Worse, the slow songs are, for the most part, depressingly mediocre, which is an absolute tragedy for a band that throughout a long career had a strong legacy of writing excellent power ballads.
`Face the Heat' certainly starts brightly, with the powerful, brooding metal of `Alien Nation' and the stadium thumper `No Pain, No Gain', but it descends into a mixed bag of half-baked rock songs and cheesy ballads (esp. the bonus tracks). Looking for highpoints, apart from the two opening tracks, `Woman' is a decent love song, thanks to a fine vocal performance from Klaus Meine (though it's no match for `Lady Starlight', let alone `Still Loving You') and `Ship of Fools' has a lively, upbeat and infectious rhythm. But beyond these, it's hard to find much pleasure in this formulaic hard rock.


Virgin Killer
Virgin Killer
Price: £5.02

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cherry Bomb, 2 Aug 2007
This review is from: Virgin Killer (Audio CD)
Continuing the aggressive production values of `In Trance', the Scorpions' fourth album delivers a further dose of ear-shredding heavy rock, with wailing guitars and piercing vocals thrust across a throbbing rhythm section. Yet `Virgin Killer' is more upbeat than its predecessor, moving away from the introspective shades that colour the band's early work and seeing them edge closer to the metal monster they would evolve into during the following decade. Opening with the incessant foot-stomp of `Pictured Life', wonderfully embellished by the rolling twin-guitars of Uli Jon Roth and Rudolph Schenker, following with the excellent, driving rock of `Catch Your Train' and moving effortlessly into the delightful `In Your Park' (a prime example of the band's abilities when it comes to writing ballads), VK could rapidly be considered the Scorpions' finest album to date. Unfortunately, even though `Backstage Queen' is perfectly adequate, it doesn't match what has come before and the Roth-penned title track is too clumsy and overblown to be taken seriously, although there is the ever-present, highly-impressive guitar work to improve matters.
Roth takes over vocal duties on two tracks, the first being the screechy, chaotic and shamelessly Hendrix-derived `Hell Cat'; by this stage, Roth's input on VK is not nearly as impressive as it was on `In Trance'. Thankfully, `Crying Days', a Schenker/Meine number, is gorgeous, it's wistful mood enhanced beautifully by some fine guitar work and excellent vocals. And Roth redeems himself and then some with the brooding, trippy heaviness of `Polar Nights' (again he wears his love of Hendrix on his sleeve) and the delightful closing ballad `Yellow Raven'.
`Virgin Killer' lacks the overpowering atmospherics and impressive consistency of `In Trance', but has more than enough in its grooves to proclaim it a prime example of Seventies heavy rock.


World Wide Live: Remastered
World Wide Live: Remastered
Offered by groove_temple
Price: £18.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once were Warriors, 2 Aug 2007
Just like `Tokyo Tapes' is a fitting live epitaph to the band's Uli Jon Roth period, so `World Wide Live' is an appropriate record to mark the end of the era where the Scorpions were a genuine, world-beating heavy rock act. Even though some of their later albums are worthy efforts and the band were to enjoy even greater success some years later when they released that song with the whistling, the next record, `Savage Amusement', showed the first cracks in their armour. This was the last Scorpions record I truly loved, without reservation, and I'm sure it's the same for many long-standing fans of the band.
Even though it lacks a little charm, tending to sound overly-professional and hence a touch sterile, `World Wide Live' is a great live album. This is due to the sheer quality of the songs on offer: the track list is pretty much the cream of their four previous, most commercially-successful albums (that would work in a live setting) and they are delivered with plenty of enthusiasm and an energy that pours out of the speakers. Healthy remixing has beefed up the sound and the track-listing is well-structured to keep the pace of the record flowing.
There is no let-up in quality or intensity, even on the slower numbers; from the high-octane opening thrust of `Coming Home' and `Blackout' to the frenetic final charge of `Can't Get Enough', WWL rocks hard. The great US single `Rock You Like a Hurricane' sounds stadium-splittingly huge, `The Zoo' pounds like a steamhammer and `Dynamite' tears from the stereo at the speed of a jet fighter. Probably the highpoint of the whole affair comes in the latter half of disc one, where the evocative chords of `Big City Nights' run effortlessly into the instrumental powerhouse that is `Coast to Coast'. Somehow, the Scorpions successfully manage to follow this with not one, but two ballads; `Still Loving You' sounding like it's the greatest arena song ever.
Only towards the end of the record does the quality falter, with the guitar soloing of `Six-String Sting' being an irritating irrelevance.
`World Wide Live' is a prime example of the sheer might of a stadium rock performance and a good indicator of the huge talent that is the Scorpions in a live setting. A worthwhile purchase for any fan of Eighties heavy rock.


Tokyo Tapes
Tokyo Tapes
Offered by stevecaptainkirk
Price: £35.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sayonara, Uli Jon, 2 Aug 2007
This review is from: Tokyo Tapes (Audio CD)
A perfect showcase of the Scorpions' live performance, `Tokyo Tapes' is also a fitting epitaph to the band's Uli Jon Roth era and would be an ideal purchase for anyone wishing to explore the early work of one of the world's most successful hard rock acts.
Although it's clear the sound is not particularly "live" (hardly unusual among such albums) and the Japanese crowd are typically subdued, `Tokyo Tapes' possesses plenty of energy, some terrific playing and offers a very good set list covering all five of the band's studio albums to date. There's really no excuse for the presence of `Hound Dog' and `Long Tall Sally' and the omission of the quite superb `Catch Your Train', but this small quibble aside, TT offers non-stop hard rock of the highest quality.
Highlights are numerous: `Speedy's Coming' tears out of the speakers and `Pictured Life' sounds better here than on its studio incarnation, the pounding rhythm perfectly suited to step up the gears after the obscure but effective opener `All Night Long'. Uli Jon Roth's guitar histrionics are in evidence throughout, especially so on an otherwise clumsy `Polar Nights', the gloriously spaced-out `Fly to the Rainbow' and a truly magnificent `We'll Burn the Sky', where the man lets loose and makes his axe soar like the guitar god he is.
Thunderous rockers like `Dark Lady' and `He's a Woman, She's a Man' come across very well in the live medium and even the band's attempt at a "beautiful Japanese folk song" - Kojo No Tsuki (which translates as The Moon over the Desolate Castle) - works beautifully.
So many live releases end up disappointing, with only a handful regarded as genuinely worthy additions to a band's output. For every `Live and Dangerous', there are plenty of `Priest...Live' albums out there. But while `Tokyo Tapes' may not reach the pantheon of live classics, it's still a worthy addition to any heavy rock collection and an absolute essential for the Scorpions fan.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2009 6:22 PM GMT


Monotheist
Monotheist
Price: £7.81

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, 5 Mar 2007
This review is from: Monotheist (Audio CD)
Well, I've been listening to this album since it came out early last summer and it still sounds awesome. Enough has been said in other reviews to recommend it - what I'll add is that it doesn't lose its power after a couple of months. This is a record that will stand proudly in your collection for years to come, just like the classic 'Into the Pandemonium', which sounds as great as it did in the 80s. A magnificent comeback for Celtic Frost - they're still uncompromising and they still do things totally on their own terms. 'Monotheist' is a magnificent album, full of talented and heartfelt songwriting and musicianship, and imbued with an honesty so often lacking in many a band's output.


Blasthead
Blasthead
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Gem, 27 Feb 2007
This review is from: Blasthead (Audio CD)
Little noticed upon it's release (I only knew of it because of a one-off video I saw on Raw Power) and even more obscure now, Blasthead is a fine early 90s album, still sounding good today. A strong rock record with dashes of indie, a splurge of industrial (on the excellent title track), and nods to Metallica (eps. Negative), there's also a vaguely hypnotic vibe throughout the album that led my then-girlfriend to point out similarities to minor-league Goths Rosetta Stone. The vocals are clear and strong with a good emotional kick, the guitars wail nicely and although the production is a bit wishy-washy, the rhythm section is satisfyingly heavy. For the few pence it can be picked up for today, this is definitely recommended.


Sam's Town
Sam's Town
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.99

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beards, grainy photos - must be the second album, 18 Jan 2007
This review is from: Sam's Town (Audio CD)
They've flogged their Duran Duran CDs and bought Springsteen's back catalogue. No bad thing, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a great rock album cos it ain't. Many others are more worthy of your attention and your praise. There are moments of joy in Sam's Town, but you're not gonna be humming `Bones' like you did `Mr. Brightside'.


Live To Win
Live To Win
Price: £7.90

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Predictable fun, 22 Nov 2006
This review is from: Live To Win (Audio CD)
A solid offering from Paul Stanley, the lifeblood of Kiss and elder statesman of rock; `Live to Win' doesn't break new ground, offers nothing in the way of surprises and is unlikely to stand the test of time like his original solo album has. But there are some strong tunes, a very good vibe throughout and Paul is still undoubtedly in full possession of his impressive vocal abilities, even though he's in his Fifties. The choruses are big and catchy, the tracks are short and snappy and even though the lyrics are clichéd and the ballads cheesy, it's impossible to dislike any of the songs. And Paul has wisely chosen not to litter his album with guest musicians, which keeps the sound much more linear and cohesive.

There are three obvious ways this album would benefit: first, the production could be a little more raw and biting - there's an overtly modern sheen to the sound. Also, it could do to be another 5-10 minutes longer. Finally, three ballads is one too many - another couple of balls-out rockers would have been far more preferable.

I'm playing this album to death at the moment - it's not a grower, more an instant fix, and as such I suspect I'll grow weary of it pretty quickly because ultimately it is rather throwaway. Yet it's also something I know I'll still enjoy the odd spin of years down the line.


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