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Scorpions, The - 1976 Virgin Killer

ARTIST: Scorpions, The
ALBUM: Virgin Killer
SERIAL: APL-1 4225
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 2007, BMG Japan, BVCM-37925


LINEUP: Klaus Meine - vocals * Uli Jon Roth - lead guitars * Rudolf Schenker - rhythm guitars * Francis Buchholz - bass * Rudy Lenners - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Pictured Life * 02 Catch Your Train * 03 In Your Park * 04 Backstage Queen * 05 Virgin Killer * 06 Hell-Cat * 07 Crying Days * 08 Polar Nights * 09 Yellow Raven


At the time of writing this review, thirty years have since passed. Yes, 1976 was a long time ago and for many of you readers, some of you weren't even born! Disco was rife, AOR hadn't even been invented yet, and heavy rock was just about to kick into action. Believe it or not, Germany was cranking out excellent bands, The Scorpions being one such outfit. This was their fourth studio album, with the few years of experience and professionalism now starting to show. The band took a bit of flak for the original cover of the album showing a naked prepubescent girl with cracked glass/mirror over her private parts. The revamped cover is a bit more straight-forward. Thank god that was the version I had as a schoolboy. My parents might have had second thoughts had they seen it.

The Songs
'Pictured Life' gets us underway in typical Scorpions fashion - dual guitars trading riffs on either side of the aural soundscape. The first of the rampant rockers is 'Catch Your Train', the wailing feedback from Roth's guitar a highlight for me. 'In Your Park' takes us on a mid-tempo but soulful excursion (an album highlight). It's followed by the fun-time raucous of 'Backstage Queen', another above average rocker. 'Virgin Killer' is another melodic fast paced rocker with a twist. This one and 'Hellcat' (sung by Uli Roth) have a familiar overdriven sound reminiscent of Pat Travers Band who was just starting out his career at this time. Probably my least favourite track is the dreamy (some would say dreary) mid-ballad 'Crying Days', though the Roth guitar solo is pure class. The album finishes off with two scorchers: 'Polar Nights' (though the vocal from Uli Roth isn't the best) and the effortless tender ballad 'Yellow Raven'.. remember the line 'where do you go.. fantastic dream bird.. answer to my yearning.. take me away from here..'

In Summary
Some albums age well over time.. some don't. Many will drop kick this album into the past and watch it sail back down through the years. For me it is a different case, as I used to play this album ad nauseum during my high-school years, and it still sounds great to me, even after thirty years. As a measure of their popularity, this album is held in high regard among their earlier works. The band would follow this effort up with a fantastic double live album 'Tokyo Tapes', then another studio album 'Taken By Force', which would be their last album with Uli Roth and their label RCA. Phase 2 of The Scorpions career would take off with 1979's 'Lovedrive'.

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#1 | vinyldinosaurus on February 06 2008 17:38:43
Great album. Probably the best of the Roth era.
#2 | Eric on October 01 2008 02:59:33
Hard to believe that 'other' cover even made it to store shelves. I remember seeing it in the JEM import bins and it was a shocker to say the least, surprised it made it past US Customs officials!
#3 | gdazegod on June 27 2009 04:15:02
In this day and age of child protection, I agree that the original album cover was a bit of a shocker, but really, the big song and dance made over this during 2008 by the Internet Blacklisters was a bit overkill wasn't it? The idiots there obviously have no idea who The Scorpions were or how old this album was.. 32 years old to be precise..
#4 | aaasreg on August 08 2014 21:52:06
Absolutely brilliant stuff.

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