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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Scorpions, The - 2015 Return To Forever
Scorpions, The - 2015 Return To Forever

ARTIST: Scorpions, The
ALBUM: Return To Forever
SERIAL: 88875 05911 2
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Klaus Meine - vocals * Matthias Jabs - lead guitar * Rudolf Schenker - rhythm guitar * Powel Maciwoda - bass * James Kottak - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Going Out With A Bang * 02 We Built This House * 03 Rock My Car * 04 House Of Cards * 05 All For Me * 06 Rock N Roll Band * 07 Catch Your Luck And Play * 08 Rollin' Home * 09 Hard Rockin' The Place * 10 Eye Of The Storm * 11 The Scratch * 12 Gypsy Life



It's hard to believe anyone really believed 2010's 'Sting In The Tail' would be the swansong for The Scorpions. In that review I wrote 'let's see if it really does turn out to be the end' and 'time will tell'. After years of other veteran bands pulling the same escapade it was always going to be unlikely and five years after that album (which I haven't listened to since) our heroes are back with their first album of new material since, with a pair of shockingly bad releases in between, 2011's covers farce 'Comeblack' and the live album reviewed here last year which is too tedious to name. The main lure of this album are the tracks culled from the early 80's according to the band which never made the cut. You'd expect these to be far superior to anything since 1990, given the weakness of much of their music since. Also this is supposedly the bands 50th anniversary, a fact which seems thoroughly unbelievable somehow. Regardless the fact there's still new music from the veterans this far into their career is almost amazing. Then again anyone banking on this being in the same league as 'Blackout' might want to check their sanity levels.

The Songs
This is the same album you've heard from the band multiple times and while it's more basic hard rock than some of the 90's and 00's material, that doesn't mean it's anything special. 'Going Out With A Bang' implies this is another final statement, with a typically rousing chorus but rather bland guitar work. It's infectious in its own way, but little else. 'We Built This House' opens as a copy of 'Rock You Like A Hurricane' with its riff, suggesting a 1984 timeframe, but turns into something modern, with a chorus I'd expect to hear on a H.E.A.T. album or an equally faceless Euro AOR band. The ludicrously titled 'Rock My Car' is surely a holdover from 1980, with the vibe of that far superior era. It's heavy at least, in a way these guys barely know how to do anymore. It's good for a laugh and at times I could swear this is Queen the way the melody lines work. After three rockers a ballad is imminent and that is duly delivered with 'House Of Cards'. I know ballads have always been a staple of The Scorpions since 1982 or so, but this is just stale, the same sort of 'Winds Of Change' stuff they've been plundering for an eternity. 'All For One' features classic lyrics like 'weekend comes around, the gang is back in town.. another drink to slam, the girls wham bang..' With Herman Rarebell on the credits you know when this is from and naturally it's a soaring anthem, but even still it doesn't sound good enough to have been on anything from 1980-84 in particular, which explains its status I suppose. 'Rock N Roll Band' featured on the unplugged album last year and in electric form it's a driving piece of hard rock, as heavy it gets for the band in 2015. They can still cut it when they try, though it's truly by the numbers stuff.

Tedium ensues with 'Catch Your Luck And Play' and the mid-paced flow, with a bouncy and joyous hook which verges on sickening. It's up there with the worst of the 'Pure Instinct' period nearly. 'Rollin Home' has a regimented military drum pattern, with retrospective lyrics from Meine, the whole vibe very modern and almost belonging to a pre-fabricated Disney band you'd expect your kids to listen to. It's hard to tell the difference as sad as it seems. 'Hard Rockin' The Place' isn't the classic it sounds like, with a hint of 1990 about it and some acceptable riffs but little else. A shame, but in keeping with the radio friendly nature of these guys it makes sense. A ballad is long overdue and the tearjerker 'Eye Of The Storm' serves up a feast of weepy lyrics and guitar work, with Klaus reminiscing about the old days. A bit too obvious and predictable, just not cutting it sadly. 'The Scratch' is supposed to be raunchy, with some riffs you might expect to hear in some strip club, but compared to what AC/DC just released this is tame and utterly boring. If it's one of the older tracks I'm unsure, but even if it is it falls short of the standards these guys used to excel at. The regular album concludes with another faceless ballad, 'Gypsy Life' the offender, just a case of one too many times. There are a slew of bonus tracks, none of which are really worth describing, just more relatively unmelodic fare, nothing thrilling or threatening.

In Summary
After giving this a worthy chance, the final verdict is underwhelming to put it mildly. The promise of the older songs isn't realized, the dynamics of the early 80's long gone and with it the bands heaviness. 'Sting In The Tail' is better than this, which isn't saying much, but if they'd never bothered with a new album I don't think the world would be any worse off. Harsh maybe, but the musical rut The Scorpions have been in for decades continues to plague them and for those who still prefer the band in their prime years, this will be another letdown. Are there flashes of old? Certainly, but they're too minor to rate this as anything other than just another Scorpions album.

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#1 | RobLynott on February 26 2015 16:29:56
When listening to the bonus tracks of the deluxe edition, you ask yourself: Why are these songs superior to the ones on the "normal album"? Who is selecting these songs?

I simply compiled my own top 12 out out 17 which makes a far better listen. In summary: Rock my car, Rollin' home, House of cards and Eye of the storm didn't make the cut.
#2 | Jez on February 28 2015 10:36:31
It is just another Scorpions album, but I do really like the ballads on here, even though we've heard it all before, 'Gypsy Life' especially I thought was good. I loved 'Sting In the Tail' and still play it regularly, but this one isn't as good by some way
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