Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Class of 82 - Scorpions : "Black Out"

How does the 8th album by the German rockers hold up 40 years later ? It opens with the title track which finds Kalus' voice surprisingly strong considering how he had to have surgery on his vocal cords during the writing process. This caused the band to bring in Don Dokken to demo the songs, but Klaus made a comeback and recorded them. Don's backing vocals stayed on the album. It's high energy, though by today's standards this might be more of a hard rock song, however, when it comes to 80s metal the question, I use is ...Is this at least comparable to what Judas Priest was doing at the time and the answer is yes. They are more radio friendly in the twin guitar chug of " I Can't Live Without You". While this is rock to me, for the 80s this is still in line with what Priest was doing, the more straight-ahead nature of this one, feels less inspired than the opener and more like they sat down and asked how they were going to afford the Limo. 

I am not opposed to radio friendly anthems from these guys as " No One Like You" is an incredibly well written song with infectious hook. It also has great guitar playing, that is melodic and shreds when called for.  Klaus' vocals knock it out of the park as well. When it comes to 80s rock singers of this genre, he is one of the most emotive. I put him neck and neck with Dio in this regard. There is more of a power ball feel to "You Give Me All I Need". Less of an arena rocker than the previous song which works off a similar formula it is still effective and more nuanced guitar work along with Klaus' vocals make it memorable. The guitar solo is extra tasty and shows how they stand apart from the other two be twin guitar attack bands of the day Maiden and Priest. "Now "is the album's most metal song so far, though the most like filler from a writing perspective as it is no frills fast paced chord progression.   

They keep the fact that at this point their high energy style makes them a metal band on "Dynamite", which plays to all the tropes they have made their thumb print when it comes to the more up-tempo style the pepper the album with. The guitars bring the fire for sure. "Arizona" rocks more like a hurricane. It is more deliberate in its pacing and has more groove which works better for me. Lyrically it's not the best they have done, but the bar is low for lyrics on this album. The best song on the album is "China White" which could also be numbered among the band's best songs ever. It has a Led Zepplin like swagger to its steamy groove.  They close the album with the moody power ballad "When the Smoke is Going Down". Klaus' vocals are more nuanced here and the higher notes hit with a great deal of clarity.  Not my favorite Scorpions album, but a really great one that captures them at the peak of their career.  I will round it up to a 10.   

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