Sting In The Tail

Scorpions

Finally, a band who knows when to throw in the towel, call it a day and head to the beach for some well-deserved R-n-R. Well, at least, that’s the strategy the Scorpions are deploying behind Sting In The Tail, announced as their farewell album. It’s a difficult road to cross — rating a record like this. If the members of this German metal band are truly going their separate ways, instead of setting us up for the inevitable reunion, then their final studio recording should be something extraordinary and completely off the hook. Indeed, Sting In The Tail has the right elements — those flavorful riffs and general high-energy measure the Scorpions are known for. Living up to the expectations of a proper swan song is another issue entirely.

So, let’s start from the top. There's “Raised on Rock, ” a no-nonsense, pull-no-punches rocker that apparently traces the band’s lineage. The riff guiding the title track has a lot more bite, with singer Klaus Meine sounding positively diabolical during the back-end chorus. “The Good Die Young” offers up a catchy chorus with Meine’s voice darkly stroking the verse with a ragged rasp, a characteristic that pops up throughout the record. Fortunately, Meine still musters the choruses like a screaming banshee on fire.

It's no mystery that the Scorps have spent the better part of the last 20 years trying to replicate the power ballad wallop of their international hit, “Winds Of Change.” Here, they've whipped up three entries: “Lerelei,” a romantic tear-jerker; “Sly,” a crooner much more fulfilling than “Lerelei”; and “The Best Is Yet To Come,” the record’s final track and an uplifting, arm-waver cast very much in the mold of “Winds Of Change.” The optimistic themes are what keep the Scorpions respectable.

Along with the power ballads are the rock anthems. “Turn You On” and “Spirit Of Rock” are prime candidates for fist-pumping sing-alongs in concert arenas around the world. Some may accuse the Scorpions of posing and priming their way through the formulaic rituals of the 80s. Yet after years of playing it up like the second cousin to Spinal Tap, there’s a sense of serendipity in the Scorps’ retirement. It’s been a loopy 45 years, and they’re still the biggest hard rock band out of Deutschland. That speaks volumes. Calling it quits and retreating to their German countryside villas couldn't be easy. After the two-year world tour scheduled to support Sting In The Tail, we'll see how long the Scorpions can hibernate away from their adoring fans.

~ Shawn Perry

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