Saturday, 28 November 2009
CD Review: Blackout, by Scorpions (1982)
With Blackout, Scorpions in 1982 unleashed one of their most powerful albums, and generated, seemingly effortlessly, another fistful of terrific songs that cemented their reputation near the top of the international heavy metal world.
For this one album, Scorpions took what proved to be a temporary break from controversial album covers, allowing fans to focus on the music. And there was a lot to like in the musical content of Blackout.
With lead singer Klause Meine now one of the most recognizable voices on the planet, and the guitar duo of Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs in full harmony with each other, the compact, high-tempo and melody-driven quartet of power-metal songs Blackout, No One Like You, You Give Me All I Need, and Dynamite became world-wide smash hits.
And the band demonstrated its versatility by also spinning out one of heavy metal's most effective power ballads ever in album closer When The Smoke Is Going Down, ensuring that teenagers around the world could awkwardly slow dance to heavy metal. No heavy metal band created power ballads as effectively as Scorpions, and When The Smoke Is Going Down was among their best.
China White, meanwhile, and musically at least, appeared to be the band's attempt to build upon the more experimental sound of the song Animal Magnetism from the previous album.
It's a pity that the supporting tracks on Blackout are nowhere near the required quality to round-out the CD. Can't Live Without You, Now!, and Arizona have their fans, but are really weak compared to what Scorpions were capable of at this stage of their career.
Lyrically, no one was accusing Scorpions of taking on the important issues of the day. The songs are all entirely still centered around the lightweight fare of women, parties and rock'n'roll.
On the plus side, Herman Rarebell's drums are once again happily prominent, providing a solid and energetic foundation to all the tracks. The album was produced by regular Scorpions collaborator Dieter Dierks, and his work along with the band's stable line-up resulted in one of the best sounding Scorpions recordings.
Blackout is one of the albums that is most associated with the sound of the Scorpions, and also most responsible for the band's spectacular success.
Klaus Meine - Vocals
Rudolf Schenker - Guitars
Matthias Jabs - Guitars
Francis Buchholz - Bass
Herman Rarebell - Drums
Songlist (Ratings out of 10):
1. Blackout - 10 *See Video Below*
2. Can't Live Without You - 5
3. No One Like You - 10
4. You Give Me All I Need - 9
5. Now! - 6
6. Dynamite - 9
7. Arizona - 6
8. China White - 7
9. When The Smoke Is Going Down - 10
Produced by Dieter Dierks.
Mixed by Gerd Rautenbach.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig and Howie Weinberg.
All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.