Release date: January 24, 2012
The Scorpions, now over four-and-a-half decades into its dynamic career are currently on a lengthy farewell tour, in support of the band’s final studio album, Sting In The Tail. However, like so many band’s on the road to retirement, the Scorps aren’t quite done yet and there’s still some sting left. This winter the German metallers released a compilation album of seven re-recorded classic Scorpions hits as well as six Scorpionized cover tracks. Let the skeptics now raise a collective moan. Another high-profile legend tossing out a pointless album for money and ego gratification. If that is how you feel about this (kind) of record, please read the review by my friend-in-metal, Jason Bodak over at the Columbus Examiner. He has a pretty good take on Comeblack from just such a perspective.
At this point in their collective careers the members of the Scorpions, particularly guitarist and founder Rudolf Schenker, the man who has written most of the band’s greatest riffs, and vocalist Klaus Meine, have earned the right to express themselves in any way they see fit. More important, this is a chance for the band to pay tribute to itself and to several of the artists which have inspired the group. Having performed countless hundreds of shows over the years, the band has tweaked, refined, and added nuance to classic songs such as “The Zoo”, “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, “Blackout”, “Still Loving You”, “Rhythm of Love, “Winds of Change” and “No One Like You”. The new renditions are the fortuitous benefactors of better recording technology. The sound is richer, crisper and more powerful.
The downside? Having performed these tracks for so many years some of the raw passion, edginess and energy has worn off. That said, these new renditions carry a clarity and comfort that only a well-oiled machine can bring to bear. The Scorpions have grown better with age and so too has the music. While it would be unfair to call these new recordings better or worse than the originals, each track is impressive in its own form.
The second half of the disc is comprised by a mix of six cover songs. The first among them, perhaps the most intriguing pick of the lot. The band gives its own spin to the 1965 Ed Cobb penned, “Tainted Love”, which was originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1965. However, it is the 1981 Soft Cell version which the Scorpions slammed full of metal flair. This is a ballsy affair that makes a once irritating 80’s pop-bomb into a man-size rocker.
Next the band takes aim at “Children of The Revolution” by Marc Bolan and T. Rex. This is an incredible version, and Meine’s trademark voice gives it added punch.
In homage to the legends the band offers up its take on The Beatles‘ “Across The Universe” and the Rolling Stones‘ “Ruby Tuesday”. Not risky choices by any means, but performed quite well and true to the originals.
Rounding it all out are a version of the Small Faces “Tin Soldier” and The Kinks classic, “All Day and All of The Night”.
The band calls Comeblack an encore to the fans, and states that it was the excitement of the fans during the farewell tour that inspired and energized them to create this record.
Regardless of why the Scorpions recorded it, or what the naysayers and critics believe, this as a very solid album by one of rock’s most impressive acts. Is this the end? Only time will tell, but fans can enjoy Comeblack for what it is, rather than what some expect it should be. All hail the Tail!