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KMA859 Scorpions – Face The Heat

I’ll be honest: I really only know the hits of this band. So, this record that Mike, our Almighty Lebrain, sent me is a fantastic opportunity to get to know them a bit better. Let’s give ‘er!

Alien Nation sets up a brilliant intro riff and gives notice that we’re here to fucking rock. The whole song is just very, very big… No Pain No Gain crunches along beautifully. The weirdo noises in the background were distracting. But the vocals totally suit this song. It’s almost… Def Leppard-y? Is that even a word? IT IS NOW… Someone To Touch picks up the pace again, and doesn’t let off on the rock at all. This would be a great work-out mix track.

Under The Same Sun is the obligatory slow rock ballad in the mix. The touchy-feely ‘why can’t we all just get along’ lyrics like these always come across as smarmy. I’m not knocking the sentiment at all, I would agree with it myself. It’s just very hard to write a song about this stuff without sounding either strident, or soft, or both. It has a big, juicy guitar solo, though.

Unholy Alliance brings back the rock (thus fulfilling the unspoken rawk album requirement of following a ballad with a fast rocker track). This one is all muscular and slinky. They do this sound very well, indeed. Pretty sure this didn’t need to be a 5 minute song, when about 3.5 minutes would have sufficed.

Woman’s orchestral backing and long, slow build make this a certainty to be a concert showcase. It’s 2:45 by the time the band even comes in, and that’s a helluva scream at 3:17. This is a bluesy one… Hate To Be Nice brings back the rock metal standard with a great shout-along chorus. Funny, a few tracks ago he was saying we should all get along under the same sun. And now, here, he’s saying ‘the world out there is down and dirty, baby/and I hate to be nice.’ Bit of a wandering conviction, perhaps.

Taxman Woman has a strange title, but it happily rocks and swings at the same time. It’s a fun, bluesy track that, given enough volume, would still rattle the walls… Ship Of Fools is full-throttle metal perfect for movie soundtracks. It seems I always say that, at some point, but I call it as I hear it.

Nightmare Avenue keeps the pace very high, and sounds like Guns ’N Roses could have done a killer cover of it. Damn, this track and Ship Of Fools before it should have been higher up in the mix. Why the hell do we have to wait until the last tracks of the albums to get rocked this hard?

And finally, it’s Lonely Nights, a piano-acoustic ballad about how lonely it is now that his lover is gone. Oh boo hoo. Haha. It’s pretty enough, but quite repetitive. Fair play to them.

In sum? For not knowing much about this record, I’ve got to say that this is a collection of strong songs that gets better as it goes along. I liked it best when they jammed the pedal to the metal and let ‘er rip. I am super-glad I got this opportunity to take this for a spin, and so I offer up my huge heaps of thanks once again to Mike, our Benevolent and Supreme LeBrain. Woohoo!

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