Ten years and two albums on from their farewell tour the Scorpions are still going, sharing a similar confusion about farewell tours as KISS, Motley Crue and Status Quo. The second of those post retirement albums is Rock Believer (Spinefarm Records), the German rockers 19th offering of big riffed, anthemic Classic Rock.
It is heartwarming to see them still rocking with the best of them, and Rock Believer has some shining moments, but mostly it is a decent enough album that will not live long in the memory. The pacey slab of self-referential rock ‘Gas in the Tank’ – “black me in and black me out” – and the heavy shuffle of ‘Roots in My Boots’ are good but largely forgotten once they are finished. They have stuck to what they know best and when it works – as is the case in the naff but catchy bit of cheese that is the title track – it brings a smile to your face.
The effervescent ‘Hot and Cold’ is another good one, with crunching chords and a suitably big chorus. The lyrics are bang average but to be fair that has never been their game, you are here for arena sized rock not Bob Dylan word play. Things are at their best with the volume and the pace cranked up, as the locomotive rhythm and the urgent, Thin Lizzy like guitar work of ‘Peacemaker’ shows. As if proving my point, the slower numbers – ‘Shining of Your Soul’ and ‘The Zoo’-esque ‘Seventh Sun’ – are plodding attempts to create an atmosphere. ‘When You Know (Where You Come From)’, their latest big, blockbuster ballad, ends the album and suffers from the same fate of disappointment. As for the deluxe version, you are better off without it as the five bonus tracks add nothing.
‘Rock Believer’ is business as usual for the European quintet – a decent, if run of the mill slab of their trademark Hard Rock coming eight years after the similar, and slightly better, Return to Forever.
6 / 10