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SCORPIONS
Comeblack


Sony Music Entertainment (2011)
Rating: 6/10


In the midst of their farewell tour, rock legends the Scorpions took some time to re-record seven of their biggest hits and six songs that influenced them. The result is Comeblack, and will likely be the band’s final studio offering. As a fan of reissues, re-recordings, and deluxe versions, I was fairly surprised to see this album. I have always felt that the Scorpions were great at capturing a special sound that was undeniably them.

The album opens with ‘Rhythm Of Love’ and ‘No One Like You’. While these are two of my favourite tunes from the band, even I will admit that they sound lacklustre here. There’s no real bite at all; they just sound tired, not being nearly as interesting as the original recordings. The clean sound actually takes away from them quite a bit. ‘Winds Of Change’ has the same problem; you just don’t feel the moment like you did on the original recording. The originals had this fresh spark that drove them, while these songs sound technically great and extremely well rehearsed.

That’s not to say that the band falls flat all the way around though. ‘The Zoo’ sounds great, boasting a slightly bluesier swagger and some downright amazing lead guitar work that just drives the song to a whole other level. ‘Blackout’ benefits from the crisp production here as well. While I have always enjoyed this song, the original has a very muddled sound to it and here it is presented in a crystal clear fashion that lets each instrument really be heard. James Kottak’s drumming is unbelievable on the re-recording as well, which takes the song to a better place.

The second half of the album is cover songs and includes ‘Tainted Love’ (Gloria Jones), ‘Children Of The Revolution’ (T-Rex), ‘Across The Universe’ (The Beatles), ‘Tin Soldier’ (Small Faces), ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ (The Kinks), and ‘Ruby Tuesday’ (The Rolling Stones). This is where the listener really gets their money’s worth. ‘Tainted Love’ sets its heavy groove down firmly, as if alerting the listener to the fact that the band is asking for their full attention! ‘Children Of The Revolution’ is another moment where guitarists Jabs and Schenker really shine. You can tell they love this song as it just melts the listener from start to finish. ‘Across The Universe’ and ‘Tin Soldier’ are solid and offer a different view of what makes the Scorpions tick, while ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ sounds like The Kinks on steroids. ‘Ruby Tuesday’ takes the album out on a high note, with a beautiful take on one of rock’s most sacred songs. The band really gives it all here and the song just explodes, leaving you with nothing but good vibes as the album comes to a close.

Overall, this is a hit and miss collection. Personally, I’d have preferred to have had an album of covers as the re-recordings, for the most part, have nothing on their original counterparts. Still, it’s nice to have something fun from the Scorpions during their final hours as I’m sure many live recordings, greatest hits, and box sets will follow in the coming years.

Mark Fisher


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