Scorpions: Sting in the Tail
No Antidote Needed For This Final Sting
Coming off a solid, well-regarded album and an announcement that this is going to be the grand finale to an illustrious career, the Scorpions were under pressure to go out with a bang. Unfortunately, Sting in the Tail leaves band walking away from the spotlight with a somewhat lackluster effort.
Sting in the Tail sounds like the Scorpions made an attempt to cram as many anthemic-type songs, obligatory ballads and, as of late, a song to honor those troops who are sacrificing their lives to defend the ideals of freedom, as possible. In some ways, the music sounds like the band has recycled and tweaked some of its hottest riffs as if to offer a summary paragraph on its career.
For example, the opening notes on the lead track, "Raised On Rock," sounds like a rearrangement of the classic opening riff to "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and even opens with the line: "I was born in a hurricane." Other seemingly obvious references to the past are peppered throughout the disc.
And while in some ways it could be forgiven, as this is supposedly the Scorpions' last hurrah, there is a level of intensity, particularly in lead vocalist Klaus Meine's singing, that fails to sell the anthemic nature of the up-tempo tunes gathered here.
Meine sounds solid throughout the album, but the fire and passion that typified its classic rockers all the way through its most recent release, Humanity: Hour 1, seems lacking. It could be a production issue or perhaps age has finally caught up to him. He does much better on the ballads and absolutely shines on "Lorelei."
Musically, there is no doubt that this is a Scorpions CD. Aside from the afore-mentioned references back to earlier work, the band does shine, musically. Much like its predecessor, there is a feeling of a modern twist on the classic 1980s Scorpions sound. The group sounds like it belongs in today's music scene without sacrificing its musical identity.
The oddest thing about this album is the closing track. Considering Sting in the Tail is supposed to be the final recording to close out the catalog, titling your swan song "The Best is Yet to Come" makes little sense, unless the band is already foreshadowing the clichéd comeback from retirement.
Despite all its flaws, this album should resonate with fans that enjoy the entirety of the Scorpions' catalog. The band may not have hit a home run to end its career, but its members have no reason to hang their heads low as they prepare to embark on a multi-year tour to say their last goodbyes to the fans. In the live setting, anything from Sting in the Tail should translate well.
- Gregory Twachtman
Copyright 2010, Brian Heaton. All Rights Reserved.