Humanity Hour 1

The Scorpions

Unlike the nocturnal arthropod from which they take their name, the Scorpions are no strangers to the wind of change, so to speak. Throughout their 30-plus-year career, they’ve adapted to the trends and musical styles of the day — from the blues-based hard rock of the 70s to the heavy metal of the 80s and hit parade of the 90s to the time-honored workhorse ethics of today. In recent years, the Scorpions have maintained a strong and steady fan base without drawing too much attention outside their own bubble of existence. It seems to work. And just to show how vigilant they are about remaining in the game, they stay on the road and continue to make new records whenever the mood strikes. For Humanity Hour 1, their latest CD, they’ve gone the extra mile and gathered up plenty of help to take things to the next level.

“Hour 1” lifts off like a Metallica-fueled rocket. This straight-ahead head banger dovetails into the much more maligned “The Game Of Life.” For most of the record, The Scorpions balance out the servings — part sugar and syrupy ala “The Future Never Dies,” “Love Will Keep Us Alive” and “Love Is War”; part loud and heavy ala “You’re Loving Me To Death,” “321” and ‘The Cross,” which features the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan on background vocals. Then there's tunes like ‘We Will Rise Again” and “Humanity,” that mix it up with bits of tenderness occasionally tossed over the sawhorse and beaten for good measure. Yeah, you know, the classic Scorpions sound! And with people like Desmond Child turning the knobs and chipping in on the songwriting, you’d think it would become a runaway hit the world over. Well, perhaps in another era.

In Europe, the Scorpions are revered as goodwill ambassadors and their albums are typically well-received. In America, where rap and Mickey Mouse rule the roost these days, an album from the Scorpions, no matter how well executed, isn’t going to dent the charts with much more than a light tap. It’s a good thing they still pack ‘em in at the concert halls. Giving your followers something to bang their heads to in addition to “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “The Zoo” says something about the loyalty and perseverance of these group. And when you’re Number One in Greece, which is where Humanity Hour 1 landed, who needs to worry about churning out hits for the rest of the world anyway...

~ Shawn Perry

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