Album Review – Scorpions / Rock Believer (2022)

Believe in the one and only Scorpions.

Seven years after the release of Return to Forever, which is by the way the longest gap between studio albums in their career, Germany’s Rock N’ Roll/Hard Rock institution Scorpions is back in action with their nineteenth opus, entitled Rock Believer, the undisputed proof those German rockers still have a lot of fuel to burn after so many decades on the road. Recorded by Jakob Himmelein and Hans-Martin Buff, produced by Hans-Martin Buff at Peppermint Park Studios, mixed by Michael Ilbert at Hansa Studios, and displaying a beyond classic artwork by Jeff Thrower, Rock Believer is the band’s first-ever album to feature Mikkey Dee (famous for his time with the unparalleled Motörhead) on drums, who replaced James Kottak in 2016, adding an endless amount of adrenaline to the already iconic music brought into being by vocalist Klaus Meine, guitarists Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda, making us all believe in rock music even when a good part of our society says it’s already dead and gone.

There’s no better way to kick off a rockin’ album than with the excellent Gas in the Tank, where Klaus, Matthias and Rudolf are on fire from the very first second while Mikkey adds a very welcome, dirty Motörhead vibe to this lecture in classic Rock N’ Roll; and those German rockers keep putting the pedal to the metal in Roots in My Boots, with Rudolf and Matthias delivering sheer awesomeness through their axes. Put differently, it’s old school Scorpions without sounding outdated at all. Knock ‘Em Dead is a mid-tempo Hard Rock feast by Scorpions where Mikkey dictates the pace supported by the low-tuned bass by Paweł while Matthias kicks some serious ass with his riffs and solos, whereas the title-track Rock Believer is perfect for their sold-out arena concerts, with Klaus declaiming the song’s inspiring lyrics beautifully (“You start to crawl until you walk / You make a scream and learn to talk / You discover life on every day / From the first day you were born / You walked a lifeline of your own / And if you always keep the faith”). Then we have Shining of Your Soul, darker but at the same time very melodic and groovy thanks to the pleasant vibe crafted by the band’s guitar duo accompanied by Mikkey’s beats, while the sinister bass lines by Paweł kick off the also groovy Seventh Sun, showcasing another flawless performance by Klaus amidst a wall of Rock N’ Roll sounds.

Back to a more dancin’ sonority, it’s time for Klaus to lead his henchmen in Hot and Cold, sounding like if it was taken from one of their 80’s albums (not to mention its beyond catchy chorus), whereas in When I Lay My Bones to Rest we’re treated to more of their rockin’ poetry (“Here comes a brother from another mother / Storming out into the light / We’re speeding up the pace, cutting to the chase / It’s gonna be a hell of a ride”), matching perfectly with the song’s undisputed Rock N’ Roll spearheaded by the flammable guitars by Matthias and Rudolf. Peacemaker is another fast, thrilling ride by the quintet that will sound fantastic when played live where Klaus once again steals the spotlight with his unparalleled Hard Rock vocals, while Call of the Wild is less visceral and more “romantic” than its predecessors. It’s not a bad song, but it lacks the same punch as the other songs in the album. After that it’s time for When You Know (Where You Come From), a beautiful ballad to put a proper ending to the album that will surely be added to the band’s “acoustic” set during their live performances, and if you go for the deluxe version of the album you’ll have a blast with five amazing bonus tracks, with Shoot for Your Heart being by far the most exciting of all. To be honest, this song alone is worth the investment in the deluxe edition.

Rock Believer, which is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify, can be purchased from your favorite retailer or streamed in its entirety by clicking HERE, and if you consider yourself a true rock believer you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and also subscribe to their YouTube channel. In a nutshell, one of the trailblazers of Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock is ready to kick your ass once again to the sound of their awesome new album, proving that not only they still got it, but also that they’re far from calling it quits. And if you keep believing in the one and only Scorpions, you can rest assured our beloved Rock N’ Roll will never die.

Best moments of the album: Gas in the Tank, Roots in My Boots, When I Lay My Bones to Rest, Peacemaker and Shoot for Your Heart.

Worst moments of the album: Call of the Wild.

Released in 2022 Vertigo Records

Track listing
1. Gas in the Tank 3:40
2. Roots in My Boots 3:17
3. Knock ‘Em Dead 4:11
4. Rock Believer 3:57
5. Shining of Your Soul 3:57
6. Seventh Sun 5:30
7. Hot and Cold 4:12
8. When I Lay My Bones to Rest 3:08
9. Peacemaker 2:56
10. Call of the Wild 5:21
11. When You Know (Where You Come From) 4:22

Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
12. Shoot for Your Heart 4:01
13. When Tomorrow Comes 3:47
14. Unleash the Beast 4:17
15. Crossing Borders 3:38
16. When You Know (Where You Come From) (Acoustic version) 3:44

Band members
Klaus Meine – vocals
Matthias Jabs – guitars
Rudolf Schenker – guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

Guest musicians
Ingo Powitzer – additional guitars and bass, guitar solo on “When Tomorrow Comes”, backing vocals, claps
Hans-Martin Buff – backing vocals, claps
Jakob Himmelein – backing vocals, claps
Alex Malek – backing vocals, claps
Pitti Hecht – percussion

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