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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Scorpions

Return to Forever

Review by Gary Hill

This is kind of an intriguing album. Some of these songs are new. Many of them, though, are unfinished gems from different periods of the band’s career. While I say “unfinished,” I mean that before this album they were unfinished. These were pieces that were basically sitting on a shelf. The group brought them out, dusted them off and finished them. This is a solid album, overall. There are a few songs that don’t work as well as the rest to my ear, but really can’t you say that about most discs?

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Going out with a Bang

This track is kind of the “odd man out.” It feels very much like a Southern rocker. The vocals tell you that it’s Scorpions, but the rest of the song doesn’t really seem like it is.

We Built This House
This feels like something that could have come from the classic era of Scorpions. It’s basically a power ballad. It’s also trademark Scorpions. It’s anthemic for sure.
Rock My Car
Speaking of anthemic, this is the kind of arena metal tune that everyone thinks of when they hear the name “Scorpions.” It’s nothing earth shattering, but it’s strong stuff. It’s perhaps closer to something like the Lovedrive album or Animal Magnetism.
House of Cards

 This song finds them in fall ballad mode. It’s powerful and quite pretty.

All for One
This definitely feels like something from Love Drive, with perhaps a little “Steamrock Fever” in the mix. It’s also got a bit of a Kiss riff at one point.

              

Rock 'n' Roll Band
Felling a lot like something from Blackout, this is a hard rocking and catchy tune. It’s one of my favorites here.
Catch Your Luck and Play
This anthemic rocker is very catchy. The guitar riffs are meaty, too.
Rollin' Home
Less of a metal cut, this is more straightahead rock music. It’s got a great chorus. It’s not one of my favorites, though. It almost feels more like Bryan Adams than Scorpions.
Hard Rockin' the Place
This is definitely more like it. This screamer is definitely metal. It’s also one of the best songs here. It’s fierce and fiery. It makes me think of older Scorps, like Virgin Killer.
Eye of the Storm
Here we get more of a power ballad type song. This is far from the most metal thing here, but it does have some crunch. I definitely dig the guitar solo.
The Scratch
I really love this song. It’s part metal and part bluesy hard rocker. The verses are more stripped back and it rocks in earnest on the choruses. This is one of the highlights here.
Gypsy Life
Another ballad, I love this song. It’s intricate, evocative and incredibly pretty.
The World We Used to Know
I’m not a huge fan of this song. It feels very much like an AOR 80s rock song. It’s good, but not as strong as a lot of the rest. It doesn’t really feel like the Scorpions. Instead, it seems to have a very generic sound.
Dancing with the Moonlight
Now, this is great. It’s hard rock merged with metal. It’s fast paced, high energy and full of great tones and sounds. The hooks are accessible. This feels like something the band might have done in the classic period. It’s definitely one of the standouts.
When the Truth Is a Lie
Here is another highlight. This is a soaring power ballad styled cut. The metal movements are particularly crunchy. There are almost hints of progressive rock here, too. This is accessible and yet meaty. There is a lot of magic and drama here.
Who We Are
This is another ballad. It’s also another of the best songs. This is quite pretty. The wall of vocals on the chorus is great. The whole song is just very evocative.
Crazy Ride
More metallic, this is very much classic Scorpions. It’s another strong cut on a disc with a lot of strong material.
One and One Is Three
An anthemic metal rocker, this is also classic Scorpions.           
Delirious
A harder rocker, this has some great riffs. It’s another standout.
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