“Humanity Hour 1” by Scorpions

Artist: Scorpions
Title: “Humanity Hour 1”
Label: New Door Records
Release Date: 8/28/2007
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Hard Rock concept albums are nothing new these days so why shouldn’t the venerated Scorpions give us their own take on the format with their newest album “Humanity Hour 1”. According to what I have read, the album’s premise tells of humans and androids in an do or die struggle for Earth and while I was incredibly intrigued by the subject matter being a diehard Science Fiction fan for many years, I admit a level of surprise by the lack of lyrics to read which could actually explain the tale to me as the music played. We get simple phrases from each song as opposed to the entire script along with some photos that show the Scorpions looking far younger than most of their audience. I quickly forgave them about this oversight when I realized that this was not the Scorpions that I had slowly grown complacent with over the last couple of albums as they instead presented one melodic rocker after another. Now let’s understand that there is nothing similar to “No One Like You” or even a “Rock You Like A Hurricane” in terms of hit potential on this album, but there is some really great stuff here that shows a band who is aging gracefully along with their long time fans. There is a heavy number in “You’re Lovin’ Me To Death” and this is also perhaps the quickest paced tune but its no “Coming Home”.

The songs all seem to work together well, and I mean that you can sit and easily enjoy the full release in one sitting without skipping around. Yet despite the enjoyment, remember that this is not so much the Metal band of years past and more a seasoned Hard Rock outfit who can still deliver when it comes down to it. I found songs like “We Were Born To Fly” and “We Will Rise Again” rather refreshing and positive in their overall message but there are those who were probably hoping for a return to that which was so long ago. They are cheating themselves out of some cool stuff if they pass up this one by wishing for the return of Uli Jon Roth or Michael Schenker to the lineup and writing table. Those days are long gone and it is time to move forward and embrace the band in today’s world and sound. The one criticism I did have is that a lot of the songs sound almost interchangeable but perhaps this was due to their keeping the theme of the story in place. There is a lot of similar groove and beat going on here which some might enjoy but others might find as the band copping out on being original all across the board. I’m still on the fence about that myself.

I was happy to find out that Klaus Meine’s voice still retains the power of days gone by and that was impressive to say the least. In my humble opinion, both Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker have never sounded better themselves. Jabs is quite an exciting player and he shows some nice textures on the guitar with their first concept piece. Pounding the skins since 1996, the no longer new James Kottak on drums is showing some serious chops and does well in the shoes once worn by Herman “ze German” Rarebell. He’s great live as well, so do try to catch a concert if you can arrange it. Their bassist Pawel Maciwoda was new to me even as a four year tenured member but as I mentioned, I had lost interest in much of what they were doing for several years. At the close of this particular CD I was happy to be able to report that Scorpions had shifted gears and shown once again why we regard them as legends in the first place. Let us hope that this is the sign of even better things to come. Good work guys.

Track Listing:
1. Hour 1
2. The Game Of Life
3. We Were Born To Fly
4. The Future Never Dies
5. You’re Lovin’ Me To Death
6. 321
7. Love Will Keep Us Alive
8. We Will Rise Again
9. Your Last Song
10. Love Is War
11. The Cross
12. Humanity

Official Website: http://www.the-scorpions.com/english/

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