Scorpions - Return to Forever (Sony)

Fifty years and counting...
Release Date: 
19 Feb 2015 - 11:30pm

Incredible to relate, German hard rock institution the Scorpions is fifty years old this year. Now, you can understand how a band like the Rolling Stones makes it to the half century mark, but Scorpions? A band who, all through the eighties forged a well-deserved reputation as one of the most high-energy acts treading the boards (let’s face it, how many metalcore bands do you see forming human pyramids whilst playing these days?), still going strong after starting the ball rolling in the mid sixties? It hardly bares thinking about. Christ, they’re even older than me…

And so, in celebration of this not inconsiderable landmark, the band has raided its own vaults to come up with Return to Forever, an album built largely on riffs and song ideas left over from the band’s halcyon days and given a modern dusting down with the help of hot young producer/songwriter combination Mikael "Nord" Andersson and Martin Hansen.

Of course, you have to ask, why were these bits and pieces left untouched for so long? One always needs to be dubious when a band tries to sell you old schmutter plastered in ‘PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED!’ stickers (if it was so worthy of our attention, why wasn't it released at the time?), and there is a fair amount of fluff on offer here that clearly wouldn’t have been good enough to get on albums the calibre of Savage Amusement or Love at First Sting. That said, the thunderous Rock n’Roll Band is absolutely top notch hard rock, whilst Rollin’ Home, which bizarrely sounds like something Shania Twain might have recorded in the late nineties, is sure to find a home on many a classic rock radio playlist in months to come. 

There’s a whiff of loose ends being tied up around Return to Forever, of attics being cleared and space liberated in the house to ensure room is available for a comfortable retirement; If this is the last album of ‘new’ material that the Scorpions release, then at least the smell of turkey isn’t stinking the place up. Or maybe they just wanted to get rid of the remnants before embarking on a whole new chapter? Who knows? Whatever, this isn’t something new fans are going to flock to, but if you’ve ever made a fool of yourself playing air guitar to Rock You Like a Hurricane or Blackout, you’ll find enough here to enjoy to warrant a small investment.