With the album ‘Blackout’, the Scorpions were starting to break big and it looks like the record company wanted to promote more of the band’s 70’s material, especially with Uli Jon Roth. This is the band’s second compilation and like the first one, only features songs with Uli. Released on May 4, 1982, ‘Hot & Heavy’ is released under the RCA banner of “Takeoff” series. The album, as the title suggests, features the heavier songs by the band and even has 3 Uli sung songs. The songs cover the years 1974-1977.
Admittedly, this is not really necessary as a release, but it is a good showcase of the band’s more rocking material. Sadly, there are 6 repeats on this compilation that are on the ‘Best of Scorpions’ released a few years back. My version is the German release of the album and the back cover has a brief history of the band in both German and English. The back cover also highlights a few other albums under the “Takeoff” series umbrella.
The band goes straight-up beast-like Metal with “He’s a Woman, She’s a Man”. A heavy riff which might the heaviest they’ve ever done or at least on ‘Taken by Force’. It is brutal. Herman really pounds away on the drums that makes the guitar riff seem even heavier and it is almost Thrash. A catchy chorus and more Klaus vocal dexterity with this broken English makes it all an utter blast. If your head ain’t banging on this one, you ain’t playing it loud enough!! This was also Herman Rarebell’s first writing credit and what an introduction to his talent.
With “Speedy’s Coming”, Uli Jon Roth made it known that he was the force behind their sound as his playing is exceptional. Klaus wails the vocals and makes me feel right at home as it is his voice that for me screams Scorpions. The drumming by Jurgen and Francis’ bass are a lethal combo and throw in Rudolf’s rhythm guitar and you have a hell of a package.
“Catch Your Train” brings us more of the same classic Scorpions sound, but actually takes it up a notch. The rhythm guitar, bass and drum give a chugging feeling reminiscent of a train and drives it forward. The verses are exciting with Klaus giving it his all, but that chorus is a hook machine with the lyrics phrased perfectly. It is high energy, exciting track and for me the best on the album. It sounds like the Scorpions I grew up with in the 80’s.
“Dark Lady” is a first for the band with both Uli and Klaus sharing lead vocals. You have Uli on the verses and Klaus screaming on the chorus and those screams are hairs standing on the back your neck type screams. The guitar sounds on this one are eerie, gritty and totally lethal.
The final song on Side 1 is “Far Away” and it is a Michael Schenker co-write and this one opens with an airy, floating vibe with Klaus softly singing a few words here and there. The song picks up tempo, however, it is lackluster at best. It screams filler for me so not sure why you’d stick it on a compilation.
Side 2 kicks off with the anthem “Steamrock Fever” with its chugging guitar riffs, it might be one of the most metal songs they’ve done. Don’t know if I understand what it is about, but really who cares when they sound this good. The chanting children thrown in the verses, the Klaus scream and the overly catchy chorus make it a fun, cool-sounding track
“The Riot of Our Times” starts off with an almost Who like guitar intro and then Klaus’ vocals just soar. They are predicting the future with this one that by ’94 or ’95 the world will be in full riot mode. The verses are crisp and clean and the chorus is full on power and there is another killer solo by Roth as the man can play..
“Robot Man” has a quick barrage of the drums and Rudolf’s guitar shuffle suck you in to this cool, fast-paced blistering track. It doesn’t sound like anything else on the album and that is a good thing. The vocal effect on Klaus’ vocals keep it interesting and varied. A quick solo and more Klaus and before you know it, it is over and you are wanting more.
Uli is back on vocals with “Polar Nights” which is more interesting instrumentally, but vocally is a total trainwreck. The bass groove on this is killer a standout moment for Francis and no denying Uli’s talent on the six-string. Just not much talent on the vocals which thankfully isn’t that much. I mean it is bad. Did Dieter just throw his hands up and say…”That’s as good as its going to get”. Am I being harsh…but this would’ve been better as an instrumental.
An Uli penned song is up next with “I’ve Got to Be Free” and I wonder if this was foreshadowing to his leaving the band as the song is about the desire to run your own life. The style of this song is classic Scorpions. Klaus is really into this one on vocals as he is giving it his all almost screaming. The song has another catchy chorus and a great riff. A straight-forward rocker.
And there you have it. A totally unnecessary compilation since they had one 3 years earlier that had 6 of these 10 songs. I don’t think the label cared at all what they were doing as this is a haphazardly pieced together compilation. Don’t get me wrong though, some great songs on here, but I think you are better served with “Best of Scorpions’ and then get Vol 2. which is being reviewed in about 3 weeks. My Overall Score is a 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars.
NEXT UP: LOVE AT FIRST STING (1984)
THE SCORPIONS COLLECTION SERIES:
- Lonesome Crow (1972)
- Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
- In Trance (1975)
- Virgin Killer (1976)
- Taken by Force (1977)
- Tokyo Tapes (1978)
- Lovedrive (1979)
- Best of Scorpions (1979)
- Animal Magnetism (1980)
- Rock Galaxy (1980) – Bonus Edition
- Blackout (1982)
- Hot & Heavy (1982)
- Love at First Sting (1984)
- Still Loving You Maxi Single (1984)
- Best of Scorpions Vol. 2 (1984)
- Gold Ballads (1984)
- World Wide Live (1985)
- Savage Amusement (1988)
- Rhythm of Love – Single (Box Set) (1988)
- Best of Rockers ‘n’ Ballads (1989)
- Crazy World (1990)
- Crazy World – 4 Track From Crazy World Promo Vinyl (1990)
- Tease Me Please Me Promo CD (1990)
- Don’t Believe Her Promo CD (1990)
- Send Me An Angle Promo CD (1991)
- Face the Heat (1993)
- Live Bites (1995)
- Pure Instinct (1996)
- Big City Nights (Compilation) (1998)
- Eye II Eye (1999)
- Moment of Glory (with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) (2000)
- Acoustica (2001)
- Unbreakable (2004)
- Humanity: Hour 1 (2007)
- Sting in the Tail (2010)
- Comeblack (2011)
- MTV Unplugged – Live in Athens (2013)
- Return to Forever (2015)
- Rock Believer (2022)
- The Albums Ranked Worst to First