We are now on to the 15th Studio album from the Scorpions called ‘Unbreakable’. It had been 5 years since their last studio album, ‘Eye II Eye’, which was not a success. The band had some success with their live albums ‘Moment of Glory’ and ‘Acoustica’ and after some touring, the guys were ready to go at it again. They went to the studio in late March or early April and recorded 16 demos. Not a bad start…but…they scrapped every single one and started over. They tried again in June 2003 and nothing much from that one either. Finally after another short tour, they went back in to the studio a third time in September 2003 and did another 20 songs and finally they felt they could pull an album from those tracks.
They shopped for a producer and they had a number of people on the list that they sent the demos to in hopes of hiring a producer. They wooed Bob Rock, Max Martin, Rick Parasher, Erwin Musper and even old time producer Dieter Dierks. In the end they ended up using Erwin Musper and he did a pretty good job. But that wasn’t all they were shopping for as they also needed a bass player. The courted Jeff Pilson (Dokken) and Jimmy Bain (Rainbow/Dio), but they wound up with Paweł Mąciwoda who was able to play on about 10 of the 13 tracks.
After recording from October 2003 to January 2004, the album was finally complete. It saw the light of day on May 3, 2004 and I have to say after the last two albums were a departure from what we expect from Scorpions, this one brought the band back to form. They brought back the heavy riffs, the great bombastic choruses and even modernized it all a little. This is the album that reminded me that Scorpions still had the goods to deliver what the fans like best. Solid guitar rock. I think a lot of what I like about this one is due to the fact of there was so much I didn’t like about the last two. This probably elevates this one a little as a result, but still so much goodness.
It all starts with the killer opening track “New Generation” which starts out with a slow build that keeps getting grander as you go and then the song really kicks in slamming it home. The hypnotic guitar riff is stellar and the song sounds so modern yet so like classic Scorpions at the same time. A brilliant track that reminds a lot of the opening tracks from a lot of bands in the 80’s as it has that grand feel and runs close to 6 minutes. Love it!!
Then we get the uptempo rocker “Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em” which to me feels like early Scorps maybe from the ‘Taken By Force’ era. It sounds a little gritty, a little dirty and I feel that Scott Stapp might have stolen that guitar tone for his solo albums. A catchy chorus, a driving beat, a great guitar solo and a wailing Klaus is all you need and this song has all of that and more.
One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Deep and Dark”. The song is moody, dark and at times really heavy. There is a background vocal that reminds me of Def Leppard, but the song is all Scorpions. Klaus sings in an almost loud whisper before really letting let loose on the chorus. I love the groove on this one and the riff is pretty cool too. The song sticks with me long after its over which is a good thing.
“Borderline” opens with some crazy percussion and then the drum plays a heavy beat throughout giving the songs a driving force forward. There is some more great guitar work and the chorus is full of harmonies and it some great melodies to offset the heaviness. The song doesn’t blow me away, but it has it’s moments though.
“Blood Too Hot” explodes with a rip-roaring riff and a snare drum that is pounding away. The song is melodic and it’s quick tempo feels like you are racing down the road at break-neck speed. Mathias slays on the solo and gives us one of the better ones on the album. More proof that any pop rock or whatever they were doing with their last two albums was long gone.
Then they go in to the first of a few ballads and this one is the best in my opinion. “Maybe I Maybe You” gives us that soft, emotive vocal that Klaus has done so many times before and I am all for having it. It opens tenderly with a piano and builds throughout for the payoff in the choruses as they get more intense each time. It is Klaus’ best vocal performance on the album as his vocals really do soar and with the music it is all so beautiful. It feels like there is an orchestration accompanying the piano which adds to the drama and the intensity that keeps growing. The band kicks in all heavy after about 2 1/2 minutes and the intensity grows even more and that ballad is now full on power. Really killer song.
“Someday is Now” brings back the fun rocker and the song races along and feels like the band is having a lot of fun with this one. The energy in the song is bright and sunny and has a few glam elements that make you get caught up in the excitement of the song and you start singing along.
With “My City My Town” they go back to a heavier guitar tone and slow down the pacing a little. The chorus is catchy and doesn’t feel as serious as the verses. It has a lighter feel to it, more joyful while the verses feel darker. It is a strange dichotomy and yet it works.
Back to the ballads with “Through My Eyes” and this one takes me back. It feels a little like “No One Like You” with its structuring while also sounding more like from the ‘Virgin Killer’ era. It isn’t as breathy as “Maybe I Maybe You” as it isn’t as soft. This one packs a more powerful punch on the chorus as the riffs get louder, the bass and drums turn up a notch and then all goes softer for the verses. It isn’t a bad track, but I don’t like it as much as the earlier ballad.
“Can You Feel It” starts out with the chorus it sounds like they’ve put the cart before the horse. And to top it off, I find the chorus a little annoying. There is something about the energy on this that irritates me. The vocals are too layered with Klaus upon Klaus upon Klaus. I don’t know, skip it is all I can do to save myself as I can’t feel it.
Another dark, heavy riff comes at you then another little quick showboat riff comes in and we are back to what I am digging about this album. The harder edge songs really do it for me. “This Time” does have some great guitars but that is about it. Not sure I like the structuring of the verses and the chorus is a little weak. It isn’t as memorable and feels like it is missing something…I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t there. The guitars are king though here.
“She Said” is the final ballad and it is on the softer side and the guitar tone on this one sounds familiar, but doesn’t sound like Scorpions, maybe more Clapton then Jabs. The song feels more Michael Bolton then Scorpions and that doesn’t sit well with me (but I do like Bolton). This one falls flat and cheesy and is too much for me.
They end the album with not a finished song, but a leftover demo called “Remember the Good Times”. The Retro Garage Mix is actually code for demo. They ended up liking the demo better than the studio finished version so they went with it. I do love the rawness of it as the song does completely rock out. A party song, almost anthemic and to be honest it feels like a Summer song. The lyrics look back at all the good things throughout the years. I find this one to be really fun and enjoyable. A great way to go out with remembering so many good times.
If you stick the CD in your computer there is a cool enhanced portion of the album that gives you a video message from the band, a photo gallery and even a band biography. I don’t play mine on my computer as my stereo system is too good to waste a listen there. It gets played in the CD player with the volume turned up pretty damn loud.
- New Generation – Keeper
- Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em – Keeper
- Deep and Dark – Keeper
- Borderline – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Blood Too Hot – Keeper
- Maybe I Maybe You – Keeper
- Someday is Now – Keeper
- My City My Town – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Through My Eyes – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Can You Feel It – Delete
- This Time – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- She Said – Delete
- Remember the Good Times (Retro Garage Mix) – Keeper
The Track Score is 9 out of 13 or 69%. The album starts off really strong as the front half is way better than the back half. I think a lot of this is a case of too many songs. Streamline this down to 10 songs and you have a smash hit. However, the extra bloated weight does weigh it down for me. I’m glad to see the band get back to form and remember what they are all about by bringing back the rock. Let me tell you, they definitely brought it with this one. I really dug “New Generation”, “Deep and Dark” and the ballad “Maybe I Maybe You” is one of my favorites from the band. But too much dead weight on this one brings the score down. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as I do like this one a lot, just should’ve been shorter.
NEXT UP: ‘HUMANITY: HOUR 1’ (2007)
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)
- Bad for Good: The Very Best Of Scorpions (2002)
- 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
11 thoughts on “Scorpions – ‘Unbreakable’ (2004) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)”
This is one of a few that I’ve either never heard or barely skimmed through, they ran me off for awhile after the few prior albums. It does seem like there’s some stuff worth checking out here.
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Some good stuff here but not the best overall. Still hadn’t found their groove again but heading in the right direction.
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Still poor overall from my perspective.
New Generation and Deep and Dark showed signs of life.
And they lead nicely into their next album.. Humanity Hour I
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They were starting to find themselves again but signs of life with this one. And Humanity is where I jumped back on board.
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Good stuff man….I saw this album but I never got onboard until I became a Scorps Rock Believer again! lol
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