Scorpions – ‘Rock Believer’ (2022) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)

A couple years after ‘Return to Forever’ (released in 2015), the band released another greatest hits compilation. Sadly, I don’t have the album in my collection and I need to as there are some new songs and previously unreleased tracks on there. So, instead we jump to the next album which was released 7 years after ‘Return to Forever’ and that is the longest gap between any studio album in their history. The album is “Rock Believer’ and it was released on February 22, 2022 which is the band’s 19th Studio album and it is 50 years after the release of their debut album back in 1972 ‘Lonesome Crow’. Wow, a 50 year career is pretty impressive and they have a lot to show for it.

The album sees the main the band relatively unchanged with one big exception. Gone is James Kottak on drums as he was fired back in 2016. On board now is former Motorhead drummer, Mikkey Dee. This is first studio album with the band. The rest of the crew is still around, Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Matthias Jabs and Pawel Maciwoda. And the band had been hinting at an album for years, but it took awhile to be inspired enough to record. Back in 2019, the writing process started, but a little thing called Covid-19 slowed things down immensely. Plans were to record in Los Angeles with Greg Fidelman, but the Pandemic forced the band to work with the producer remotely using Zoom while the band was in Germany and Greg was not. That didn’t work out well and plans were scrapped. They wound up working with Hans-Martin Buff and produced it themselves.

The album I bought was the Deluxe Edition as it has the most songs. You get the 11 standard album tracks plus 5 bonus tracks. I also was able to get the deluxe edition on vinyl which is usually not the case. It is a beautiful 2-LP set with the gatefold packaging. It is nice to see a Deluxe Edition get a Vinyl release. But, there are actually 3 other tracks available. One Japanese Edition, one bonus track from France and an iTunes bonus track. I need to get those someday. For now, you will have to settle for the 16 Deluxe Edition Tracks so let’s get to the music!

LP 1:

The album kicks off with “Gas in the Tank” and no statement could be more true as this band is still chugging along 50 years after their debut album. It harkens back to the 80’s sound, but still definitely modern. And damn, what a catchy hook. Klaus still sounds like he did back then and that is crazy as no singer from that time can sing like they did, but Klaus isn’t human. The high energy, pedal to the floor song races through and get the juices flowing.

“Roots in My Boots” doesn’t slow things down. The adrenaline rush of sound blasts from the speakers with the riff masters slaying like never before. A double whammy of excitement makes me think we are in for something special with this one…and I wouldn’t be wrong.

Next is “Knock ‘Em Dead” and this one takes a heavier, darker edge, but when it gets to the chorus, it is the same catchy, chorus you could’ve heard back in the 80’s and I’m really okay with that. The band is showing they haven’t lost anything and new member, Mikkey Dee, has the drums pounding away and driving the song forward accompanied by some stellar riffs.

The real gem on the album is the title track, “Rock Believer”. Wow! Take me back to the Blackout era with those riffs. The song is nostalgic, anthemic and every other cliche you could think and it is all that and more. A feel good song that will have the crowds on their feet, phone flashlights in the air, waving their arms back and forth. The melodies of that chorus are stellar and some of the best they’ve done in the last 30 years. Truly the shining light of the album. Standing ovation from me.

After flipping to Side 2, we get “Shining of Your Soul” which is more of a ballad with some reggae flair added to it. Pawel really shines on the bass with this one. Klaus’ vocals have more echo on them than before and the emotion that pours from it is what the song needs.

Not to be outdone, “Seventh Sun” comes in and blows me away. A Van Halen-esque guitar riff opening…I swear it sounds like “Running with the Devil” for a second. But the song never explodes like that one. This one is a little darker, more ominous and freaking incredible in my book. It is a different side of the band and I will take it. The driving bass thumping along, the shrieking riffs and the pounding drums all blend together to make the band sound evil and Klaus welcomes the challenge and slays with the vocals.

“Hot And Cold” returns to the fast-paced rockers. Text book Scorpions and no need to change the blueprint with this one. Solid rock & roll, catchy chorus, great melodies and stellar guitar playing…checks on all fronts.

Next up is “When I Lay My Bones to Rest” and it is strongly influenced by old-school rock & roll. Scorching snares, rocketing riffs and lickety-split lyrics race through at break-neck speed. Wham, Bam, Thank you Mam!!

LP 2:

The Deluxe LP changes the track order a little and first up on LP 2 Side C is one of the bonus tracks with “Crossing Borders”. A mid-tempo track that has the guitars letting out a crazy wail, a driving rhythm section and a Klaus that still sounds like a kid. I love the bluesy vibe to it as well. The song fits in the album just fine and hard to believe this was held off for use as a bonus track.

Next up is the first single, “Peacemaker” and it is short and sweet and under 3 minutes and Pawel’s only co-write on the album. The song has a killer groove and is another speedy track that races through and is over before you know it. Simple, straight-ahead rock & roll…hard and heavy and just the way I like it.

“Call of the Wild” tones things down, but it is still heavy. Here they show their Beatles influence and there is a rather spectacular groove that is rich and textured and downright awesome. The guitars on this one with the solo and the stellar work as the song plays out, makes this one something to be heard.

The final track of the standard album is “When You Know (Where You Come From)”. And surprise, surprise, it is a ballad. I think they close almost every album with a ballad. This one is in the same vein as “Winds of Change”, “Still Loving You”, you name it. It has the beautiful melodies, the emotive, soft vocals from Klaus and the gently crying riffs. Is it good? Well, yeah of course it is. But in my opinion it has been done to death by them..

The final side of the set are all bonus tracks. First up is “Shoot For Your Heart” and it sounds just like the two opening tracks with that paint by number feel, that drives hard and fast and just feels fantastic. They already had too many songs like this, but who cares, we love this type of Scorpions song. It feels comfortable and fun and that is all I want.

Next is “When Tomorrow Comes”. A more experimental piece overall, but the riffs could’ve come from “Love at First Sting”. A fast-paced, heavy rocker, that sees Klaus do some spoken lyrics that sound like they are coming over a loudspeaker. The song doesn’t fit the vibe of the album, but still a decent enough track that has some interesting elements.

Then we get “Unleash the Beast”, with more spoken styled lyrics from Klaus and another driving beat. The chorus brings it home as it is catchy, more upbeat. The guitars sound different here with some different styles used, but the song overall doesn’t work perfectly for the album. Now as a bonus track, it isn’t too bad.

Lastly, is an acoustic version of the ballad “When You Know (Where You Come From)”….no wasn’t the original one mostly acoustic? Not sure this was really necessary…so skip for me as I get enough of this song with the album track.

Track Listing:

  1. Gas in the Tank – Keeper
  2. Roots in My Boots – Keeper
  3. Knock ’em Dead – Keeper
  4. Rock Believer – Keeper
  5. Shining Of Your Soul – Keeper
  6. Seventh Sun – Keeper
  7. Hot And Cold – Keeper
  8. When I Lay My Bones to Rest – Keeper
  9. Peacemaker – Keeper
  10. Call of the Wild – Keeper
  11. When You Know (Where You Come From) – Delete
  12. Shoot for Your Heart (Deluxe Edition) – Keeper
  13. When Tomorrow Comes (Deluxe Edition) – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  14. Unleash the Beast (Deluxe Edition) – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  15. Crossing Borders (Deluxe Edition) – Keeper
  16. When You Know (What You Come From) (Acoustic Version – Deluxe Edition) – Delete

The Track Score is 13 out of 16 or 81%.  All I can say is Wow!! This was a totally unexpected gem from Scorpions.  Their last set of albums have been good with some songs that showed they still had some gas in the tank, but I never expected an album full of stellar tracks that kept my interest from beginning to end (with the exception of the last ballad). With songs as strong as “Rock Believer” and “Seventh Sun”, this album really stands out. Then with the typical great Scorpions rockers like “Gas in the Tank”, “Roots in My Boots” and “Peacemaker”, I was heaven with this album.  My Overall Score is a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars. If this turns out to be their last album…they are going out with a bang!!

NEXT UP: THE ALBUMS RANKED WORST TO FIRST

THE SCORPIONS COLLECTION SERIES:

  1. Lonesome Crow (1972)
  2. Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
  3. In Trance (1975)
  4. Virgin Killer (1976)
  5. Taken by Force (1977)
  6. Tokyo Tapes (1978)
  7. Lovedrive (1979)
  8. Best of Scorpions (1979)
  9. Animal Magnetism (1980)
  10. Rock Galaxy (1980) – Bonus Edition
  11. Blackout (1982)
  12. Hot & Heavy (1982)
  13. Love at First Sting (1984)
  14. Still Loving You Maxi Single (1984)
  15. Best of Scorpions Vol. 2 (1984)
  16. Gold Ballads (1984)
  17. World Wide Live (1985)
  18. Savage Amusement (1988)
  19. Rhythm of Love – Single (Box Set) (1988)
  20. Best of Rockers ‘n’ Ballads (1989)
  21. Crazy World (1990)
  22. Crazy World – 4 Track From Crazy World Promo Vinyl (1990)
  23. Tease Me Please Me Promo CD (1990)
  24. Don’t Believe Her Promo CD (1990)
  25. Send Me An Angle Promo CD (1991)
  26. Face the Heat (1993)
  27. Live Bites (1995)
  28. Pure Instinct (1996)
  29. Big City Nights (Compilation) (1998)
  30. Eye II Eye (1999)
  31. Moment of Glory (with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) (2000)
  32. Acoustica (2001)
  33. Bad for Good: The Very Best Of Scorpions (2002)
  34. Unbreakable (2004)
  35. Humanity: Hour 1 (2007)
  36. Sting in the Tail (2010)
  37. Comeblack (2011)
  38. MTV Unplugged in Athens (2013)
  39. Return to Forever (2015)
  40. Rock Believer (2022)
  41. The Albums Ranked Worst to First
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22 thoughts on “Scorpions – ‘Rock Believer’ (2022) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)

  1. Scream for me screamer, for this is the one I had been waiting for!

    Rare thing here, a deluxe with all good songs! Well, arguably.

    This was my album of the summer last summer, and there’s nothing this year that will fill the same hole, at all.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When does it come out? Hopefully in time for the first cottage trip with Jen in May.

        (Cottage trip with whole fam happens in a few weeks but I will choose mom-appropriate music for that drive.)

        Like

  2. Unexpected gem is right John. Solid album for sure as I was onboard with this one right away. Love the throwback sound kinda what VH did on ADKOT release. Cool you scored the deluxe as I had already ordered my copy (single) and than the next day I noticed you could order the deluxe for a few bucks more. lol . Snooze I lose but no biggie I streamed the bonus tracks and as you mentioned they are quite good.
    Stellar write up dude

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’m sad its over. One more post next week and done. I did enjoy this series a lot and I still like them even after spending all this time. A lot of these series I need a serious break from the artist (Soto will be one of them).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Am I the only one who confuses this album with the last Halestorm album? The covers are so similar.

    Something Sebastian Bach said during a show I attended that hits home here – “new music is good”. Scorpions are proof that bands can put out good, even great stuff after their golden years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was an immense album, really just a cut above even the best expectations. It was really nice to see Mikkey land this gig after Motorhead ended and to see the old gang crank out some seriously kick ass music.

    Liked by 1 person

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