SCORPIONS - New album not the end of the world!
by Martin Popoff

Scorpions are embracing the apocalypse with their new album Humanity Hour 1. Nonetheless, this loosely conceptual collection of songs offers hope through love amidst the bleakness concerning environmental degradation and the deterioration of human decency. More pointedly, the album is based on an original concept by Desmond Child and the cover artist, Liam Carl, revolving around a civil war between human beings and robots. And with comments and interpretation from the band, as well as strictly demarcated songs that seem to not play to the concept, a multi-dimensional experience emerges. On the music side of things, the album is heavy only in measured doses, less the direct rocker than Unbreakable, but way louder than the ill-received Eye II Eye. You've also got to admit that Child and producer James Michael have made the whole thing very commercial, even predictable with respect to chord changes and both lyrical and musical clichˇs. Then again, there are some almost regal vibes, and the production is plush and inviting.

"This was a very, let's say, unusual situation, which is always good, something new, working as a team," begins guitarist Rudolf Schenker (in his endearingly hyper German English), amidst a large and rare North American tour, in support of a record that has sold quite well, despite the problems in the biz.

"After a long career, you really end up doing albums to let the fans know you are still alive - but then nothing else comes out special. In this case it was a different situation. First of all, after Unbreakable, and after all the side-projects we did with Eye II Eye and Moment Of Glory and Acoustica, just to survive the '90s... instead of doing solo projects we did side-projects, and learned about ourselves, and worked with one of the greatest orchestras in the world, which pleased our Asian fans. Doing Acoustica... they had been asking for this kind of stuff for years."

And almost predictably, very little of all that really mattered to fans on this side of the pond. Unbreakable on the other hand... well, the idea of it excited fans, but the execution was not fully to metalhead specifications - it was an album of half measures.

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