Scorpions - Humanity - Hour 1
Sony Music
Melodic Hard Rock
12 songs (49'07)
Release year: 2007
Scorpions, Sony Music
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
With the Unbreakable album in 2004, we saw a fine return to form for this veteran band. It wasn't a classic Scorpions album in the sense of Blackout, Lovedrive or Love At First Sting, but it was a solid effort, highlighted by the band focusing on what they do best; producing unique and very high quality melodic hard rock that has enough of a metal "tinge" to draw in fans from both genres. Feeling the need to raise the bar even higher and put this band back on the hard rock road map, Scorpions enlisted the services of veteran songwriter/producer Desmond Child, who has previously worked with artists like Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, as a collaborator during the writing process for this new album Humanity - Hour 1. The result is a very melodic and catchy album that although is a very enjoyable one for the most part, is a little short on some serious kick-ass rockers in true Scorpions fashion. Humanity - Hour 1 is not a concept album but has underlying themes that force us to take a look at ourselves as the human race and take stock in what we have done right and wrong in our comparatively short time on this planet and what prospects the future holds for us. This album has been available in Europe and other parts of the world since June but has just been released in North America as of last week.

As well as beefing up the melodic aspects of their sound, Humanity - Hour 1 also sees a strong infusion of more modern hard rock aspects such as drop D, and C tunings as well as the Sabbathy C# tunings and are used prominently on tracks such as the album opener Hour 1, a plodding and heavy tune that is a great mix of melody and thunderous heavy riffing. The alternate tunings are also used on 321, a very "superficial" and simple track that's nothing more than a "bait" track to get the crowd up and singing along. We Will Rise Again also uses de-tuned heavy guitar segments yet in this case, are mixed in with quiet and melodic sections all rounded off with a superb chorus section. The Cross, complete with its modern tunings as well, also features a guest appearance by Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins.

Despite the overall laid back and more mellow aspects of this album as a whole, there are some outstanding tracks with great catchy choruses and a wonderful sense of melody in true Scorpions form. The Game Of Life uses a variation on the Rock You Like A Hurricane main riff and the result is a modern influenced yet solid overall Scorpions track with an amazing vocal delivery by Klaus Meine. The use of piano with Klaus' voice and the dramatic flair of the verses and choruses to The Future Never Dies really brings classic Queen to mind. The song builds into a huge power ballad with the orchestration and expressive lead guitar work by Mattias Jabs "completing" this track very nicely. Besides the previously mentioned track 321, another rather simple yet catchy rocker is You're Lovin' Me To Death. Probably the one single track that most resembles Scorpions material from days gone by, this riff driven number has a solid and memorable chorus and would definitely come off great in a live situation.

Other mentionable tracks include the album closer, Humanity. Orchestrated and mixed with clean guitar and heavy guitar passages for the chorus sections, this track has the feel of the classic Still Loving You but a more ominous overall tone. Other tracks like Love Will Keep Us Alive, Your Last Song and Love Is War are largely acoustic based and are also the ones where the band strays quite far from the usual Scorpions sound. These are the sorts of tracks that bear the fruits of a Desmond Child influence. There's nothing wrong with these songs, it's just that they're all grouped together in the last half of the album and really diffuse the energy of the album up to this point.

What this album needs is more of the beefy power chords that used to be such a staple of any Scorpions track. From a melodic standpoint and in an overall analysis of the choruses and vocal performances by Klaus Meine, this album is some of the best work since Crazy World back in the early 90's. Musically however, there are few memorable riffs, very few shredding Mattias Jabs guitar solos and the whole guitar tone sounds very different than any Scorpions album to date. If they had combined the very high quality melodic sense with a more heavier and typical Scorpions sound, I truly believe that we may have had another classic on our hands here. As it is, this collaboration with Desmond Child has worked to infuse a much stronger sense of melody into the band's sound and he does a great job of getting a truly amazing vocal performance from Klaus Meine, but at the expense of some of the elements of their sound that made them such a unique and great band to begin with. This one's surely going to divide the fans.... Some will appreciate it for what it is and others will pan it for being too different or too mellow. Either way, in my mind, there's enough solid material here to recommend it especially if you're a fan of great melodic hard rock.

Killing Songs :
Hour 1, The Game Of Life, You're Lovin' Me To Death, The Cross and Humanity
Marty quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Scorpions that we have reviewed:
Scorpions - Sting In The Tail reviewed by Marty and quoted 90 / 100
Scorpions - Unbreakable reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
Scorpions - Moment Of Glory - DVD reviewed by Danny and quoted no quote
Scorpions - Acoustica reviewed by Sin and quoted no quote
Scorpions - Moment Of Glory (with the Berliner Philarmoniker) reviewed by Chris and quoted no quotes
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