Friday, October 5, 2007

The Scorpions - Crossfire/Deadly Sting Suit

It was the year 1999. Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker wanted to do something special for the turn of the millennium. For years they had thought about applying their music to an orchestra combining hard rock with a classical touch. Unfortunately, in a way, Metallica beat them to the punch, for even though Klaus and Rudolf had thought about such a concept album well before the fated S&M album was recorded, Metallica was much faster at producing a final product. Still there is no reason why two rock legends can’t do something similar.

The Scorpions are the most successful rock group to ever come out of Germany, and easily, believably the greatest. Founding members Rudolf Schenker (lead guitarist) and Klaus Meine (lead vocals) are the only two original members of the band left and as well, as I am sure you could have guessed the visionaries and leaders of what is The Scorpions.

Despite the massive success The Scorpions have had worldwide they are, tragically, mostly known only for their overplayed single “Rock you Like a Hurricane.” Still I am sure most of you have heard many of their other excellent singles such as “Wind of Change,” “No One Like You,” “The Zoo,” and “Can’t Live Without You,” just to name a few. However few of us here in North America realize just how successful and respected The Scorpions are. Not just within Germany but all across Europe and likely other locations across the earth The Scorpions are considered one of the greatest classic rock groups of all time. Usually they are held on accolades comparable to “The Who,” or even “The Doors,” which in my humble opinion is about as great as a compliment as one could ever receive. As far as musical ability and progression of the fine art of rock and roll I feel these standards The Scorpions are held too are perfectly justifiable.

It was the year 1999. The two leaders and visionaries of The Scorpions decide their special project for the new millennium should be their long dreamed project of teaming up with The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and kicking ass.

Honestly I was never very impressed with Metallica’s S&M album. It seemed like a great idea for a great band but when I actually listened to the album after it came out, it seemed like nothing more then a sub-par live album that happened to have some violins added into the mix. I believe a lot of the implementation of the orchestra felt forced and unnatural. There was so much potential with the concept of adding an entire orchestra with classic rock songs, but when it came to putting the parts together I have to say I believe Metallica failed. S&M is still a really good album, because even a sub-par live Metallica album is pretty good.

“The Scorpions live with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Moment of Glory 2000” would be the album to rock my socks off. It may be the single greatest live performance by The Scorpions and they also happened to have a highly skilled and highly talented orchestra with them. They redid classics like “Hurricane 2000,” “Wind of Change,” “Still Loving You,” “Big City Nights,” and “Send Me a Angel,” and for the most part made them better then the originals. There are two original songs for the album “Moment of Glory” which is sadly a pretty bad song no matter how you look at it, and the best song off the album “Deadly Sting Suite.”

“Crossfire” was a little virtually unknown track off their album “Crazy World,” they decided to redo this song in a big way. The simplistic drumbeat of the original version yielded itself perfectly to experimentation. They dropped all the lyrics out of the song reducing Klaus Meine’s role to playing one of the eighty instruments in the song, which somehow I just know didn’t bother him too much. “Crossfire” plays into the track “Deadly Sting Suite,” thus why I have ripped a mp3 of both tracks as one for this month’s review. Where “Crossfire” is an excellent example of taking an old song and making it into something new and mind boggling awesome, “Deadly Sting Suite” is the powerhouse of the album. All of a sudden the trumpets are roaring, the violins are spindling, and the glockenspiel steals the show with fast paced precision. Never thought I would be talking about a glockenspiel in such a manner and frankly I never get bored of talking about it, as funny as this is, this is no joke, that glockenspiel is wicked.

To this day “Crossfire/Deadly Sting Suite” is my favorite instrumental. Rudolf Schenker shows off some of his best work in his career with a rapidly changing tempo and style through out the song. The song builds up gradually, allowing the listener to fully appreciate the implementation of every instrument and the crucial role they play in making the greatest effort off the album. It feels like a journey well worth taken as the song grows towards a complex and extraordinary epoch.

You can’t buy “Moment of Glory” in North America, but HMV will gladly ship a copy in for you, that’s how I got mine. It is one of those albums that is so meaningful to me, not only because it is a phenomenal album that ranks among my ten albums on a deserted island list but it is like a diamond that I discovered. No one had any idea The Scorpions did this project here in Canada, just me online one day screwing around, and I found gold among a pile of rocks. Albums like “Moment of Glory” and songs like “Crossfire/Deadly Sting Suite” are why I started to do the monthly music in reviews, so much godly awesome music is out there and someone has to find it. Might as well be me, when I fall in love with something I learn every last detail there is to know, so I make a pretty good musical fanatic. I like it. I consider it an honor.

This month I’ve added several more emails to the monthly music in review mailing list, as I suddenly recall I have more friends then I previously thought. As always if you are one of my new listeners and are dissatisfied with your free service, or simply don’t want a smart-ass brain-lord shoving his opinions, rants, and ravings down your throat every month just let me know and I’ll leave you alone. I’m very negotiable that way.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin “The Brain-Lord” Kelly