Sleaze-Rockers Bow Out and Keel Over

Scorpions

Sting in the Tail

Sony BMG

After 26 years of ripping off panties with “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” Sting in the Tail is the last album for German melody-metalists Scorpions. Sting follows their familiar two-step formula of sexed-up, guitar-driven anthems followed by melancholy power ballads, but this mediocre release won’t earn them an encore.

Opener “Raised on Rock” reduces the band to a 4/4 beat-machine trying for garage-rock brashness, and vocalist Klaus Meine’s trips over himself trying for vocal complexity. Despite attempts at resurrecting bad-boy glory nostalgia, the band never transcends Bon Jovi wanna-sleaze. As for the power ballads, well, there’s only so much you can do with lyrics strung together via madlib.

Then the frantic pace of “Rock Zone” hits like a tsunami, with a chorus that catches the playing-for-beer rawness that the Scorps have been chasing. Follow that with the distant synths of power ballad “Lorelei,” and it’s a one-two punch. Even if the switch from guitar verse to stirring chorus is predictable, Meine’s smooth tenor sets the track soaring.

It’s only a flash flood of quality, though. The rest of Sting is crammed with trying-too-hard lyrics written to fit predictable rhyme schemes. After years of hitting with hurricane force, the Scorpions appear to have fizzled into a bunch of hot air.

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