SCORPIONS – Face The Heat [Japan Ltd SHM-CD mini LP remastered +4] Out Of Print
This one is a request; SCORPIONS‘ “Face The Heat [Japan Ltd SHM-CD mini LP remastered]”, now out of print. In 2015, the band released several of their albums for its ’50th band anniversary’, freshly remastered (HERE). But “Face The Heat” wasn’t part of the campaign.
So here it is, featuring the latest remastering and pressed on high quality SHM-CD including two bonus tracks. To make it complete, there’s as extra the European and the North American original release bonus tracks.
Previous Scorpions album Crazy World was a huge hit, but before Keith Olsen produced it, Scorpions had approached Canada’s Bruce Fairbairn. Pleased with his work on their Who cover “I Can’t Explain”, Scorpions prepared to convene in Vancouver with the producer.
They were disappointed when Bruce changed his mind at the last minute when forced to choose between the new Scorpions and AC/DC projects. Fairbairn chose AC/DC, and the result was the five times platinum (US) Razors Edge album.
Since Crazy World ended up selling two million in the US and another five million worldwide, I’m sure there were no hard feelings between the two parties when they finally did hook up together on the followup album, “Face the Heat”.
This album was the Scorpions’ first since 1972 without bassist Francis Buchholz. Replacing him was five-stringer Ralph Rieckermann who ended up spending almost a decade with the Scorpions. Rieckermann was a very different player and added new elements such as slapped bass.
The first single “Alien Nation” rocks, a menacing, metallic riff ushered in a tune with some slamming drums (thank you Herman Rarebell), and that ultra-low fifth string on the bass guitar. The year was 1993 and a heavy groove was exactly what the doctor ordered.
“No Pain No Gain” exhibits the Scorpions’ knack for naff song titles. Thankfully it too is a grinding hard rock groove, showing off Matthias Jabs’ talkbox skills on the guitar. With the Scorpions post-Schenker and post-Roth, you have to expect a certain amount of boneheaded metal. I think these guys genuinely love givin’ er on that trademark, simple sound. I believe they like playing this kind of thing with earnest, so good on them.
Three songs in and “Someone to Touch” is another great little Scorpions rocker. This speedy one won’t tax your brain cells in the lyrical department, but you will find yourself singing along to the chorus without realizing it. The chorus bears the stamp of Fairbairn with its answering lines.
Then there’s the Scorps trademark power ballad “Under the Same Sun”, following it by firing off another rocker called “Unholy Alliance”, another knockout with a great chorus. This helps lessen the impact of the next ballad, “Woman”.
“Woman” is very different from “Under the Same Sun”, being dark and mournful. Another success.
Next are effective rockers in “Hate To Be Nice”, “Taxman Woman”, “Ship of Fools”, and “Nightmare Avenue”. Jabs sports a nice fatbody jazz guitar solo on “Hate To Be Nice”, a trick that Fairbairn later encouraged Eddie Van Halen to use on his band’s next album, Balance.
The last listed track on the domestic CD is “Lonely Nights”, another really good ballad. Who cares that they just copied the way they ended Crazy World, with a slow dark ballad like ‘Send Me An Angel’?
The Japanese bonus tracks are midtempo numbers. I dig Rieckermann’s fretless bass on “Kami O Shin Jiru” (dedicated to Asian fans), while “Daddy’s Girl” features interesting lyrics against child abuse.
The extra bonus are “Destiny (European Bonus Track)”, while the US and Canadian versions of the album have a hidden bonus track… an Elvis Presley’s cover! “His Latest Flame” is a pleasant surprise.
Way back in ’89, the Scorps and Fairbairn discussed recording an Elvis cover, and they did it here. The trombone and trumpets are the perfect added touch. I’m sure Scorpions grew up listening to a lot of Elvis Presley records, and this version is faultless. It’s gleeful and authentic sounding despite the fact that it’s the Scorpions!
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01 – Alien Nation
02 – No Pain No Gain
03 – Someone To Touch
04 – Under The Same Sun
05 – Unholy Alliance
06 – Woman
07 – Hate To Be Nice
08 – Taxman Woman
09 – Ship Of Fools
10 – Nightmare Avenue
11 – Lonely Nights
12 – Kami O Shin Jiru (Japan Bonus Track)
13 – Daddy’s Girl (Japan Bonus Track)
14 – Destiny (European Bonus Track)
15 – His Latest Flame (USA Bonus Track)
Klaus Meine – lead vocals
Matthias Jabs – lead guitar, backing vocals
Rudolf Schenker – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Ralph Rieckermann – bass, backing vocals
Herman Rarebell – drums, percussion, backing vocals
John Webster, Luke Herzog – keyboards
Helen Donath – vocals on 9
Rhian Gittins – girl’s voice on 10
Bruce Fairbairn, Mark Hudson – backing vocals on 4
Paul Laine, Mark LaFrance – backing vocals
Out Of Print