I find albums of rerecorded material to be about as hit-or-miss (usually "miss") as cover-song releases. So when "Comeblack" arrived containing both rerecorded SCORPIONS classics and cover songs from several 1960s era acts it was little enthusiasm that I considered the possibility for a review. That lukewarm reception was however balanced somewhat with the respect I have for one of Germany's greatest heavy metal exports, if not the greatest. In the SCORPIONS' own words, as contained in the liner notes, "Comeblack" was result of the excitement felt by the band during its farewell "Sting In The Tail" tour and serves as an "encore" for the diehard fans and "a tribute to legendary bands from the sixties like THE BEATLES and THE ROLLING STONES who inspired us to follow our dreams". Outside of diehard circles "Comeblack" serves little purpose, as enjoyable as it can be at times.
Rerecording parts of a band's back catalogue is always tricky as hell and usually doesn't work very well, The rare exceptions are those cases where the originals were sorely lacking in sound quality or in even rarer cases when a new-era lineup (e.g. EXODUS with "Let There Be Blood") adds so much new blood and firepower to the new version that one can't help but like it. Neither of can be applied to "Comeblack". The fact of the matter is that the original SCORPIONS recordings were of good quality and brought to the fore the crunch of the riffs, the sting of the solos, and the power of Klaus Meine's voice. In fact, albums like "Blackout" and "Love at First Sting" often sounded better than LPs released by many of the SCORPIONS' peers. While it is true that Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen were able to take advantage of far superior technology in beefing up the sound, the versions of songs like "Rhythm Of Love", "No One Like You" and "The Zoo" are robbed of some of the warmth and magic that defined the originals. It's not like I couldn't stomach listening to these versions, all of which are acceptable and sound just fine in a strict sense; I just found no added value, making the effort an unnecessary one.
The covers fare better, if only because the SCORPIONS' sound is so unique and immediately recognizable that no matter how true the band stays to THE ROLLING STONES' "Ruby Tuesday", T.REX's "Children of the Revolution", or THE BEATLES' "Across the Universe", it still comes off more inviting than most would expect from the typical attempt at musical rejuvenation. That does not make the six cover choices essential listening for the average fan, but a good kick most longtime SCORPIONS' followers will get from them. Meine's interpretation of "Ruby Tuesday" is quite enchanting, while the act's rendition of GLORIA JONES' "Tainted Love" (yes, the song existed well before SOFT CELL blasted it out to the world during the 1980s) might appear odd on paper, but ends up sounding surprisingly "right." Regardless, madly in love with these I am not; pleasantly surprised would be a more accurate way of putting it.
That's about the size of "Comeblack", an album consisting of roughly one half updated recordings of perfectly good originals and one-half generally enjoyable cover songs. And unless you are a staunch devotee of the SCORPIONS, none of that that is reason enough to offer payment to a retailer in exchange for the product. Nothing terrible here. Nothing to which much attention should be paid either.
- Scott Alisoglu