Scorpions - In Trance
On September 17, 1975 "Scorpions" released their third album "In Trance".
Some say that it's the real first "Scorpions" album. It was the first in which the band completely abandoned their "krautrock" and "progressive" styles, that characterized the albums "Lonesome Crow" and "Fly to the Rainbow". The first in which they began to shape their sound with tighter, shorter songs of typical "hard rock" and its first to include the all-too-familiar logo that would accompany them for the next four decades. It is also the band's first album with new producer Dieter Dierks, who would go on to help the band release a long streak of internationally successful albums up until the 1980s. The change in musical style is attributed in no small part to the addition of guitarist Uli Jon Roth, who although participated in the previous album "Fly to the Rainbow", his influence there was minimal and almost imperceptible.
After the recordings of "Lonesome Crow", the band went on tour, during which they served as the warm-up act for the British band "UFO". "UFO" vocalist Phil Mogg was very impressed by Michael Schenker'schenker's's guitar playing and charismatic performance, so he offered him to join the band. Michael agreed and left "Scorpions" in 1973, even before the band started recording "Fly to the Rainbow". This departure proved to be decisive, not only because Michael Schenker developed his sound and guitar playing technic, eventually becoming famous as one of the greatest guitarists in his field, but also because of the addition of Uli Jon Roth into the band, a guitarist who helped shape the sound of "Scorpions" on the following four studio albums and the masterful live album "Tokyo Tapes". Roth, whose style was greatly influenced by Jimi Hendrix, brought power and strength on the one hand and a mystical and classical aura on the other hand, which became the driving force behind the band, together with Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine.
The first album of the new lineup, "Fly To The Rainbow", was released in 1974, when Uli Jon Roth was already part of the band. However, Roth's contribution was limited to writing two songs, only one of them on his own, compared to five songs written by Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine, three of them in collaboration with Michael Schenker, as part of his deal with "Scorpions", before he left them in favor of "UFO".
track of the album "Dark Lady" which Roth wrote. Its lead guitar and brutal riff make "Dark Lady" one of the most aggressive songs recorded by "Scorpions". Roth's vocals during the verses are a stark contrast to Klaus Meine's powerful vocals and chilling screams in the chorus.
Immediately after comes the genius of Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine who wrote the theme song "In Trance". A dark ballad, with a psychedelic tone with strong blasts, and a metallic chorus. It doesn't sound like anything they've recorded up until then and maybe even since. The song was written by Klaus and Rudolph while waiting for the band's performance in a church at Ligneuville in Belgium. The two said that the atmosphere there was unimaginable. The church gave them the inspiration and the special sound to write the song during the sound check before the show. Roth said that at first, he didn't really connect with the song, it sounded too exposed to him, so he also chose to perform a minimalistic solo that sounded to him like a change of tone.
In the third track, we are introduced to the sad ballad "Life's Like a River", which refers to the aging process and life that just passes by like the stream of the river. This song fits well with the rather melancholic line of the album that started with the melody of "In Trance" and will later be reflected in the lyrics of songs like "Living and Dying".
"Scorpions" are known for their amazing ability to combine melancholic and sweet ballads with heavy metal crunch riffs, so that's it, it all started here, in this album, and the outstanding example of this is the musical "swing" we experienced from the beginning of the album and continues with "Top of the Bill". A simple and sweeping riff by Rudolf Schenker with powerful vocals by Klaus Meine, who both wrote the song, and of course a leading and sweeping guitar work by Uli Jon Roth, who produce the very unique "sound staple" of the band.
The musical swing continues with another ballad that seals the first side of the album - "Living and Dying", which as we wrote, is one of the band's most melancholic, both musically and lyrically:
"Nothing really looks pretty and I’ve been alone, I’ve been alone, I’ve been alone
And in my heart many wishes are crying, living and dying"
Although the song was written by Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine, there is no doubt that it would not sound as it is without the amazing guitar playing of Uli Jon Roth, which shapes the general atmosphere of the song.
Did we mention a "musical swing" yet? So this sequence is maintained with "Robot Man" which opens the second side of the album. The song rests on Rudolf Schenker's "crunchy" and somewhat strange riff, on the fast tempo maintained by the stable rhythm section of Rudy Lenners and Francis Buchholz, and on Klaus Meine's "robotic" vocal effect. But even here, the song wouldn't sound the way it is if it weren't for Uli Jon Roth's guitar sentences and licks that add so much to the atmosphere.
The album continues with two songs written exclusively by Uli Jon Roth. The intro of "Evening Wind" reminded us somewhat of that of "White Room" by "Cream", but what comes next is completely different and drowns us in a sea of melancholy with a slow tempo of "Black Sabbath's" Doom, which navigates its way between the great guitar licks and solos of Roth.
The song is followed by the bluesy "Sun in My Hand", which Uli Jon Roth sings based on the melody of the guitar that accompanies his voice, just like his personal mentor Jimi Hendrix whose spirit hovers above the guitar work in the song. Let's be honest, Ruth's vocal abilities aren't amazing and that's probably why they're limited to songs he personally wrote.
We are nearing the end with "Longing for Fire", written by Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine, whose drive reminded us somewhat of "This Is My Song" that the due wrote for the previous album. Note the great bass playing of Francis Buchholz, who does an amazing job here, as well as the mind-blowing solo of Uli Jon Roth.
The musical swing that began with Uli Jon Roth's powerful and heavy "Dark Lady", ends up in a melancholic atmosphere with the instrumental piece "Night Lights", which Roth also wrote. This is without a doubt, one of the best melodic pieces this great guitarist has ever written and a great way to end the album.
"In Trance" was the first album in which "Scorpions" designed their unique sound, and believe us, as excellent as it is, it only got better on the next albums. The album cover included, for the first time, the band's famous logo that accompanies it to this day, but it was the first to draw criticism, all thanks to the image of the cheeky breast which dared to poke out under the model's shirt' aiming directly toward Roth's white Stratocaster guitar. This is the first and not the last "Scorpions" album where the cover will be censored, while in its later editions the "rebellious" tit was blacked out, so that it is no longer visible.