On February 24, 2022 "Scorpions" released its 19th album "Rock Believer".
This is the Scorpions' first studio album since "Return to Forever"ת released in 2015. It is also their first with drummer Mikkey Dee (formerly King Diamond and "Motorhead"), who joined the band in 2016, following Lemmy's death and the breakup of his band.
After the release of "Return to Forever", the band went on a long tour that was also meant to mark the band's 50th-anniversary celebrations. About three months before the tour ended, in December 2016, drummer James Kottak was fired from the band and Mikkey Dee was officially announced as his replacement.
After the addition of Mikkey Dee, the tour continued for another three years, which delayed any plans to record a new album. The writing of the material for the album began in the middle of 2019, but then came Covid-19.
Amid the Covid-19 lockdowns, in February 2020, the band manages to release the single "Sign Of Hope", a ballad that works on it has been completed especially to bring a message of hope due to the world crises (and is not included in the album).
However, following the Covid-19 lockdowns, the band was unable to return to the studio and continue work on the new album. They already had quite a few finished songs just waiting to be recorded, but the situation did not allow them to get to Los Angeles, where they began working with producer Greg Fidelman, or alternatively the producer's arrival in Germany, to finish work on the album.
Eventually, the band decided to "go back to roots" and recorded the album at the "Peppermint Park" studios, in their hometown of Hanover, Germany. They gave up on producer Greg Fidelman, who was supposed to produce the album in Los Angeles, and chose to produce it close to home along with Hans-Martin Buff.
The opening song "Gas in the Tank" written by Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker, is a statement of intent by the band, with words that leave no room for doubt, "King of the Riffs is back in town" and "Scorpions" is back to "sting" you:
"Pour hammer riffs all over me
A little dirty, a little cheap
Move your fingers up and down the fret
The V is flyin' without a net
Black me in and black me out
The king of riffs is back in town
Who is up for a deadly sting?
Black me out and black me in"
The "fuel in the tank" of "Scorpions" from the opening track, manages to keep the album on the highway throughout.
There are moments when the band, and especially Mikkey Dee, "press the pedal to the metal", like with "Roots in My Boots", "Knock 'em Dead", "When I Lay My Bones to Rest" or "Hot and Cold". There are times they shift down the gear and go into cruise mode, like with the theme song "Rock Believer" or "Seventh Sun" or even sliding through traffic jams like with the ending ballad "When You Know (Where You Come From)". There are also moments when they get off the highway looking for scenic views, as with "Shining of Your Soul", which corresponds with the reggae of "Is There Anybody There" from the album "Lovedrive", which was released just today in 1979.
Four singles have been released from the album so far, the first of which "Peacemaker", which was released on November 4, 2021. A track that is full of the classic "Scorpions", as we know it. Hot riffs by Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs, a groovy and catchy chorus, and powerful Klaus Meine vocals whose voice simply refuses to age.
The lyrics were written by Klaus Meine and are steeped in, among other things, the Covid-19 events that made him think that so many people were dying around, whether from the virus, whether from destructive wars, or other illogical crimes and it made him feel like the "undertaker" had to work overtime To "deliver the goods" and that it was time for the "peacemaker" to rule.
The 11-song album was also released in a limited deluxe edition, with five more songs, including an acoustic rendition of the song "When You Know (Where You Come From)" and the excellent track "Crossing Borders".