Scorpions

Unbreakable

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The Scorpions' latest studio outing comes on the heels of their triple-disc career retrospective, Box of Scorpions. For fans who view that box set's third disc -- mostly material from the mid- to late '90s -- as a meandering collection of wince-inducing ballads and orchestral experiments gone awry, their latest offering should come as a huge relief. Their celebrated talents for big licks, bigger choruses, and simple lyrics about world unification and "rocking you" are remarkably well executed on Unbreakable, their 20th studio album. The production strikes a winning balance between mid-'80s excess and tight nu-metal guitar, resulting in one of the heavier records they've done in quite some time. Singer Klaus Meine's voice has aged gracefully, retaining the raucous snarl that fueled hits like "No One Like You," while attaining a rich, fully rounded cadence on the beautiful new ballad "Maybe I Maybe You." Unbreakable was recorded live in the studio, and it shows on the brutal standouts "Love 'Em or Leave 'Em" and "Borderline" -- the latter being one of the more inventive and memorable of their career. The record acts as a bridge between hard rock generations, and is perhaps the first step in handing over their legacy to the myriad of young bands that have basked in the veteran group's light for so long, but if they continue to make records as lively and skilled as this, that transfer could be a long time coming.

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