Box of Scorpions

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The average listener with only a passing interest in heavy metal might be surprised that the Scorpions had been recording since 1972 -- they actually formed in 1965 -- as their success in the United States didn't really begin until the release of 1982's Blackout. Hip-O's Box of Scorpions is the first U.S.-released box set from the veteran German rockers to sample from their entire 30-year career. Disc one pays keen attention to their progressive rock tendencies in the '70s with guitarist Uli Jon Roth. It opens with "I'm Going Mad," the leadoff cut from their debut 1972 album, Lonesome Crow, a meandering, psychedelic wish list of a record that begs for comparisons to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and proceeds through to 1978's Taken by Force -- the 96k/24-bit digital remastering does wonders for these early tracks, especially on the rhythm section. Disc two is the one that delivers the goods, as it contains pretty much every hit the band ever had -- the '80s were good to the Scorpions, spawning career solidifying smashes like "No One Like You," "Rock You Like a Hurricane," and the most powerful "power ballad" ever, "Still Loving You." The third disc collects material from the '90s and beyond, including the gentle whistling of Klaus Meine on the German reunification anthem "Winds of Change" and an unintentionally hilarious orchestral Berlin Philharmonic version of "Rock You Like a Hurricane." The accompanying booklet is a fairly standard "box set" collection of glossy photos, essays, and time lines, but the inclusion of a song-by-song commentary by Meine and guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs adds a nice personal touch, making Box of Scorpions really just a box of memories.

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