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3.70 | 33 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1976

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Pictured Life (3:25)
2. Catch Your Train (3:38)
3. In Your Park (3:45)
4. Backstage Queen (3:13)
5. Virgin Killer (3:44)
6. Hell-Cat (2:58)
7. Crying Days (4:40)
8. Polar Nights (5:08)
9. Yellow Raven (5:00)

Total Time 35:35


- Klaus Meine / lead vocals
- Ulrich Roth / lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals
- Rudolf Schenker / rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Francis Buchholz / bass, backing vocals
- Rudy Lenners / drums, percussion

- Achim Kirschning / synthesizer, keyboards

About this release

RCA, 21 November 1976

Thanks to Pekka, Lynx33, 666sharon666, Vim Fuego for the updates


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There’re no lead in sound effects, no acoustic intros, or any willy-nillying to the beginning of this album. The first song, “Pictured Life” just kicks off the album with a melodic hard rock song that features Uli Jon Roth’s lead melody. The guitar sound is high toned but backed with the bass of Francis Buchholz it takes on a heavier sound. Someone out there called this song a stand out track in the Scorpions catalogue.

For me though, the next track, “Catch Your Train” is even more exciting, erupting from the album with a sustained guitar note by Roth and slashing chords by Michael Schenker, then a flurry of notes off Roth’s fretboard. When Kirk Hammett appeared alongside Roth on Eddie Trunk’s “That Metal Show”, Hammett stated how that song, with its pyrotechnic lead guitar work, had inspired him as a young teenager. The song is hurried and powerful.

“Walk in Your Park” is an early power ballad but seemingly loud in the loud parts though quite gentle in the softer moments. “Backstage Queen” a good but typical rocker.

And then there’s the title track. “Virgin Killer” was inspired by KISS and the lyrics written by Roth are about how Time is the stealer of innocence. The album cover art was decided by the record company and it featured a nude ten-year-old girl posing seductively with her genitalia obscured by a crack in the glass supposedly covering the photograph. Though no one in the band considered this as promoting child pornography at the time, the album received serious criticism in the U.K. and the U.S. and had to be sold in a black cover in some countries whereas for other countries the cover photo was replaced with one of the band. Indeed the copy I had on cassette in Canada in the eighties was the band version. When Wikipedia included an article about the album using the original album art, protests and complaints created a case against Wikipedia using what many deemed as an image promoting child pornography and pedophilia. The FBI became involved although in the end no American laws were found to have been violated.

Side two of the album features two tracks with Roth on lead vocals, “Hell Cat” and “Polar Nights”. Both of these are stand out tracks because Roth’s deep love for Jimi Hendrix can be heard in the guitar riffs. Not the best choice for a lead vocalist, Roth would eventually leave the Scorpions and start his own band, Electric Sun and take the lead vocal duties.

Other tracks on side two include “Crying Time”, which to me still carries a bit of the psychedelic mood that was on early Scorpions recordings, and another slower, ballad type of song, “The Yellow Raven” which is very soft and delicate until the powerful, hard rock ending.

This album sees for a brief time the Roth-era Scorpions really coming into their sound. The previous two albums were each quite distinct: “Fly to the Rainbow” being basically Roth’s band, Dawn Road, writing material with Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine that still had some progressive tendencies, and “In Trance” the first step toward writing shorter hard rock sounds with producer Dieter Dierks. While both of these older albums have some strengths and weaknesses, I see “Virgin Killer” along with “Taken by Force” as two excellent albums featuring some seminal hard rock and early metal performances with Roth’s guitar work standing out. According to Wikipedia, at least three songs from this album have been covered by modern metal bands. As this album seems to be much appreciated in the metal music world, I feel vindicated for loving it in spite of the fact that among my friends in junior high school, I was the only one who liked Uli Jon Roth-era Scorpions.
Scorpions had found their sound and formula on the preceding "In Trance". The only challenge left to take was to get the quality of the songs up to snuff. This album partially delivers that, offering plenty of hooks, splendid solos and boasting Klaus Meine's grown confidence as a lead singer

With "Pictured Life" and "Catch Your Train", the album kicks off with two solid and tight rockers. Also the ballads are pleasant this time, such as "In Your Park", which is nice, mellow, melodic, and even slightly hippie; and certainly much more charming then their big 80s ballads. The rock'n'rolla of the ensuing "Backstage Queen" is rather forgettable. The title track is quite fun and wild but shouldn't be taken very seriously, the same goes for "Hell Cat". The three remaining tracks are more heavy-weight and serious again, "Crying Days" is a beautiful bluesy ballad with majestic lead guitars, one of their best. One more rocker follows before they go out with another tasty ballad.

A very nice album overall, one of their best.

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