Virgin Killer


RCA, 1976

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


For the first several albums of their career, the Scorpions were very much in self-discovery mode. They weren’t quite sure what direction their music should go, and while there were numerous flashes of brilliance that would lead them to superstardom in the ’80s, overall their work was fairly hit or miss.

Virgin Killer, Klaus Meine and company’s fourth outing, pretty much follows this same pattern. Lost in all the controversy surrounding the original album artwork is the fact that this effort was an improvement over their previous album In Trance, but still showcased a band that wasn’t quite sure what to do with their songwriting and overall sound.

If anything, this album is more akin to their sophomore release my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Fly To The Rainbow, in that there is more of a focus on the hard rock aspect of their music. Tracks like “Catch Your Train,” “Backstage Queen” and the title track all have more of a bite to them in terms of the overall sound; it’s the songwriting and mix that ends up sinking these. Meine isn’t quite brought up to the forefront as one might have preferred, and there’s a bit of studio gimmickry thrown onto the band’s sound that makes this seem a bit dated.

In a sense, this is a shame, because this does seem to be where Meine and crew began to find their feet again. Featuring the same lineup that brought us In Trance, it dared to suggest that stability had finally been established in the Scorpions’ camp. (I’ll pause now so long-time fans can stop laughing at that concept.) Ulrich Roth does seem to come into his own with his guitar work—but finds a limitation in terms of his vocals. Why someone else in the group would take over lead singer on two tracks when they had an extremely competent vocalist in Meine is beyond my comprehension. Had Meine been lead throat on “Hell Cat” and “Polar Nights,” one believes they’d have been stronger tracks.

All of this said, Virgin Killer is a slight step in the right direction. The Scorpions were still a bit away from truly cracking the American market; that would come three years later. But it does show that, even with still struggling songwriting and not quite the right sound captured on vinyl, they were making use of the lessons they were learning. If anything, this album shows that school was definitely still in session. (You’ll forgive me if I don’t get involved with all the kerfuffle regarding the original album artwork—hell, Wikipedia found themselves in a bind at one point many years ago when they featured it.)

Of the early Scorpions albums I’ve listened to at this stage, Virgin Killer would be a close second to Fly To The Rainbow on the top of my list. It’s worth discovering, if only to get a feel for where their early roots were—but one can’t quite describe it as essential to own.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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