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Scanner Scantropolis

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Tuesday, July 2, 2002 @ 12:08 AM


(Massacre)

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The press info this CD here was attached to said that it was the fifth album by the "German premier metal band from Gelsenkirchen." Yup -- Gelsenkirchen: Germany's centre of 'premier' metal. I mean, it's after all Scanner. Who needs Blind Guardian (Krefeld), Kreator (Essen) or even Helloween (Hamburg), not to mention U.D.O. (no idea...) when you can get the 'premier' thing from Gelsenkirchen? And, of course, everybody knows where Gelsenkirchen is and what monuments of metal it has given us, don't they? So, Scantropolis is the fifth release then. Apparently, the band around guitarist and producer A.J. Julius wrote "metal history" (!) with their first four albums. "True classics," the press info says. And that Scanner, now with Lisa Croft on vocals, "started with the first wave of German Metal Bands [sic]", i.e. with Helloween, Grave Digger and Running Wild. The funny thing is that I've never heard of Scanner before, so I reckon there's a giant gap in my appreciation of German heavy metal history to fill.

So expectations are high and you are waiting for the revelation of 'premier' metal from Gelsenkirchen, Germany when you put the CD with shaky hands into the CD player for the first time. And then -- bang! -- the cruel reality hits you and you realise that the album is actually -- to be blunt -- atrociously boring. Sorry, I know it hurts, but that's how it is. Fallen victim to PR. Once again. There's a lesson to learn.

And yes, I've given the album more than just one chance to reveal some 'premier' metal from Gelsenkirchen as promised in the info, but all I've got so far is an average band with an average singer who play average songs that go nowhere and don't even attempt to rock. Actually, less than average. And it's not that their singer is a woman -- no, no, no! No sexist motivation. It's just that the album sucks.

I mean, to me its an endless repetition of the same old riffs hovering above sometimes massive keyboard layers, predictable chord progressions, cheesy vocal lines and unnecessary background vocals. And then the singer... If I've ever heard a singer who is really not metal, it must be this one. No power, nothing really characteristic, struggling with the high notes and simply un-metal. Actually, she starts getting on my nerves right in the middle of the fourth track ("Turn Of The Tide"), an otherwise a sluggish mid-tempo number. I still prefer my 10-year-old niece having a go with top-ten numbers.

I don't know, I find nothing exciting or even remarkable on this CD -- no really good playing, no good songs, no good performance. I'm not sure if I've ever used the skip button my CD player so often for one CD. Including a live version of the opening "Till The Ferryman Dies," there are 10 tracks on Scantropolis and the average number of times I press skip while listening to the record must be about nine. Especially appalling: track 6 ("Engel Brecht") in German.

Conclusion: It's just from Gelsenkirchen. If you want classic German metal, go for Helloween. Or Blind Guardian. Or Kreator. Don't buy this CD.

* (for trying)


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