Sound — 9
Taken by Force was the Scorpions' 5th studio album released in 1977; the subsequent tour was captured in the live album Tokyo Tapes the following year. This album was to be the last with virtuoso guitarist Uli Jon Roth before he left, citing "musical differences", pointing at his work on He's a Woman - She's a Man, but more on that later. What most people notice about this album is the sound above all else (well you would, they are a musical group after all), but in a way it was the transitional period between the soaring guitarwork and dark lyrics of the '70s, and the crunching, radio-friendly, slightly risqu/cabaret lyrics which were to spew forth from the 80's onwards. While this album isn't what was called radio-friendly back then (indeed, the original cover for this album was banned), the songs weren't exactly that far from being "playable" back then. The guitarwork was much softer that previously seen and the acoustic appeared more often. The songs quietened down (with the exception of He's a Woman) and Klaus Meine's voice mellowed slightly and became less, catty, for wont of a better word. Although seen as metal in it's day, today it would be classed as a form of hard rock, with soaring and screeching guitarwork and melodic basslines. The highlight of the album is The Sails of Charon, covered by Yngwie Malmsteen, Testament, and others. Rarely heard by people not fans of the band, it is a very dark song, composed of a memorable riff alongside a fast and powerful solo by Roth before Meine goes all Dio on his listeners and tries to sing in a deeper than usual voice, although, for this song at least, pulls it off, if only thanks to the content of the song (again, see Dio's work in Rainbow).
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are certainly interesting. The Sails of Charon, as alluded to above, concern dark fantasy and the like. Both Born to Touch Your Feelings and We'll Burn the Sky (written by Jimi Hendrix's fianc at the time of his death about the guitarist) are haunting ballads full of lovey-dovey lyrics. He's a Woman... however, was written by Herman Rarebell (drummer) about an incident in the Far East where he mistakenly pulled a woman, only to find she had a very special secret. Despite these complete opposites, Meine delivers each song very well, even if he screeches and screams occasionally. Born to Touch Your Feelings can seem a bit repetitive; only the haunting music alleviates your attention from the vocals.
Overall Impression — 9
A rare album to find in the shops, this should be readily available as it has the qualities to make it a classic amongst rock and metal fans alike. One would not hesitate to say that this is one of the band's more magnificent albums in it's large repertoire spanning over 35 years. Although many people would say that Love at First Sting or Blackout is better because they sold more, record sales only indicate that an album was heavily marketed and advertised, which this wasn't. Choice cuts on this album: We'll Burn the Sky, a tribute to Jimi Hendrix; The Sails of Charon, an underground classic if ever there was one; He's a Woman..., just because.