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Scanner - "The Judgement" (CD)

Scanner - "The Judgement" CD cover image

"The Judgement" track listing:

1. Intro
2. F.T.B.
3. Nevermore
4. Warlord
5. Eutopia
6. The Judgement
7. Battle Of Poseidon
8. Pirates
9. Known Better
10. The Race
11. The Legionary

Reviewed by on February 20, 2015

"'The Judgement' is just the explosion of Germanic metal needed in the band’s 13 year absence from recorded albums."

In 1988, a song rang on college radio that changed the way your author felt about epic European power metal. The riffs, pauses, use of keyboards, chorus – all of “Across the Universe” was more than just a passing phase. It led to the craving, the ravenous craving that still exists for metal of this type today. Its funny how much music touches the soul in a way where just a chord, or in this case an intro (“code – P.E.C. – codeword admittance…access to all data concerning planet earth control….”) can invoke a wealth of memories that to this day rank among my very favorite. There is a special place deep in a metal heart for Scanner. Always the underdogs, the band has taken the unlikely road, somehow persevering to make it to 2015, a future that was only a dream filled with hopes and excitement 27 years ago. With one original member left – guitarist Axel Julius – it seems that hunger has been renewed and re-invigorated because “The Judgement” is just the explosion of Germanic metal needed in the band’s 13 year absence from recorded albums.

When the demo version of “The Race” was posted in 2013, it began an ultra-agonizing wait, one that had been subdued a bit with the absence of the band for the previous 11 years (“out of sight, out of mind”). Delays persisted for nearly another two years until the stream of “F.T.B” (“fuck the bastards”) hit the net. From the sound of that song, it was apparent that the band would be revisiting some early times, especially with the addition of vocalist Efthimios Ioannidis, the Greek god who evokes flashes of Michael “M.A.J.O.R.” Knoblich, though not a dead ringer. Ioannidis can wail with brilliant high pitched screams. With disrespect to Lisa Croft (who appeared on the fine 2002 release “Scantropolis”), Scanner is a band much better suited with a male vocalist. The older stripped down organic charging Germanic power metal sound has been recaptured.

“Judgement Day” is the perfect case where the highs are really high and they carry the day by a large margin over the “so-so.” Speed encapsulated numbers like “F.T.B.,” “Nevermore,” “Warlord” and “The Race” all mesh with mid-paced perfection in “Eutopia” (though that song could use a bit of trimming). There are a few tracks that drag a little long and are a bit mediocre – namely “Battle of Poseidon,” which is better suited as a 4-5 minute track and “Known Better,” which has a cool chorus leaving the rest uninspiring. But there are so many great moments that any subservient ones fade out of mind.

So the answer to that burning question is: No. “The Judgement” does not top the might and ferocity of “Hypertrace.” Few albums do. Expecting that given a near complete turnover in lineup is ridiculous. In this day and age, where there is an overload of pretentious bands racing to release slapped together material high on shock and low on song value, Scanner continues where it left off – without an ounce of apology. In its now 29 year history, “The Judgement” ranks pretty high in the band’s catalog, certainly giving previously second place “Terminal Earth” a run for its money. It seems Axel feels he has something to prove…and “the judgement” is that he did!

Highs: Some of that old "Hypertrace" magic is reborn, especially with vocalist Efthimios Ioannidis.

Lows: Some of the songs are a bit mediocre and run a little too long.

Bottom line: "The Judgement" is in.....and Scanner is back!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)