Scorpions/Berliner Philharmoniker

Moment of Glory (EMI)

You know a metal band is in bad shape when it hasn't topped the charts in nigh on a decade and its designated pretty boy has been sporting baseball caps over his balding pate for longer than that. Such has been the case for the Scorpions,who've released nothing remotely resembling a hit since the Berlin Wall was pulverized for paperweights. Unfortunately for Hair Club prospects Matthias Jabs, Klaus Meine, and their cochlea-crushing cohorts, this state of affairs is unlikely to improve as a result of their latest longplayer.

While the pairing of these Teutonic rockers and the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra might have sounded sagacious on paper, in practice the match plays like Martha Stewart crashing a cockfight. This dynamic is most evident on cuts such as "Hurricane 2000" and the once-rocking "Big City Nights," selections in which the presence of strings, bells, and assorted orchestral fillips creates an impression that's less menacing than mincing. No less schlocky are the kiddie choir-infested title track and "Here in My Heart," which, thanks to guest vocalist Lyn Liechty, is easily as bloated as anything ever released by Celine Dion. "Send Me an Angel" likewise sports a stint by a singer known only as Zucchero, whose straining makes painfully clear how rare an instrument Meine's still razor-bladed tenor is.

Slightly more successful are ballads such as "Wind of Change" and "Still Loving You," the latter of which benefits from a relatively restrained arrangement. Similarly listenable is the instrumental "Crossfire," which allows guitarist Jabs to stretch his aging-but-ever-nimble digits. What this album stretches most frequently, though, is listeners' patience: With the bulk of its numbers lasting well over five minutes, Moment makes you wish more than anything that the highbrow help would hit the bricks and permit the Scorps their unadulterated sting.

 
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