Nima : Scanner’s 1988 debut, ‘Hypertrace’, is one of my favourite German speed metal records. Also the following ‘Terminal Earth’ (1989) could apply to me a lot. On the following records the band chose for a bit more progressive approach, which applied a bit less to me, but nevertheless ‘Mental Reservation’ and ‘Ball Of The Damned’ were also decent albums. The last LP, ‘Scantropolis’ (2002), however was a big disappointment to me. The songs were weak and offered little to hold on to, and vocalist Lisa Croft was also a negative development for the band in my opinion.
Thirteen years after the last-mentioned album guitarist and only remaining original member, Axel “A.J.” Julius, has returned with a completely new line-up and a new album, ‘The Judgement’. With ‘Scantropolis’ in mind my expectations for this sixth long player were not that high. But as soon as the band bursts out with ‘F.T.B.’ after the intro they blow away all doubts and questions with pure bulky up-tempo old-school heavy and speed metal in the German tradition. The music immediately goes for the throat, enforces the headbang-law vigorously, and hardly lets go on the following 55 minutes. Musically ‘The Judgement’ goes back to both the 80s and early 90s approach. And so not only do we hear the speed metal roots, but also the progressive power metal approach. But there is a far better balance between these styles, which makes the music a lot more versatile, without losing the power. The majority of the material on ‘The Judgement’ is up-tempo and the album rocks forth mercilessly in general. One of the strong points about ‘The Judgement’ is that it sounds quite old-fashioned, but at the same time also very contemporary. Therefore the album can apply to a broad generation of heavy metallers.
The new line-up is also the strongest in Scanner history to date. On instrumental matters the album is tiptop and also vocally Efthimios Ioannidis makes a good impresses. The man has a clear and powerful voice and stands his ground in both the lower and higher regions. His voice is also suitable for both old-school heavy/speed metal and progressive power metal, and he doesn’t drop any stitches. Thanks to the clear and contemporary production the whole thing comes into its own well, and all put together result in a very strong album and an hour of pure sonic pleasures. Fans of both the old and the new works by bands such as Rage, Running Wild, Attack and Iron Savior and co. should definitely give this album a shot. The only thing left to say is: Scanner is back!