The name Scanner rings a bell to all fans of old school, classic German power-speed metal. Their cult debut Hypertrace was released in 1988, with the equally strong Terminal Earth doubling on the good impression the following year (even if with a different singer). Once again changing the vocalist, Scanner released two more fantastic power-speed albums (Mental Reservation and Ball Of The Damned) in the darkest times for the genre in 1995 and 1996, but that decade was too hard for them to get the wider recognition they deserved. The average Scantropolis followed in 2002 (again with a new vocalist) and then The Judgement took them 13 more years to arrive in 2015 (do I need to mention another change of singers?).
Fast forward to 2024 and Scanner are here again with their seventh album The Cosmic Race, which will be released on January 12th. The fact they kept the vocalist Efthimios Ioannidis from the last album is a good sign, even though now only guitarist Axel Julius is present from the original line-up (this is actually a fact since 1991). The Cosmic Race is a concept album – a familiar territory for Scanner, the story based on humanity looking for a new planet to live on, after Earth’s demise. I will not disclose more details, which you will have the pleasure of revealing in the lyric book. The style of the new songs is immediately recognizable as classic Scanner and Axel’s compositional touch shines throughout. Even if there is some resemblance to Gamma Ray, Angel Dust or Stormwitch, Scanner have their own identity, with a touch of melancholy and mystery in their musical palette. We have the speedier The Earth Song (what a fantastic album opener!), Scanner’s Law and Space Battalion, all three of which can easily be a part of either the debut or Mental Reservation. Warriors Of The Light, Dance Of The Dead and Farewell To The Sun, on the other hand, are more mid-tempo, focusing on atmosphere and hooky, memorable choruses. I can imagine the latter as a sing-along part of the future setlist.
My personal highlights in The Cosmic Race are A New Horizon and the closing The Last And First In Line, both of which tick all the boxes of why I love Scanner so much. The right mixture of power chords, speed and absolutely epic choruses that are instantly embedded in your mind. I wouldn’t mind if there were a few more uptempo songs, but this is a minor complaint. The singing of Ioannidis is flawless in the whole album and special compliments go to new guitarist Dominik Rothe as well as the production overall. A fantastic job in the studio was done by Axel Julius, who is also once again responsible for all of the music and lyrics. Mr. Julius has my utmost respect for continuing the legacy of Scanner by releasing such a high quality album and even if he makes us wait longer than usual, the end result is worthy of bearing that cult logo.
The Cosmic Race is out on January 12th you can pre-order it in various formats from HERE