Scorpions – 50th Anniversary Deluxe Reissues (BMG via SPV/Caroline International)

Genre: Hard Rock

Christmas has come early for the millions of Scorpions fans the world over with eight of the band’s most significant releases remastered and reissued to celebrate half a century at the summit of hard rock.

If the latter years have been somewhat overshadowed by retirement, almost inevitable resurrection and further talk of finally calling it a day, then there’s no doubting the sheer quality of the Germans’ brilliant back catalogue.

This selection of definitive Scorps’ albums provides a veritable feast of polished soft metal – charting the period from the band’s punkish Taken By Force through to their answer to Def Leppard’s MTV-friendly Hysteria – the über commercial Savage Amusement.

Each album features previously unreleased gems ranging from raw demos to long lost live cuts. Dig deep and you’ll find a stunning demo of Coming Home from Love At First Sting, bonus track Suspender Love (included on the Taken By Force reissue) and a 10 minute-plus live version of Top Of The Bill included in the Tokyo Tapes set.

There are the bona fide classics given a brand new coating of 21st century gloss – Loving You Sunday Morning, Holiday, The Zoo, Blackout, Rock You Like A Hurricane, Still Loving You, Rhythm Of Love and Passion Rules The Game – and they’ve never sounded better.

And every album is complemented by 16 page booklets featuring rare photos, single covers, backstage passes and additional liner notes by former Editor-in Chief of Metal Hammer, Edgar Klüsener.

Five of the eight albums are accompanied with a DVD containing contemporary live concert footage, along with TV-performances and in-depth interviews with the band in which they talk extensively about the background, history, and the creative process behind many of the most definitive records in rock.

It would be easy to wile away weeks and weeks appreciating the finer moments of these Teutonic titans – and all eight releases are available on heavyweight vinyl featuring the original, often controversial, artwork.

If you still think Scorpions are all about Wind Of Change then this is what they sounded like before that global hair metal hit. And they sounded consistently incredible.

Try Blackout or Love At First Sting if you need convincing. And then break the bank to complete your collection. Resistance is futile.