Scorpion Child kinda caught the tail end of the Led Zeppelin revival scene with their self-titled debut album, which came out in 2013. I still haven’t actually heard that record, but I saw ‘em live twice on the supporting tour, once opening for Clutch, and again on a smaller, headlining gig with the likes of Kadavar and Mothership. I will say, these guys bring it in concert… but in my books, both Kadavar and Mothership blew ‘em off the stage in Toronto.
With all that being said, the 70’s rock revival seems all but dead in the mainstream, as the trend-jumping outfits have either tuned down and grown beards or found a female singer and started worshipping Mr. Crowley. That might explain why we haven’t heard from Scorpion Child in almost three years—but it doesn’t mean that their sophomore effort isn’t worthy of attention.
They jam-pack 13 tracks onto Acid Roulette, with the runtime coming in a little under an hour. We’re not even 30 seconds into the album when the first Robert Plant-style wail comes in—“She Sings, I Kill” clearly shows that they’re going back to the well, not the drawing board, on this one. And hey, there are some pretty quality riffs here. “Reaper’s Danse” is an up-tempo ripper that shows touring with Mothership mighta worn off on them—although the anthemic chorus is maybe more akin to The Sword.
“Woman in Black” is a slick, retro-sounding power ballad tailor-made for rock ‘n roll radio…if such a thing still exists. The title track is a little more ballad, less power, a six-minute number with some downright mellow verses—that still culminate in a big, heavy chorus. They’ve pretty much got the formula down pat at this point.
Despite its creepy title, “Twilight Coven” is much more Led Zeppelin than Uncle Acid, with the organ melodies on the chorus giving it the feel of an arena-rock anthem. They even throw in a surprise piano ballad, “Survives,” which kinda reminds me of Queen, albeit not in the vocal department. On the other hand, “Moon Tension” is almost more of a glam-metal power anthem, somewhere between Skid Row and Faster Pussycat.
So yes, you’ve probably heard most of the sounds on this record before. But in an age where classic rockers are starting to die off, and there isn’t a whole lotta new blood in good ol’ rock ‘n roll, these guys will likely be competing with Monster Truck and Rival Sons for coveted stadium-tour opening slots for years to come.