SCANNER Album Review: “The Cosmic Race”

“The Cosmic Race”
Album Review by Iron Mathew


Scanner are a power metal band from Germany formed in 1986 releasing seven album across a near four decade career – ‘Hypertrace’ (1988), ‘Terminal Earth’ (1989), ‘Mental Reservation’ (1995), ‘Ball Of The Damned’ (1996), ‘Scantropolis’ (2002), ‘The Judgement’ (2015) and ‘The Cosmic Race’ (2024).

Now I remember the eighties very well – I was a teenager going through puberty, senior school and starting employment, spending all my spare time listening to heavy metal courtesy of bands such as Angel Witch, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead and Saxon. So when power metal came marching outta Germany via the likes of Grave Digger, Helloween, Rage and Running Wild, I was instantly hooked on a new, more emphatic style of metal – the song ‘Buy Or Die’ by a young German band from Gelsenkirchen (in the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany) called Scanner simply blew my mind into a million pieces! ‘Buy Or Die’ is in my vast catalogue of favourite songs from the eighties along with Grave Digger’s ‘Heavy Metal Breakdown’, Helloween’s ‘How Many Tears’, Rage’s ‘Echoes Of Evil’, and Running Wild’s ‘Branded And Exiled’.

Over the bands lengthy career, Scanner has endured numerous line-up changes with founder, guitarist Axel Julius, the only ever present member – the current line-up completed by vocalist Efthimios Ioannidis, bassist Jorn Bettentrup, drummer Sascha Kurpanek, and (second) guitarist Dominik Rothe. The new album ‘The Cosmic Race’, is nine songs and forty seven fabulous minutes of elegant and majestic power metal, featuring a mix of speed, pomp, poise and grandeur…

…’The Earth Song’ launching the album skyward at an extreme rate of knots! Scanner are at full throttle here, pounding the ground hard with feet firmly planted on the monitor to adopt the iconic pose of heavy metal! The mix of power and traditional metal is incredible – the band delivering two of my favourite three genres of metal (the third being thrash). A barnstorming start by the German veterans, ‘The Cosmic Race’ powers on with increased majesty courtesy of the heavy hitting ‘Face The Fight’ – and a guitar tone synonymous with the classic sound of the eighties NWOBHM evolution! However, Scanner are not just a heavy metal band, they’re a power metal band, melding two of metals greatest styles into one glorious gallop! And the booming elegance of ‘Face The Fight’ is outstanding, the band striding tall and very proud through metal territory. The opening brace has been immaculate, but then I wouldn’t have expected anything less from an experienced forty year old band, ‘Warriors Of The Light’ maintaining the albums barnstorming start – albeit with a lot more oomph! The power across the first three songs has been sky high, Scanner revelling in the albums mighty majestic march – a march that’s turning heads all over the world in the direction of Germany.

Mind you, Scanner have been turning heads since the late eighties, keeping fans and followers hooked for years with great album after great album – ‘Dance Of The Dead’ moving ‘The Cosmic Race’ onto a more anthemic plane than everything heard so far. The bold, brash nature of ‘Dance Of The Dead’ is matched by a level of menace and a snarling vocal performance, a performance that’s gonna send shivers down spines right to the very bottom! And injecting an insane amount of energy and speed, ‘Scanner’s Law’ takes off at a hundred miles an hour, the band pressing the pedal firmly to the metal to deliver a very heavy, power metal gallop. ‘Scanner’s Law’ is terrific, showcasing the bands incredible melodious approach to metal, Scanner maintaining their strong grip on listeners attentions – attentions that are stuck on the band like iron sticks to a magnet! I’m telling ya readers, the magnetism of the band is stronger than the superconducting magnet located at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida (USA) – which is apparently “four hundred thousand times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field”. Shit a brick that’s strong!

The elegance and majesty of the album up to this point has been incredible, Scanner showing all the younger bands how to metal – the band deepening the atmosphere to become as chilly as the South Pole, for ‘A New Horizon’ displays a level of menace that’s eerie yet hymn-like! The German outfit are at their most mellow here, bordering balladry but never quite falling fully in, ‘A New Horizon’ striding tall with shoulders back and head held high. Bringing a regal feel to the fore, ‘The Cosmic Race’ marches on with the anthemic flavoured ‘Farewell To The Sun’ – the band shuddering the ground with an immense amount of force! Force that’s gonna slam every listener to the floor, pinning them down and screaming “listen to me” – and listen you will, just as you have done all album long! For ‘The Cosmic Race’ is one helluva listen, twisting and turning through every corner and facet of the power metal genre.

And just when you thought Scanner had delivered every style of power metal known to man, the band change gear, tempo and feel, bustling on with ‘Space Battalion’ – the longest song on offer clocking in at almost seven minutes in length! Returning the glorious guitar tone of the eighties NWOBHM evolution, ‘Space Battalion’ weaves an intriguing path across the land, swinging from all out pace and power to anthemic to hymn-like to the iconic foot on the monitor gallop! Scanner really do have it all in their locker, and aren’t afraid to use it – all of it! And bringing ‘The Cosmic Race’ to a close, ‘The Last And First In Line’ sees, or rather hears, the band in superb story telling mode, bands like Sabaton and Powerwolf springing immediately to mind, along with the epic album ending songs of metal pioneers Iron Maiden. The atmosphere created by the band here is like sitting on a beach late at night with a group of friends telling each other scary stories – what a song, what an album and what a band!

Overall, a superb slice of power metal from a band very much on top form, ‘The Cosmic Race’ is incredibly infectious and highly head bang-able.


The Earth Song
Face The Fight
Warriors Of The Light
Dance Of The Dead
Scanner’s Law
A New Horizon
Farewell To The Sun
Space Battalion
The Last And First In Line

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