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I'll never stop to be amazed with all the wonderful albums released during the 80's. If you search with passion and devotion, you'll find a lost gem in any place of the world, and this time fate has taken us to Switzerland. Krokus had already had a decent run since their inception in the mid 70's, with some good moments as 1980's "Metal Rendez-vous", but, unfortunately for them, never transcending the label AC/DC wannabees.
Finally, in 1983, they got all their shit together and things started to change. Teaming up with long time Judas Priest producer Tom Allon, the five Swiss travelled to the USA and registered what would be the peak of their musical career. Infusing their traditional hard rock with lots of heavy metal power, the new album, from it's truly heavy cover with that steel skull, would become a monster of an album.
If any of the songs stand out from the rest, they would surely be "Headhunter", "Screaming in the Night" and "Russian Winter", each one for very diverse reasons. The title track opens the album as an excellent cover letter. Uncompromising speed metal at its best, like their own "Fast as a Shark". "Screaming in the Night" offers the opposite side of the spectrum, an impressive and moving ballad that manages to sound heavy and dark during its entirety. Very much in the vein of W.A.S.P.'s "Sleeping in the Fire". Finally "Russian Winter", a hell of an epic song which works perfectly as the closer for the album.
This work would be worthy just with this three songs, but the rest are also, at least, fucking consistent. From the addictive hard rock vibe of "Eat the Rich" and "Ready to Burn" (still with the AC/DC influence), to the heavy intensity of "Night Wolf", any classic metal fan will find in "Headhunter" an excellent album to spend some minutes of their life.
With my bigger tendency towards heavy metal, I end up preferring songs as, for example, any of the aforementioned, rather than "Stayed Awake all Night" which is, in my opinion, one of the few flaws of the album. All in all, this is an excellent heavy metal album that owes as much to Judas Priest or Accept than to AC/DC so, if you happen to like any of those bands, don't lose the opportunity to check out "Headhunter".
Originally written for Ample Destruction 'zine.