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Hoodoo, the latest release from long-running Swiss rockers Krokus, finds the band in fine form, not least in part because the band features reunited members from what would be considered its classic lineup. Early in their career Krokus evolved from a prog-rock band to the more hard rocking style present since their heyday in the early eighties, and the band is still going strong today. Troubled by failed attempts to cross into the mainstream and numerous lineup changes (iconic lead singer Marc Storace has been in and out of the band, as has essential guitarist Fernando Von Arb), Krokus have at times seemingly run out of steam. Yet just when you think they're long gone, they come back strong and hit you right in the face with their brand of classic, no-nonsense rock. Critics have derided Krokus as a third-rate AC/DC clone, but this kind of criticism should've been dropped a long time ago. Although undoubtely influenced by Bon Scott and the Young brothers, the band has it's own style and ideas, while drawing influence on Hoodoo from legends of rock including Led Zeppelin and Kiss.
Hoodoo is a diverse album featuring full-on uptempo headbanging tracks which show Krokus haven't completely abandoned thier earlier, more metallic influences in favor of hard rock (opening track, "Drive it In" and closer "Firestar"), midpaced thumping hard rockers and even a kickass cover of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild." You'd think that this song, covered by practically every bar band that's ever existed, would be a fail, but Krokus puts their own stamp on this legendary biker anthem, so it's far from being a throwaway track. I really enjoy their version, now relevant for the modern era. They tweak the guitar riffs a bit, so it's not an exact copy of the original, and anyway, Krokus have a history of successfully reinterpreting covers (Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" and BTO's "Stayed Awake all Night" to name a few).
The AC/DC influence is mostly predominant on tracks like "In My Blood," "Keep Me Rolling" and "Rock and Roll Handshake", which seems to borrow a bit of it's structure from the classic Angus track "Rock and Roll Damnation." But nobody should be complaining about AC/DC-isms, as it's been a long time since AC/DC sounded like this, or even as fresh and exciting as Krokus do on this album. Storytelling is at a maximum on "Hoodoo Woman," a standout track and dark, bluesy tale of New Orleans voodoo, so rich an inspiration for many a band.
Young bands these days wish they could rock as hard as Krokus. And with Hoodoo, the band seem to have a new lease on life. If you're a longtime fan, there's no reason why you won't get off on Hoodoo, as it rocks from start to finish in a way only a veteran band of Krokus' stature can manage. If you're too young to have experienced the eighties, then do your homework, pick up a copy of Hoodoo and hear how hard rock should sound. The headbanging factor here is quite high, so don't be afraid to let Krokus and Hoodoo cast their spell on you!