Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

A Polished, Professional Follow-Up to Their Opus - 78%

DeathRiderDoom, June 16th, 2009

Another Krokus review from DeathRiderDoom – well, why not? Krokus is one of the classic heavy metal bands I’ve been into the longest – I’ve owned this one for about six or seven years. Anyway – I can’t stress enough how good these guys are; hallmarks of the band include a very solid, yet varied catalogue – with slightly different approaches being taken from release to release. They’re true champions of writing catchy ‘heavy metal’ or the slightly more hard rock variety – with songs that are totally re-spinnable and incredibly soaked in catchiness. I don’t know how it is one (Swiss) band can be so adept at churning out so much catchy, solid songs, album after album – really just take a look at the size of that catalogue. With regard to the slight changes in direction I mentioned before – this one fits is as a cleaner, less metalized, polished and poppy departure from the previous years thrilling masterwork ‘Headhunter’ (1983). Here we receive helpings of out and out rockers, coupled with some of the most memorable love-song balladry I’ve heard – and I’m a big Dokken fan. Generally a solid album, continuing the line of strong to excellent releases from Switzerland’s most successful rock band to date.

Anyway, I can’t go any further without mentioning the excellent ballad/half ballad ‘Our Love’ – an absolutely professionally crafted, powerfully delivered song about love and lust. Featuring the strong vocals of the by this time polished Mark Storace in bombastic, larger than life chorus – we are left with memorable hooks I guarantee youll be humming or singing along to well after the record stops. An excellent use of strong self harmonies by stories with offset actual chorus vocal notes makes for an absolutely powerful chorus which is repeated thoroughly throughout. The lyrics are kinda straightforward but awesome “aaaaah – our love will never die” (backups) “ne-ver die” is an excellent vocal arrangement, hell-bent on catchiness and memorability – at the same time as being highly emotive. Anyway – this is as good an 80’s love song as any – with cool lyrics and the excellent, polished production this band had now become known for. Lyrics focus more on lust and self-referencing hard livin’ as opposed to a total focus on sappiness – characteristic of your later, US attempts (I’m lookin’ at you, Warrant). One of my favorite tracks for it’s genuine feel, and great vocal hooks.

You won’t be starved of classic Krokus hard rockin-ness however. The pseudo-title-track ‘Rock the Nation’ provides some hard thumping, mid tempo thrills – and has “live classic” written all over it. Again we see polished production, centering around the strong, raspy, yet melodic vocal tones of Storace. Guitars might be a bit simple – but that’s typical of this particular sub-genre of song, as you may well know. A nice vocal/guitar arrangement keeps this one a cut above many others in the same vein, and professionalism is rife throughout as per Krokus’ usual recipe. ‘Out of Control’ is much of the same, however with a lot more AC/DC prominence comin’ through – particularly in the guitar licks in the verses. Another thrilling, catchy chorus is the centerpiece here – “Out of Controoool – Too hot to handle” and so on are delivered with the same excellent appropriation of that strong chorus of voices I mentioned earlier, making it dynamic and energetic. Some great rock’n’roll sounding guitar leads come through at the half-way mark, before the song closes things off with the repetition of the excellent chorus vocals and another guitar lead.

The only track I don’t really like is the slightly cheesy ‘Midnite Maniac’. The problem is that while tackling something that could be ‘heavy metal’ subject matter – they keep with the fun loving, upbeat and light-heartedness that is characteristic of this good-timey band. It would’ve been good if they tackled this one like they approached the more serious ‘White Din/Russian Winter’ off ‘Headhunter’ – one of their only real serious numbers to this point. Either way – they didn’t, but I guess it’s somewhat hard to seem serious when you have songs like ‘Boys Nite Out’ in close proximity. I guess this is another one of the weaker ones on the album – so that’s two weaker, but nor bad ones, but before moving one I’d like to mention that I hate covers on ‘albums’ and don’t approve in particular of this one. Ballroom Blitz may have been a great song when performed originally, but had since been covered by a myriad of erstwhile bands, and has gone on since 1984 to be covered in droves. It’s an annoying song with an even more annoying chorus – and I don’t approve. Covers are great to do when you’re in a band – largely to have fun with yourselves and should be included only in live sets – not studio albums – seems almost a cop-out by a band of Krokus’ status. I mean. We all know how much of an influential band ‘The Sweet’ were to these guys generation – being an early energetic rock band with a proclivity to lift a middle finger to the establishment, in a way, but that song is so overdone – it’s even on Wayne’s World for fucks sake. The inclusion of the live track on this one I could take or leave – but it’s at least better than the lame cover.

Anyhow, I’ve ranted on long enough. A great album – that takes a slightly more polished, poppy approach than it’s fierce and fiery predecessor – yet nonetheless kicks ass. Even the half-ballad ‘Our Love’ has aggressively delivered sections – even if for the most part the guitars fall to the rear behind bombastic chorus vocals. Another strong love-song on this one is ‘Hot Stuff’, which I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve spun this album countless times – especially when I first got these guys’ records years ago. I was even inspired to spend 4-5 hours of effort cutting out a logo of their logo and printing it on a hoody and shirt. If you like catchy 80’s heavy metal – like W.A.S.P., Helix, AC/DC, Accept and the like – you’ll love this stuff. Believe me – the quality and professionalism is evident – even if the genuine ‘metal’ feel is not. What we have is a decent follow up to an album every Krokus album before or since would have to forever dwell in the shadow of. Without a doubt ‘Headhunter’ is their strongest offering – and interestingly their most commercially successful and one of their heaviest – a strange combination. But pretty much all of Krokus’ 80’s stuff is good – don’t believe me – well, read my reviews on it – they’re the only damn ones there (at the date of writing) – this one fares as well as any and bests the AC/DC clonage on offer in ‘One Vice At A Time’ in my opinion. Deserving of a place on any classic metal heads shelf.

-DeathRiderDoom