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Rock the nation - 64%

Felix 1666, April 26th, 2014

Krokus already had their best times behind them when they released "The Blitz". The Americanized cover demonstrated that they obviously felt the urgent need to change direction. Of course, prior to this album they had already written songs with a commercial approach, just remember "Screaming in the Night". But now they turned to smooth compositions in general, while the hard rocking tunes became less. Therefore, it was undoubtedly no coincidence that the album was opened by the cheesy "Midnite Maniac". Its chorus reminded on a child song while the easily flowing verses did not do any harm. Unfortunately, the lyrics about a "sex machine" - we already knew their preference for sex machines since "Bad Boys, Rag Dolls" - were not worth mentioning. The song was acceptable, but it should not had been the opener that pointed the way. However, it formed the blueprint for the majority of the following pieces which were decent and predictable without focussing on aggressive riffs or fast-paced rhythms. The songs, written by the duo Von Arb/Storace, should be suitable for public broadcast - and the lively "Boys Nite Out" was the best of them.

Amazingly co-written by Brian Adams, it was therefore clear from the start that this one would portray another polished track. But to be honest, due to its gripping riff this number sounded very well, although, of course, it could not challenge their earlier works like "Easy Rocker", "Long Stick Goes Boom" or "Russian Winter", to name but a few. Despite this fact, if you lend an ear to easy listening music in exceptional cases, you might like this one.

But to my great surprise Krokus were still able to compose tough rock songs. What is more, "Rock the Nation" offers a fantastic riff that was combined with up-tempo-drums and, of course, Storace´s most powerful vocals. The harsh verse, the expressive bridge and the brilliant chorus made this tune to one of the best that they wrote during their entire career. This track proved that they did not necessarily need the compositional contribution of their longstanding co-leader Chris von Rohr, who had to leave the band after the release of "Headhunter". Even the sterile and clinical production could not cause any damages to this phenomenal highlight.

Yet despite all the changes, one thing, however, did not change. Once again they featured a cover song to complete the album. But there are two types of songs that were not composed to be covered - those whose original version cannot be exceeded and those that are simply too bad to be played again. Sweet´s "Ballroom Blitz" definitely belongs to these tunes even if I do not know exactly to which type. In any case Krokus took a bad decision when choosing this classic piece for their obligatory appraisal of other people´s creativity.

In the retrospective I have to observe that this output was the perfect link between its aggressive predecessor and the following weary rocking "Change of Address". Krokus kept an eye on the American market but they did not totally sacrifice their ideals for money. Therefore, the album can only be recommended restrictedly. Nevertheless, it offers light entertainment. Only the images of the colourful dressed band members on the back cover were truly terrible.