Krokus were a heavy-metal outfit from Switzerland in the mid-1970's. They started to gain international fame with the addition of vocalist Marc Storace in 1980. Their early 80's releases had a distinct AC/DC sound to them. They finally found their niche with "Headhunter" then totally blew it with their next release "The Blitz." Fortunately, they moved away from the American pop metal sound and by 1987 began to sound like the band that released such classics as "Hardware", "One Vice At A Time" and "Headhunter".
Krokus - Metal Rendez-Vous (Arista) 1980
Krokus' Metal Rendez-Vous is a very enjoyable metal album with a ton of AC/DC-style boogie and plenty of guitar wankery. For the most part the music contained on this disc sticks close to that formula, however the band does branch out and experiment a bit as well. "Tokyo Nights" for example, offers a reggae beat in the middle of the song. While this sounds like a bad thing, it actually works qite well. The power ballad "Streamer" is also an interesting track in that it predates most of the "power-ballads" that would soon become an MTV stapple for a decade. Overall, as I stated earlier, an enjoyable disc, however, I think the band would improve with subsequent releases.
Krokus - Hardware (Ariola) 1981
Krokus are not the most technical band, or the most innovative, but that was never really the point either. Somehow over the years, in order to escape the clichés associated with heavy metal, bands have gotten away from good time heavy metal. Early Krokus, fortunately is just fun. There are some really good tracks on this disc, including "Burning Bones", "Celebration" and "Mad Rocket". "Winning Man" is also an interesting power ballad in that it is very similar to one of Krokus' biggest hits, "Screaming in the Night" that came out several years later. Unfortunately, Krokus goes a bit beyond good time rock 'n roll and incorporates the most ridiculous of sexual innuendos at times. "Smelly Nelly" and "Mr. 69" should be good indication of what I mean. This is one trend in metal I am glad to see go away. A bit of nostalgia helps out a bit here. I can't help but relive my teen years hearing discs like this. Oh for the days of headbanging, bandanas, denim and leather...
Krokus - One Vice at a Time (Arista) 1982
1. "Long Stick Goes
OK, I know, this is the band that everyone makes fun of. I know they were considered a poor man's AC/DC and that they were not the most original or the most technical musicians, but SO WHAT! What matters is that the music is infectious, heavy, and well, I like it. That's what matters! Tracks like like "Save Me" "To the Top" and "Long Stick Goes Boom" may not be groundbreaking, but they will still get yer head to bangin'. Isn't that what heavy metal was all about in the 80's? Crunchy riffs, sing along choruses, and plenty of headbanging! I even like the Guess Who cover, "American Woman". Rock on!
Krokus - Headhunter (Arista) 1983
"Headhunter" is actually Krokus' seventh or eighth release and is without a doubt Krokus' crowning achievement. This album smokes from beginning to end. "Headhunter" features cool heavy metal rockers like "Eat the Rich", "Russian Winter," a killer B.T.O. cover in "Stayed Awake All Night" and the heavy power ballad "Screaming in the Night". Everything about this disc just works, from the crunchy guitar tones to the simple, catchy song writing to Marc Storace's raspy, Bon Scott influenced vocals. Rob Halford (Judas Priest/Fight) sang background vocals on this album and you can really pick out his voice when he does. "Headhunter" is not "think man's metal". Rather, this is an album to sing along and jam to while riding down the road. No thought really involved. It's just about good times and rock and roll. "Headhunter" is one of the defining heavy metal albums of the early 1980's. Unfortunately Krokus tasted commercial success with "Screaming in the Night" so they tried to become more commercial with each new release, and as a result sucked!
I've read reviews that make claim that Krokus were nothing more than a cheap AC/DC clone here. That may be a bit more true on "One Vice At A Time" than on "Headhunter". Many bands were inspired by AC/DC in the 80's. Krokus most certainly wore their influences on their sleeve, however, besides AC/DC there are influences from Judas Priest, Ted Nugent and Blue Oyster Cult here as well, not unlike early Def Leppard or even Saxon. I don't think it was the band's intention to sound like AC/DC, nor do I really think that "Headhunter" comes off as an AC/DC clone.
Krokus - The Blitz (Spitfire) 1984
Not a terrible album, but certainly the start of their downard spiral and nowhere near what 'Headhunter' or 'One Vice at a Time' were. There are still some cool rockers on this disc, including the somewhat commercial "Midnight Maniac", which gained them some heavy radio and MTV play. The power ballad "Our Love" also recieved some radio play, as did their cover of Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz." Found this disc still sealed for only $3.99.
Krokus - Change of Address (Arista) 1986
1. "Now (All Through the Night)" (4:22)
After the commercial success of the phenomenal "Headhunter", thanks in part to the hit "Screams in the Night", Krokus went for a more commercial direction with the follow-up "The Blitz". However, despite the direction that album took, Krokus still rocked. With "Change of Address" Krokus are so watered down that this album just comes off as generic, 1980's, pop rock, MTV fodder. Bland, passionless, devoid of life whatsoever, "Change of Address" is an album that sounds forced and is obviously influenced by a clueless record company desperate to sell more albums. "Burning Up the Night " is a decent sounding song, although watered down by the recording. The Alice Cooper cover ("School's Out") is decent as well, but once again sounds a bit wimpy. Weak production, synth sounds, weak guitar tones, lifeless drums. Even Marc Storace's mighty Bon Scott influenced vocals seem toned down here. It's hard to believe this is the same mighty metal machine that gave us such great rock albums as "Hardware" and "One Vice At A Time". Had "Heart Attack" been the follow-up to "The Blitz" I can only imagine that Krokus' career might have skyrocketed. As it stands, Krokus became a joke in the scene and that is just a shame.
Krokus - Live & Screamin' (Spitfire) 1986
1. "Long Stick Goes
Short live album that chronicles some of the band's finer metal numbers. Would have liked to have had more early material included and less of the pop stuff. The songs are tight enough, but not much different from the studio versions, save for a slightly dirtier production. Almost like a live greatest hits collection. I believe that "Lay Me Down" is a non-album track. This album was released a short six months after the band's "Change of Address" flopped and quickly went out of print. Spitfire re-mastered and re-released the disc over a decade later but apparently is again out of print.
Krokus - Heart Attack (MCA) 1987/88
1. "Everybody Rocks"
I found this disc for $4 and since I knew it was out of print, I decided to pick it up. After all, how bad could it be? Surprisingly, it's actually better than I expected. The band has moved away from the total pop metal sound that they were sinking into and returned to the heavy metal of "One Vice" and "Headhunter." One thing though, the first two tracks are such blatant rip-offs, I am surprised they didn't give the songwriting credits for "Everybody Rocks" to Def Leppard and "Wild Love" to Judas Priest. When "Wild Love" started off I was waiting for those opening guitar chords from Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Coming." The riffing is really that similar. Perhaps the credits could have read "written by Judas Priest, rearranged by Krokus." Well, I suppose if Kingdom Come can get away with it, why not Krokus. Fortunately the whole album isn't like this and the beefy, heavy 80's production gives the album a life that the band lost on overpolished discs like "The Blitz" and "Change of Address." A few cuts like "Speed Up," "Axx Attack" and "Flyin' High" are worthy metalbangers and really could have shared disc space with anything off of "Headhunter." Even the bluesy power ballad "Bad, Bad Girl" is a decent track. I am pleasantly surprised by this disc. It was a return to form for Krokus, but unfortunately by the time of this release the band had already lost it's following despite the fact that metal was still on a high in '88.
"Stampede" is one of the lost Krokus albums, yet it is deserving of high honor in their catalog. It's ball-to-the-wall heavy metal with that same AC/DC vibe that was present on the classics like "One Vice At a Time" and "Headhunter". As a matter of fact, some songs here could easily have been on those albums, such as the full throttle title track, which has similarities to the song "Headhunter". "Shotgun Boogie" has that same, upbeat metal vibe. "In The Heat Of The Night" is a melodic ballad that could stand tall next to "Screaming in the Night". Others such as "Rock 'n Roll Gypsy" and "Rhythm of Love" have more of that mid-paced metal vibe and are chock full of fun rock and roll clichés. However, what sets this album apart in most fans minds is that the album features Peter Tanner on vocals instead of Marc Storace. Tanner has a cool, raspy, rock and roll voice that emulates both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson at times. Another oddity is that guitarist Fernando Von Arb switches over to bass on this album, though I am unsure if he didn't actually play some axe on the album itself. The album finishes off with a bonus track which is a fun cover of BTO's "You Ain't Seen Nothing". Overall, "Stampede" is just a fun, classic, heavy metal record; good production, lots of melody, fun songs, great vibe and plenty of rock and roll hooks, cheesy as they may be.
"To Rock or Not Be" is the first Krokus recording in several years to feature Krokus members Marc Storace (on vocals) and guitarist/songwriter Fernando Van Arb, who together led the group to the top of the '80s metal heap during the "Headhunter" period. Krokus take a retro approach on "To Rock" and resurrect the AC/DC metal vibe of their most popular 80's releases. That classic vibe makes the album quite enjoyable as it's what most fans want to hear from Krokus, this fan included. Had "To Rock..." been the follow-up to "Headhunter" I imagine the band would have held onto their core fans, rather than losing them to pop song and over commercialism. Regardless, tracks like "Flying Through the Night" are absolutely infectious, with Storace's Bon Scott howl. As with those early albums, there is some silly lyrics. ("Doggy Style" ought to give you a clue.) However, I can't see any fan of this band's classic albums not enjoying this CD as well.
Krokus - To Rock or Not to Be (CAU) 1995
1. "Lion Heart"
The first recording in years to feature Krokus members Marc Storace (on vocals) and guitarist/songwriter Fernando Van Arb, who together led the group to the top of the '80s metal heap during the "Headhunter" period. Krokus take a retro approach on "To Rock" and resurrect the AC/DC metal vibe of their most popular 80's releases. Oddly enough, this CD is actually quite good. Had it been the follow-up to "Headhunter" I imagine the band would have held onto their core fans, rather than losing them to commercialism. Regardless, tracks like "Flying Through the Night" are absolutely infectious, with Storace's Bon Scott howl. As with those early albums, there is some silly lyrics. ("Doggy Style" ought to give you a clue.) However, I can't see any fan of this band's classic albums not enjoying this CD as well.
Krokus - Round 13 (Angel Air Records) 1999
Krokus - Rock the Block (Reality Entertainment) 2003
1. "Mad World"
Second solid CD in a row from Krokus, who have finally figured out that their fans aren't interested in modern trends or experimentation. No, they only need to do what they do best, and that is rock. I might even go so far as to say that "Rock the Block" is a step up from "To Rock or Not Be", which I also like quite a bit. (Hmmm...can you see a theme developing here?) Seriously thought, this CD hails back to "Hardware", "Metalrendevous" and "One Vice At A Time". This is hard rocking, party-anthem, AC/DC-inspired, metal. I've read some complaints on-line about the lyrics, but not everything has to have some deep, philosophical meaning. This is rock 'n roll. Rock 'n roll was suppose to be fun, and I think many people and bands have forgotten that over the years. Kudos to Krokus for bringing that back.
Krokus - Fire And Gasoline: Live! (Warner Music Switzerland) 2004
Excellent 3 disc live set recorded during the 2003 "Rock the Block" Tour! This one features great sound, a high-energy performance, and a good song selection, although I was slightly disappointed that "Headhunter" wasn't included in the set. That small complaint aside, however, this is a stellar live disc and certainly a fine career retrospective of Krokus.
Krokus - Hellraiser (AFM) 2006
Krokus - Hoodoo (Columbia) 2010