Krokus circles the wagons and delivers the goods with "Hoodoo"
By Thom Copher
Every time that a band, especially one whom I dig, decides to regroup or reform the “classic” lineup (or what ever it’s called this week), I enter the listening room with open ears as well as a mild bit of speculation. Foremost, the “does the band still have the right stuff” factor comes into play. After all, there is nothing more disheartening than witnessing a favorite outfit simply issuing an album that goes through the motions, thus rendering said outfit to little more than a nostalgia act.
The legendary Swiss rockin’ juggernaut Krokus has laid to rest any of my reservations with its latest opus, Hoodoo. The buzz surrounding the re-mobilization of the One Vice at a Time-era personnel has been huge and the new album more than lives up to the hype. Hoodoo has, in fact, achieved the difficult task of preserving the true Krokus vibe while sounding fresh and vibrant against the present-day hard-rock landscape – in short, it has brought the past into the present.
From the opening riffage of “Drive It In,” the band makes no bones about cementing its classic pub-rock boogie. Heavy hitters “Rock N’ Roll Handshake,” “Too Hot,” “In My Blood,” and “Firestar” lay credence to the claim that Hoodoo could easily have been the follow-up to ‘83’s monster Headhunter album.
That perspective observed, there are striking similarities between Hoodoo and The Blitz (Headhunter’s 1984 successor), namely the tight, no-frills production (courtesy of bassist Chris Von Rohr) and slick engineering; the difference here is that Hoodoo is a steamroller which never loses its momentum. “Hoodoo Woman” (the album’s first single) has a moody bayou aura which exemplifies a maturation (if I may use such a term in the presence of seasoned rockers) while “Born to be Wild” shows a crafty veteran twist on an old standard. “Ride Into the Sun” could easily be mistaken for the twin of “Screaming in the Night” and firmly puts the “power” in “power-ballad” – definitely no cheese here!
The musicianship on Hoodoo is exactly what one should expect from master veteran rockers. Guitarists Fernando Von Arb and Mark “Koki” Kohler interweave their fretwork in much the same vein of fellow boogie titans, AC/DC’s Angus and Malcolm Young – they understand the importance of the groove, never overplaying or trying to shred for gratuitous reasons. Freddy Steady, evidenced here as highly under-rated from behind the drum kit, lays down a foundation which he and bassist Von Rohr pave for their mates. And vocalist Marc Storace… he ain’t called “The Voice” for nothin’!
Consider this with the fact that Krokus has been a revolving door of players since the mid-80s. Nine studio albums featuring various performers have appeared since the One Vice days; throw in a couple of live sets and compilations… there’s been no shortage of output under the band’s banner. Hoodoo proves that time does heal personal differences and that the brotherhood-bond of music can, years after the fact, bring out the best from within the best.
Orchestrating from the production chair, Von Rohr has expertly crafted the structural simplicity of good, meaty rock and roll into that which is (thus far) my frontrunner for rock album of the year. The Krokus players have obviously approached Hoodoo as a labor of love for their craft with the focus clearly on their strengths – there are no hints of trend-following or trying to sound like The Belle of the Headbanger’s Ball.
Hoodoo’s grooves (or digital imprints, as it were) are straight-forward and infectious. The 28-year gap between One Vice and Hoodoo hasn’t handicapped this fab-five one iota – the Swiss masters are simply gettin’ down on the gettin’ down… and the gettin’ is all good.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
You may remember this band for their song "Screaming In The Night" back in the early to mid 80's. And if you didn't know that song, surely you knew that they did a cover version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out"... right??? Well for those of you who didn't know of this band, back in the day they were sort of a cross between Alice Cooper meets Iron Maiden meets AC/DC. I know, what a mix right!? These days however, they are just focusing on being themselves and playing just balls out Rock-n-Roll the way it should be played. They are not alone. Seems that all of the old 80's bands, with the exception of maybe one or two, have put out pretty damn good offerings in the last two to three years! Someone needs to start paying attention!!!! Oh yeah, that's what we're here for! To help you to start paying attention! So listen up! Start paying attention will ya!
With the original lineup of this band once again intact, Krokus mark a return that just needs to be shouted about! "Hoodoo" is Classic Rock -n - Roll in every sense of the word. Sounding like Bon Scott revisited, you'd swear that the deceased rocker just joined Krokus! That's how much Marc Storace sounds like the legend himself! Don't believe me, well you'll just have to wait until May to find out! Believe me, once you hear Marc wail on these tunes, you'll agree with me! But, the Bon Scott sound aside, this album is all the way Krokus. Awesome Rock guitar licks, killer solos and Gang style choruses that will get everyone's fist pumpin'!
The album opens with a killer Rocker with "Drive It In" (you can probably guess what that one's about). This is the kind of tune that should open any album to get your adrenalin goin' righ off the bat. This album only gets better from there folks. Next is "Hoodoo Woman" to help level things off for the next 4 minutes or so, only to kick it up a notch again with a killer cover of the Steppenwolf classic, "Born To Be Wild". I gotta tell ya, I really love the way they do that song. They really do it justice. Frankly, the way Krokus treats that song is probably the only way you could treat a classic like this. This pace keeps up for the rest of this incredible Comeback offering from a great classic band.
Stand Out Cuts: Drive It In, Hoodoo Woman, Born To Be Wild, Rock N' Roll Handshake, ahhh forget it! You just have to listen to the whole album over and over again cranked really fuckin' loud! I'm surprised that the speakers in my car are still makin' any noise at all because I've played this album so damn loud! I do have one problem with this album though... I can't seem to get it out of the CD player in the car!! I haven't felt this good about an album in quite some time. Well, okay... since at least last October when KISS put out "Sonic Boom"! Well, then there is the new KEEL album too... damn! So many good albums from all the classic bands! You upstarts need to start taking notice! The old guys are kickin' your collective asses!! In other words... this is how real Rock -n- Roll SHOULD be played! Pick this one up. Your gonna love it!
Reviewed By JT
Rating: ***** (5 out of 5 stars)