by Rustyn Rose
Krokus has long been one of the greatest Swiss metal imports. Over the years the band has had an onslaught of members, but the line-up which had that special magic, the five guys who created Krokus’s most memorable and enduring songs has reunited after two decades.
While the band released three albums, Krokus (1976), To You All (1977) and Painkiller (1978, and later renamed, Pay It in Metal), it was not until 1980 that the formidable incarnation of the band would start coming together.
The foundation of this line up starts with Chris von Rohr, who began as drummer, then vocalist, before switching to bass. He was joined by guitarist Fernando von Arb, drummer Freddy “Steady” Frutig, and vocalist Marc Storace. Storace arrived in time for the first two classic Krokus records, 1980′s Metal Rendez-vous, which kicked out suck anthems as “Heatstrokes” and “Bedside Radio.” The 1981 follow-up, “Hardware” failed to meet up to its predecessor despite a Guess Who cover, “Mr. 69″ and the track “Burnin’ Bones,” by The Guess Who and later Bachman-Turner Overdrive guitarist, Randy Bachman. The album also featured a vocal contribution from Iron Maiden’s, Bruce Dickinson on the track, “I’m On The Run.”
The real breakout occurred when the fifth and final piece of the classic line up joined. Guitarist Mark Kohler signed on with 1982′s One Vice At A Time. While Kohler had nothing to do with the songwriting on the album, the chemistry sparked between the five. The album yielded the hits, “Long Stick Goes Boom,” “Playing The Outlaw,” and another Guess Who cover of “American Woman.”
The band’s massive breakthrough, especially in America would come with 1983′s Headhunter album, which went platinum in America, on the strength of the hits, “Eat The Rich,” “Screaming In The Night,” and another Randy Bachman penned tune, “Stayed Awake All Night,” which was recorded by B.T.O. Judas Priest’s, Rob Halford also lent his voice to the track “Ready To Burn.”
It was with Headhunter and the follow-up, The Blitz (1984), that the classic line-up began to fall apart. Freddy Steady left before Headhunter, followed by von Rohr soon after. The Blitz was recorded as a four-piece and offered up the hits, “Midnight Maniac,” and a cover of The Sweet’s, “Ballroom Blitz.”
The band released two more album’s with members of the “classic” line-up; Change of Address (1986) and Heart Attack (1990). The latter featured the return of von Rohr. All the main members except von Arb departed after this album. In 2006, Marc Storace released a Krokus album, “Hellraiser,” with only himself as the notable member.
In November 2007, the band would reunite (sans Kohler) to perform three songs. The guys realized the magic was still there. In April 2008, with Kohler back in the fold as well, the band did a reunion concert. They later announced a new album and tour set for 2010.
The new CD, Hoodoo was released last week in Europe and is currently slated for a May 25th, U.S. release, though it can be had as an import next week. The new album fits right in with Krokus masterpieces like Metal Rendez-vous, One Vice At A Time and Headhunter right from the opening guitar of the CD opener, “Drive It In,” which will take the listener back 30 years.
The album’s first single is the bluesy, “Hoodoo Woman” (video below), which gets stuck in your head like a curse you don’t wanna shake. The album’s next track is the Steppenwolf classic, “Born To Be Wild,” getting the Krokus treatment.
Detractors have long compared the band to Bon Scott era AC/DC. I’ve never seen how that is a bad thing. Marc Storace has an incredible voice for rock and roll, and you can hear the AC/DC flavor throughout, especially on “Rock and Roll Handshake,” “In My Blood,” and “Dirty Street.” If vintage AC/DC is the worst thing you can say about Hoodoo, then you know you’ve got one hell of an album on your hands.
You can check out the band’s 9-minute video press kit for the new album here.
Hoodoo is yet another excellent album from a classic hard rock/metal band pumping blood back into what has become a stagnant genre over the last 20 years.