Krokus is Switzerland’s biggest contributor to the hard rock and heavy metal world and was formed in 1974 in Soluthurn. The band had progressive tendencies at the beginning and subsequently had a nice hard rock and heavy metal sound before drifting more into the AC/DC scheme of things around 1981/1982.
The band recorded its debut in 1975 and had it issued the year after through Phonogram. The only original member remaining from those heady days is Chris Von Rohr who began as the band’s singer. He initially served on drums before switching to vocals and bass. Malta native Marc Storace would be introduced to the fans in 1978 on vocals and become the band’s prime singer from then on. The new line-up recorded the decidedly heavy Metal Rendez-vous and toured with Rainbow and others. The band also made it to America where one of the headliners was none other than AC/DC. The band made its mark in Great Britain when it played both the Reading and Loch Lomond festivals in 1980. The group had briefly relocated to London in order to crack that market. Chris Von Rohr produced the debut single of Switzerland Killer in 1980. The band’s Maurer replaced Von Rohr at the end of the decade.
Kiefer left following the release of Hardware (and would commit suicide five years later), but would be replaced by Mandy Meyer. The new man would only stay for one album and would soon resurface in Asia – the band. Headhunter was produced by Judas Priest producer Tom Allom and featured Rob Halford on one song. The album would chart on both sides of the Atlantic, but would be the swan song for Freddy Steady who would be replaced by Steve Pace. The band managed to snag the opening slot of the Def Leppard US tour (both bands sharing a label), but was kicked off the tour. Dates with Judas Priest did follow however.
The Blitz would be issued in 1984 and signal the band’s commercial peak. The album’s single, Ballroom Blitz, was a cover version. The album was recorded in Vancouver and featured credits and composition by Canada’s Bryan Adams. The band played at the huge Texxas World Music Festival that year. Change Of Address would be more commercial and was again accompanied by a cover version as a single. The honours belonged to Alice Cooper’s School’s out this time. Tom Werman who had just worked with Mötley Crüe produced the album. Chris von Rohr would return to the band, which meant that it was time for Keiser to leave.
Krokus would issue Heart Attack and again concentrate on the American market, but would surprise the fans by splitting up when Von Rohr and Storace ended up being unfriendly. Guitarist Kohler would attempt to keep the band going, but would soon realize the folly of the attempt. Von Arb would however return to action in 1990 and record a new album called Stampede. The band would only find an independent recording contract however. Peter Tanner sang on the record. Storace would obviously be back in time for To Rock Or Not To Be (how appropriate), although the singer would soon jump ship again. Former Tokyo Blade and Persian Risk man Carl Sentence would replace him. Storace would come back for 2001 and Krokus would resume touring. Fire & Gasoline’s release coincided with the appearance of Rock The Block in America courtesy of Reality Entertainment (formerly CMC International). The connection would introduce Marc Storace to Warrior with whom he recorded music. The line-up would continue to fluctuate as Von Arb would be turfed in 2005 and be replaced by Mandy Meyer. Drummer Stefan Schwarzmann joined in the spring of 2005. The band would open for Hammerfall in 2007. The band was involved in a bus crash on January 22 while on tour in Europe with The Poodles and Hammerfall. The accident, which happened in Denmark, only resulted in some bruises.
The band’s so-called classic line-up of singer Marc Storace, Fernando Von Arb (guitar), Chris Von Rohr (bass) and Freddy Steady (drums) reunited for an appearance on November 18th, 2007 on a Swiss TV show called Die Grössten Schweizer Hits (The Biggest Swiss Hits) where the line-up performed Tokyo Nights, Bedside Radio and Heatstrokes. Guitarist Mark Kohler returned to the band in 2008. He was in the band first in the mid-‘80s and next in the mid-‘90s. Frank Steady also returned to the fold in 2008. Stefan Schwarzmann joined Hermann Frank’s return. The band signed a deal with Sony Music for Switzerland only and subsequently was preparing to record a new album. The band’s next album was called Hoodoo and was out in February. The band is Marc Storace, Chris Von Rohr, Fernando Von Arb, Mark Kohler and drummer Freddy Steady. Krokus’ Hoodoo album landed at the #1 position in Switzerland. Marc Storace appeared at a Doro concert on the occasion of her 2,500th show on March 13, 2010. In the autumn of 2011, Krokus performed in front of 37,000 Japanese fans at Loud Park Festival in Japan. This was the band’s first show in that country.
The band next picked Dirty Dynamite as the title for its 2013 album, due in February. The band's bassist, Chris Von Rohr, was producing the album.
KROKUS – HOODOO – SONY
Admittedly, I had to look up the word ‘hoodoo’ to know it means something, but it ultimately doesn’t matter because these guys are here to rock hard, be loud, play guitars, have long hair and all.
To get it out of the way, Hoodoo is full of AC/DC-isms. It has always been this way and it will always be this way with Krokus. With that out of the way, the band’s biography claims that “Hoodoo is the title of the rock legends’ powerful comeback album – their first in 20 years.” First, the band has been releasing albums steadily this decade. Second, the information is still wrong if it was supposed to mean with the original line-up. The musicians on this album are essentially Krokus’ classic and most successful line-up, but no way is this the original line-up from the first album. No one even remembers those guys. And with that out of the way too…
The album’s first cut is Drive It In and it’s all about what you would imagine it to be. These guys singing about women and strip joints and prostitutes and sluts at their age is disconcerting and then the title track (Hoodoo Woman) comes and it is also about women. And so is nearly every other track on the album. Rock’n’Roll Handshake is about the history of the band, but these guys like their chick stories. I wonder what their grandchildren think of that. The music rocks though.
Drive It in has a good solid bass sound and a powerful drum kick. The production by Chris Von Rohr, the group’s own bassist, is fat and big. The title track is another notable cut and contains some ZZ TOP-like guitar work. Strange that the next song is a cover version of Born To Be Wild, which is strange because it comes too soon in the album and is absolutely useless. Why do a cover after all these years? Then again, this is the band whose biggest hit is Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz (off the Blitz album). After Rock’n’Roll Handshake things mellower with Ride Into The Sun. This cut begins with a Whitesnake feel and becomes more epic fast. In My Blood is even more AC/DC-like. The phrase “backstreet rhythm” is funny because it is so close to AC/DC’s “backseat rhythm…” Dirty Street reminds one of you know who and is fun, but the most blazing track is kept for last. Firestar is a real heavy metal song and a little stronger and different from the other cuts. This ends the album on a powerful note.
The whole album is full of sing-along, upbeat, crunch, hard rock boogie as well as the obvious rockers. Krokus still has it. One could tell from the wild hair and do. – Sheila Wes Det.