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Krokus: Hellraiser

Krokus is back! OK, maybe that's an overstatement. But the fact that these Swiss headbangers are still going after more than 30 years – and releasing a better-than-half-decent record like Hellraiser – is worth some kind of proclamation. While such bands as Mötley Crüe, L.A. Guns and Guns N' Roses may have embraced the mid-Eighties Hollywood sleaze-metal sound, Switzerland's Krokus perpetuated it years earlier. Even though Krokus formed in 1974 as a symphonic-rock band in the vein of Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the group eventually morphed into a raucous metal band with such songs as "Screaming in the Night," "Eat the Rich" and "Long Stick Goes Boom" after recruiting singer Marc Storace.

Storace helped resurrect Krokus a few years back to record a new album (Rock the Block) and a live disc (Fire and Gasoline: Live!), and now he returns with one-time Krokus guitarist Mandy Meyer (Cobra, Asia) and three other players for Hellraiser. Storace still possesses a voice that can best be described as a gnarly amalgam of Bon Scott, Vince Neil and possibly Paul Rodgers, and as a result, this album sounds a lot like AC/DC (the title cut), Mötley Crüe ("Turnin' Inside Out") or Bad Company ("Midnite Fantasy") – depending on which song is spinning. What's most remarkable about Hellraiser is that these songs hold up to repeat listens. The band appears to be motivated and rejuvenated (even with, or perhaps because of, the absence of original guitarist Fernando Von Arb), and Hellraiser could help restore a little credibility to the much-maligned Krokus name.

Track Listing:
1) Hellraiser
2) Too Wired to Sleep
3) Hangman
4) Angel of My Dreams
5) Fight On
6) So Long
7) Spirit of the Night
8) Midnite Fantasy
9) No Risk No Gain
10) Turnin' Inside Out
11) Take My Love
12) Justice
13) Love Will Survive
14) Rocks Off!

Added: April 23rd 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Krokus Web Site
Hits: 5244
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Krokus: Hellraiser
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-04-23 05:33:24
My Score:

It has been over thirty years since the Swiss band Krokus formed and they've changed a lot from their more 70's prog sound to the classic rock act they now are. Hellraiser sees them getting back in action with a renewed spirit, and those who enjoyed their earlier works such as Painkiller should take note.

Hellraiser is great classic rock with catchy, AC/DC-like riffs and strong vocal lines by Marc Storace. Tracks like "Hellraiser" and "Too Wired to Sleep" are amazing 80's rockers with enjoyable guitar licks and sing-along choruses, while the band does expose their more profound side on "Angel of My Dreams" whose great guitar tone and somewhat folky main melody are among the album's most memorable. Likewise, "Midnite Fantasy" is drenched in plenty of sound effects, a protruding bass groove, and catchy rhythm section. The band goes totally 80's on their ballad "Hangman" in a sort of Bon Jovi meets Blue Tears style, employing slight blues guitar lines and wrapping them around a repeated yet easy to enjoy vocal melody. They get significantly heavier with "Fight On", a metallic piece boasting effective rhythm guitars and crushing bass power. The acoustic-based "So Long" is another ballad that won't disappoint as Krokus really know how to craft a moving piece with wrenching vocals and forceful melodic arrangements. On "Spirit of the Night", not only does Storace let out a crazy scream but he also helps the rest of the band emulate the classic AC/DC sound and it works greatly. Check out the short but totally gripping tapping harmony by Mandy Meier and Dominique Favez -- it's amazing. There is plenty of diversity on this disc no matter what style of rock one may like best.

There is a reason why Krokus never really made it as big as some other bands from the 80's, but unlike most them, they've never gone stale or dropped musical integrity in favour of transient stardom. Therein lies the reason why their long-time fan base will check this album out and enjoy it immensely.

Krokus: Hellraiser
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-10-25 13:16:09
My Score:

I guess the saying is true that you are never too old to Rock & Roll for its 30 years and still counting for the band Krokus who return with a tasty dose of Hard Rock for the world to enjoy. The band had recently toured the US after an eighteen-year absence and was met with a great fan response based on the focus on their classic material. The tour found Marc Storace and company delivering staples from albums such as Headhunter and The Blitz; and to this day I regard Headhunter as one of the "must haves" in anyone's Metal collection. Hellraiser shows that the group can still rock with the best of them and it has a few moments been you will be reminded of old ACDC. Storace as a singer has always had a very close voice to the late Bon Scott and the bands early material even used many of the same guitar techniques. You will find this especially on the albums opening and title track. Legacy fans should be aware that this is pretty much a different Krokus from the one they remember in the old days with the exception of Storace and guitarist Mandy Meyer. Meyer stepped back into the roster after the departure of Fernando VonArb. The new line up adds a refreshing new vitality to the groups sound and is comprised of Tony Castell (bass), Dominique Favez (guitar) and Stefan Schwarzmann (drums). Catchy tunes are all over the place with this release and you will find it something that you will spin more than once but on the opposite side, there is nothing that will blow your mind on the album either. I liked the opening few tracks as they set the direction of the piece and could have sworn when I listened to "Angel Of My Dreams" that I was listening to a follow up to "Screamin' In The Night". The similarity play did not end there for when "Love Will Survive" began, it used the same riff that their rendition of "American Woman" did so I was convinced the band did this on purpose to see if the fans were paying attention.

It's a decent enough album to give a chance to because any musician that can keep doing this in the ever-changing climate of the business surely deserves a little accommodation from the Rockers of the world. Krokus is still a sensation in their home country Switzerland, and has a solid live recording titled Fire & Gasoline. If you don't have a copy of Headhunter yet, be sure to order one as it's a keeper. Then you can look into this release to see what they are doing now.

» Reader Comments:

Krokus: Hellraiser
Posted by R. Schmidig on 2006-11-02 07:41:50
My Score:

Switzerland and Sweden are the same country. Thank you very much Mr. Review to enlighten me.

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