Holy Momma! Just reviewed the newest AC/DC record of the year of the lord 2014. I was kind of looking for some electrical charge in there (not even supercharge, mind you) and not finding it.
And here I start on my newest copy from the Swiss Band Krokus and their 2013 album Dirty Dynamite and – wham – I am clinging to the wall, being hurled there by some stellar metal style Hard Rock. Slam – Bang!! Just wanted to have a little midnight music kind of thing. And now this! This is just rockingfuckinggood!!
And this is what was expected from the AC/DC soldiers for their somewhat wrecked 2014 record. Yet here I get it from good old ‘Krokus‘ – done and demonstrated already one year earlier. However, it needs to be said, they push their AC/DC sound-alike drive almost too far in this album. Some of those tracks are dangerously close to the Bon Scott era – for example Let the Good Times Roll. ‘Cut the crap‘ alright, as the first line of lyrics says. Hmm.
True to their style, never erring for the last – what – 30 years or so, they deliver good, solid Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Nothing wrong with fueling the same style, if you are good at it. And I really love it when people call this Blues Rock. There is no Blues Rock in there. Just go ahead and listen to some Led Zeppelin, if you want that. Albeit, there is some Southern Comfort in some of the tracks, all New Orleans style influences mixed into this rough Hard Rock of theirs.
This new album also heralds the return of Mandy Meyer as a new guitarist, who was part of this outfit many moons ago. This means that we have a mighty portion of electric guitars trying not to get themselves into a mess too much. Some challenge!
And don’t go looking for a lot of wisdom in lyrics. Ain’t gonna happen for this genre and we should not judge them by this kind of benchmark. Down and dirty, sometimes sexist stuff – crunchy, blunt, rough and simple. Just the way we like it. If you purists want some wisdom, check out some Passenger. You will get insight, but no Metal or Hard Rock. Be careful what you wish for!
And the same goes with the album art. I really like the ‘Dög’, as they call it and the kind of grouchy and rebel way they put their message across. Okay, agreed! Not very intellectual that and kind of what sticks to the sole of your shoes. But some of that is short of flipping the finger at some of these silly rules we have to abide by every day of our lives. And indeed, we have too many rules. Only god knows where this will lead us.
Krokus delivered a step up to their former production Hoodoo, increased quality, speed, energy, you name it. This is the kind of thing we want to see and I hope they can keep it up for the coming record they are hopefully going to produce.
However and not quite surprisingly, Dirty Dynamite did not get to platinum stage in Switzerland. Whereas it hit the Swiss chart at rank # 1 again, it did not resound too well in the rest of Europe. And less so in the United States. On the other hand, it got into the top 20 of the German charts, which is a first. Also, the French chart position improved drastically. The reason for all this is that Hoodoo was – whilst getting some seniority sign-in bonus – not that great of a production. Hence less people actually getting on this one straight, whereas Krokus was able to increase their overall spread of popularity.
It starts out with Hallelujah Rock’n’Roll – maybe not the most inspiring of titles, but once you listen to it, you get it. Rattlesnake Rumble, Dirty Dynamite – the song and Let the Good Times Roll add enough spice to this album to really get your attention all right.
But then, again, they insert this rock ballad style remake of the Beatles song ‘Help!’. And indeed, true to its name you wanna run away and get some .. help. Yelping away at somebody’s old song will not help you along. Good gracious! Not an epic fail, but it should not be there. Want to do a rock ballad, do one of your own. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal bands usually produce the best ballads in the world, so why not just go for it? Bitch, please.
From then on the tracks kind of resemble themselves in speed and structure. And again, it gets eerily close to their Aussie friends, so not sure on whose territory they are on for some of these tracks. The better tracks on this second half are Better Than Sex and Dög Song.
Hard sounding guitar play, no nonsense drum work, speed and energy fuel this album full of rough, blunt and very politically incorrect Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. This is how Krokus sounds these days.
Dirty Dynamite would probably rival a Metal Rendez-Vous. But it for sure does not live up to the standards of the 1983 record Headhunter. It is beyond me why they try so hard to be a Bon Scott sound-alike and want to reinterpret old songs from other bands a long time past.
It would behoove them to get some creativity back into their tune, whilst keeping up the energy and oomph they have developed over the last years. However, this is still a very good and crunchy album true to their style and trade.