Krokus
"Hoodoo"

(Sony Music Entertainment 2010)Krokus - Hoodoo

Alright kiddies, I have to be straight with you here right at the top. I'm pretty well versed in metal and whatnot, but I'm almost entirely unfamiliar with Krokus. Sure, I've heard of them, and might be tangentially aware of what they generally sound like. But as far as actually ever hearing a Krokus song in my life, as much as I search the recesses of my brain not crammed with Star Wars trivia and comic book minutia, I'm rolling snake eyes. So if you're in the market for an assessment of "Hoodoo" relative to band's not inconsiderable back catalogue, you're out of luck. But if you'd like a totally virgin take on Krokus, and the incredibly long-running Swiss rockers' 16th album, then let's do this.

As far as first impressions go, what immediately springs to mind after just a few minutes of "Hoodoo" is that it sounds an awful lot like AC/DC. And as the album steams along, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with ways to describe it that don't relate to those Australian legends. Krokus have the ballsy, blues-based hard rock formula mastered to the very last note, and frontman Marc Storace's pipes bear an uncanny resemblance to the late Bon Scott. Where Krokus do differentiate themselves slightly are cosmetic touches, baring more teeth in the same way that a band like Cinderella had slightly more bite than their fey hair metal brethren. Mostly, though, "Hoodoo" offers up some standard hard rock tropes: there're the fiery hard chargers ("Drive it In," "Firestar"), peppy mid-paced boot-bouncers ("Too Hot"), and the ever-popular power ballad, although this one ("Ride Into the Sun") is considerably less weepy than most. Plus there's a cover of "Born to be Wild," if that sounds like something you'd be interested in.

People who groove on bare bones hard rock will find this easy to chew on, and "Hoodoo" should tide over fans of AC/DC until the Thunder(struck) from Down Under release their next album. This is a good-timey keg tapper of a record, but it's not going to lodge itself in my brain between the name of Jabba the Hutt's pet (Salacious Crumb) and what the "Z" in Shazam stands for (Zeus' power).

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