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Album Reviews : Krokus – Big Rocks

By on February 4, 2017

636156576436485535Spanning a career of over 40 years, Swiss Heavy Metal outfit Krokus have seemingly done it all; now onto their 18th effort they bring us an album consisting entirely of cover songs titled ‘Big Rocks’.

The albums intent is to pay homage to all the artists that have influenced the band in some form over the years, containing songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath and The Who.

The art of recording the perfect cover song has always been difficult, and it tends to attract its fair share of criticism, but Krokus are no strangers to this, having added a cover to each of their last 2 albums.

‘Big Rocks’ starts off with an instrumental version of Black Sabbath’s ‘N.I.B’, although only 1 minute in length it works as a great intro, and finishes with a spine-tingling, original solo. This song really gives you the impression that this album is going to bring it all, with enough creativity to change the songs up, but still similar enough to pay respects to the original artists – unfortunately for me, this is where everything starts to fall apart.

The next couple of tracks start to feel a bit ‘same old’. The song choices don’t seem to be fantastic, and there isn’t anything that comes across as fresh or innovative. In saying that, Krokus have successfully added their well known big sound to each track, filling the songs with layers of guitars, and of course Marc Storace’s Bon Scott-like vocals.

A compilation of covers would not be complete without a Led Zeppelin tune, even though these are usually the most difficult, because how do you cover a song that is already perfect? Krokus’ version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ comes off as a pure copy of the original, even to the extent that Storace’s vocals can be likened to that off the great Robert Plant. Unfortunately you’re never going to live up to the expectations of the almighty Zeppelin, and the cover renders itself a bit pointless by simply being a worse version of the original.

The tracks from here move in to a ‘more of the same’ vibe, and although the songs come off as enjoyable, there doesn’t seem to be enough creativity to spark your interest. An exception to this comes with ‘Quinn the Eskimo’, in which the heavier style works perfectly, a song in which the band has put effort into re-working the riff and adding their own touches throughout. This is the style of cover that I was really expecting across the entire album- getting a sense of the artists expressing themselves within the music and those unexpected turns that can leave you astounded. In this particular case, Krokus have only put their emphasis on creating a heavier atmosphere.

For Heavy Metal purists, Krokus have chosen to add some little Easter Eggs throughout this album. One example can be heard at the start of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ which contains the famous wailing from the opening of ‘Immigrant Song’. It comes off as a really nice touch for the album, as for the others, I’ll leave them for you to find.

‘Big Rocks’ comes to a close with ‘Backseat Rock N’ Roll’, a song originally recorded in 1980 by Krokus themselves, and really shows where the band has come in 40 years – albeit with around 25 different line-up changes. It works as a meaningful closer for the album, especially for long time Krokus fans.

This album may not have set the world on fire, but is still definitely an enjoyable listen. It would be a great album to put on when hanging out with a few mates, perhaps having a barbecue and a couple of ice cold beers. Not the ideal album for anyone on the hunt for something new and exciting, just a couple of guys playing songs they love from bands that helped them forge their careers.

Band: Krokus
Album: Big Rocks
Year: 2017
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Century Media EU
Origin: Switzerland