It might come as a surprise that in the year 2013 Krokus—yes, that Krokus—have released a new album. And what might be even more surprising, at least to someone not in the know—such as myself—is that said album isn’t just some sort of reunion effort but rather the latest in a long string of releases, dating back to the year 1976. That’s right, Krokus—a band that I thought hadn’t existed since the pinup pages of ‘80s metal magazines like, Metal Edge, Circus and Hit Parader, where they appeared alongside the likes Keel, Rough Cutt, King Kobra and countless others—never actually went away. As it turns out, Dirty Dynamite is the 17th—yes, 17th!— Krokus record to date. And here’s another surprising thing: it’s pretty damn good.
It kicks off with the aptly-titled “Hallelujah Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Celebrating the glory of good old rock ‘n’ roll, the song is a lively, blues riff-orientated jam that pretty much sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Go Baby Go” is as fist-pump-worthy a hard rock song as there ever has been. It comes complete with a Chuck Berry-eque guitar solo that you’ll swear you’ve heard a million times before but will still love nonetheless. Throw in the totally shout-able chorus of, “GO! GO! Baby, GO!” and you’ve got yourself the best song ever written. And believe me, this ones been written plenty of times already. Similarly, the opening lines of “Rattlesnake Rumble” are, “Honey I’ve been here before…” And, well, yeah, we’ve all been here before. But goddamn, if isn’t a great place to be. In an age where everything has been sub-genred to death, it’s easy to forget about the simple pleasures archetypal rock ‘n’ roll.
I don’t believe there’s any intentional copycatting going on here, but with their dirty amalgamation of rhythm & blues, heavy metal and no frills rock music, Krokus’ striking resemblance to all things AC/DC is wholly unavoidable. I’m old enough (unfortunately) to remember when Cinderella’s Tom Keifer had to fend off the same comparison, so I feel kind of bad saying it—although, I suspect at 17 albums, I’m not the first—but lead vocalist Marc Storace sounds pretty much like a Brian Johnson replica.
Alas, there are a lot worse crimes than sounding like AC/DC. In fact, that's not really a crime at all!
Despite hitting a slight speed bump with the Nelson-ish ballad, “Help,” the album finishes out really strong. Songs “Live Ma Life” and “Hardrocking Man” combine elements of electric blues and ‘80s Sunset Strip-era hair metal with unpretentious lyrics for a rollicking end. These two songs, placed back to back, are a perfect summation of the record’s overall tone.
The album’s strongest suit is its subtle accessibility - it's a bunch of rock 'n' roll songs about, well, rock 'n' roll. Even if it’s not your thing, if you heard in someone else’s car or in a pub you probably wouldn’t be annoyed by it. You might even be caught nodding your head or playing air guitar. Dirty Dynamite invokes imageries of pool hall juke boxes and cover bands playing rural dive bars just as much as it does swashbuckling pirate-rockers, bouncing around large stages in European arenas.
7.0 / 10
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