HardReviews
by Martin Popoff
www.martinpopoff.com

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Fresh Metal

KROKUS
Hoodoo (Sony/RED)

Already firing on all guns with '06's Hellraiser, Marc Storace raises the ante and rehabilitates the band's classic lineup for a record that is rock-solid but easily digestible, and even a little unexpected in its clean sheen and simplicity. It's almost as if egos and backbench brawls have been put aside within the band and between the band and its competitors for relevance in a much heavier modern day. Hoodoo is like a Protooled One Vice At A Time, a near Great White-meets-Status Quo head-nodding churn of heavy party boogie that goes straight for the booze cabinet but after a guilt-dissipating workout. The bad hair metal years aren't addressed, nor is the Priest-emulating Headhunter era. No, Hoodoo is a celebration of that thing Krokus hammered away at in all the records before, a sort of Rose Tattoo-ed AC/DC, but now it's smart, direct, sort of Ballbreaker/Point Of Entry-ish, and fabulously loveable track after track, especially through those irresistibly weird chords of 'Too Hot', the swamp boogie of 'Hoodoo Woman' and the massive attack of opener 'Drive It In'. Much of the rest is pure AC/DC worship, less impressive because it's charmingly unambitious, but with Krokus, that's close comfort and home cooking.
Rating 7.5

PICTURE
Old Dogs New Tricks (Marsmountains)

Bloody 'ell, love how all these old acts not so obscure for us hoary metalheads in the mid '80s are coming back, miraculously with fully legitimate lineups (see Krokus). Well, Picture was a six record Dutch contingent that took a few records to get its sea legs, plus stumbled late, but nonetheless gave us a couple wallopers in Diamond Dreamer and Eternal Dark. Now they return and the sound is true, blue and tattooed, only conspicuously cheap of production, unfortunately. The production herein enclosed goes for the smoke-choked grit of Eternal Dark but lacks the expensive vibe that over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder sent out in solemn black waves. Fortunately the songs are grinding old school Eurometal of all speeds, along the lines of old Picture's non-power metal persuasion, their plod and growl malevolent like that of Grave Digger and Accept, Pete Lovell's voice passionate but desperate like David Coverdale auditioning for Oz or Torch or Axewitch or some damn thing. Ergo, Old Dogs New Tricks (no new tricks here, thankfully) finds the band zoning in smartly on the superlative Eternal Dark incarnation, even if there's a little more universality and maturity of theme here. Fully two points docked (like Dokken) 'cos of the battered drum production.
Rating 7

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