HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Krokus - Fire And Gasoline: Live!

It's been out in Europe for awhile, but gladly, America now gets a chance to hear this well-appointed, graphically professional two CD live album, featuring the modern youth-injected Krokus (only guitarist Fernando Von Arb and vocalist Marc Storace remain), blissfully grooving their way through a catalogue rich with songs that mostly could be classified as variants of AC/DC's half dozen or so greatest tricks. But man, Krokus do it up well (makes me think of a similarly age-mixed, similarly really rockin' Saxon). The sound is superlative, the rhythms infectious, Storace in perfect form like 20 years since Headhunter have not passed (more from that album would have been nice - it's statistically the fan fave, although I'm glad the hair metal-era songs are ignored). The crowd roars throughout, sometimes suspiciously like it's "poured in" - I have little concept of the band's fame o'er there, so this is either very real, very faked or somewhat faked. Weird, some of the swells seem to be in place, others like the punters are hearing another song. Putting that aside though, Fire And Gasoline is a perfect summer rock collection, the newer songs from the lost '90s dovetailing perfectly with the old grime-faced boogie rockers, like I say, Storace (now 30 years in the business, back to the first of three Tea records in '74) sounding like a friggin' 20-year-old shaken to the core by the fresh idea of Quo-faced boogie juiced by American metal.
Rating 8

Ministry - Houses Of The Mole

That's Mole with an accent, which makes a nice Led Zeppelin pun. In any event, this is miles from Zeppelin, bleakhouser Al Jourgensen (noticeably without Paul Barker) coming up with a barnstormer of a record often closer to thrash metal (and old Earache grind of the doomy variety) than industrial, although there are always scratchy, difficult, insecticide-drinking textures to remind the listener that Ministry can only be a complex hybrid, not to mention lurching stops and starts to evoke the chaos that is war-evading channel-changing junk culture. Cool record, and very accessible, more so than even Psalm 69, even as it references that album with some of the speeds and vocal phrasings. But the central thrust of the album is aimed squarely at George Bush, samples from the master plan man on full display, as well as snippets of those infected with the same zealotry.
Rating 7.5

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