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Articles Home » 1999 Articles » Krokus - 1999 Round 13
Krokus - 1999 Round 13

ARTIST: Krokus
ALBUM: Round 13
LABEL: Angel Air Records
YEAR: 1999


LINEUP: Carl Sentence - vocals * Fernando Von Arb - guitars * Chris Lauper - guitars * Manny Maurer - bass * Peter Haas - drums, loops

TRACK LISTING: 01 Heya * 02 Money Back * 03 Break Free * 04 Guitar Rules * 05 Blood Comes Easy * 06 Suck My Guitar * 07 Gipsy Love * 08 Witchhunt * 09 Backstabber * 10 Wild Times


Does one member have such an impact on a group that without him in the line-up means the energy and the lifeblood is lost? One group that this issue could be a reason for debate is Krokus, with the vocalist Marc Storace being the bone of contention. Although if you consider the facts that he didn't join the Swiss group until they were onto their fourth opus; however his introduction on that album being, 'Metal Rendezvous' did have a very significant impact. So here we are in 1999, another release minus the man with the hairy chest, and this time his place is taken by gun for hire, Carl Sentance, previously a member of Persian Risk but going on to appear in many noticeable projects including 'A Light In The Sky' with Don Airey, the Risk boys had the hopes of a nation on their shoulders in those early days but it failed to bear fruit, especially with the album being released after the group had gone their separate ways. Although they did have many a claim to fame with Phil Campbell who continues to hold down a long residence in Motorhead, and the group actually appearing on the much criticised Channel 4 show ECT. Actually the show wasn't bad, it did include the likes of Warrior, Madam X and Tobruk, never to be seen again on British TV and bet your house on it that that we will never see the likes of it again.

Continuing the TV theme, my first interaction with Krokus was an appearance of 'Rag Dolls, Bad Boys' on Children's Saturday morning riot which was Tiswas, looking back on YouTube, it is quite disturbing with Marc singing about 'Sex Machine etc.' but there again it didn't do me any harm, as a consequence I hurriedly went out and brought the single. Really at that point I carried on purchasing most of the Storace albums but only recently picked up this one, my first non-Storace one, of which there were quite a few. On the whole I am quite impressed with 'Round 13', it contains many good tunes and at times more akin to fellow Swiss band Gotthard than the AC/DC style of old which from as I understand with Alun's review of 'Stampede' (1990) they did concentrate on especially with their strive for a Brian Johnson sound-alike in their ranks. Yes of course it has the Aussie's influence but also contains many more, in fact more like the amount of different species of moths you find in an acre of Yorkshire moorland (which I understand can be up to 30), for instance with the track 'Gipsy Love' there is some definite Glenn Hughes worshipping going on, but enough of the opening sermon lets crack on.

The Songs
The bell goes for round 1, and straight out of the corner is 'Heya', with its African rhythms so obvious means a connection with House of Shakira, anyway a classy opening tune which you can imagine is very catchy. I would also be unsurprised if it had popped up onto any Gillan album. The pace is just right to open an album like how Judas Priest used 'Out In The Cold' as their sedate opening on their 'Turbo' tour, an interesting angle.

Much more straight-ahead and just a touch 'cheesy' is 'Money Back' which portrays the band having lost out at the hands of a dodgy accountant (a downright libellous thing to say being an accountant myself!) or a manager, whatever, what makes it so memorable is that the somewhat pretty ordinary strap line does work amazingly well. More sleaze in the verses, and not necessary coming from that genre, but by coincidence reminds me of Sleeze Beez (whatever happened to them?). But it becomes a well identified song and I assure you it will become a part of your bank of songs in your head and a useful signature tune for all UK citizens currently being governed by the Coalition.

'Break Free' has a real Winger feel to it, this being a good indication because the chorus is also first class and equal to what Kip managed on their excellent self-titled or from' In The Heart Of The Young'. The chant chorus is well done although Sentance part in this sounds just a bit whiney? A case of too much Californian beaches, rather than green fields of England. Oh well it still doesn't distract that the song is a winner.

The good times roll with 'Guitar Rules', yes which I can agree with that statement and this time it's more blues fused guitar that pushes into a more powerful arena, even crossing into Britny Fox mixed with Orange Goblin, an instance of beauty and the beast linking these two. It gives the impression while the guitar rules it's only likely going to have seconds to live before it crashes onto the studio floor, Pete Townsend style.

Quality continues with 'Blood Comes Easy' which has a well-defined Krokus riff, leading into a Flash In The Pan vocal effect, before a Def Leppard style chorus, which is one the supreme parts of the album. A stunning display of Swiss sweetness, excellent stuff.

The guitar devotion continues with 'Suck My Guitar', even Bon Scott and Angus Young never come up with that analogy; this combines a great pre-chorus with a simplistic chorus which does the trick without getting tied up in knots. Add some Ritchie Blackmore to the chorus, although you will miss it if you blink, a song title that will probably be up for consideration by the censors.

I have already touched upon 'Gipsy Love' earlier in the background. This shows a drop down in momentum and benefits from it, pushing Glenn Hughes to the max. It appeals to me and manifests into a Deep Purple stomp.

Although of course I have mention our Antipodeans cousins, being the remarkable AC/DC but not in referring to an actual tune, well finally hitting number 8 we come home, plus with many of the tunes bringing up the helm have their influence. Here we have 'Witchhunt', Ok this may have not the historical accuracies of Cathedral's, 'North Berwick Witch Trails' but it is still a credible stab at recreating history, AC/DC history that is and in some way Krokus themselves. This style is cemented with 'Backstabber' adding some ZZ Top to the water to make the album that bit harder.

In Summary
So after 13 rounds, does it provide a knockout blow, well no, but I would certainly give them a win on a unanimous point's decision. Although I suppose in some way I'm disappointed that the album finally takes the assumed direction, because I do like the more individual style of a good portion of the album. In saying that the more traditional ones are well recorded and shows that Krokus could survive without Storace musically but financially is a different matter, when in this day and age 'original' always brings in more money that 'originality' in terms of classic rock music.

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