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Krokus - 1981 Hardware

ARTIST: Krokus
ALBUM: Hardware
LABEL: Ariola
SERIAL: 203 322 (Switz), OL 1508 (Nth America)
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1998, BMG Ariola, 253 322


LINEUP: Marc Storace - vocals * Fernando Von Arb - guitar * Tommy Kiefer - guitar * Chris Von Rohr - bass * Freddy Steady - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Celebration * 02 Easy Rocker * 03 Smelly Nelly * 04 Mr 69 * 05 She's Got Everything * 06 Burning Bones * 07 Rock City * 08 Winning Man * 09 Mad Rocket


Having made their elusive breakthrough with 1980's 'Metal Rendezvous' Krokus didn't take long following up, with 'Hardware' expanding on the strength of the previous album. For me Krokus could do no wrong from 1980-84 and despite the constant AC/DC rip off accusations being hurled at them, I'd say their albums were more consistent in that period than anything from the Aussies. The lineup hadn't changed which helped and you can hear the improved production and cohesion amongst the band. It seemed Krokus were straddling the line between heavy metal and boogie, but they easily fit into the denim and leather movement of the early 80's, true metal heroes to many a headbanging youth. This album provided some interesting variations and is hardly one dimensional, an aspect people seem to overlook about Krokus.

The Songs
'Celebration' is far from a blazing opener, quietly taking its time developing into a seriously toned chorus with aspirations on being an uplifting anthem with a victorious hook. I'd sooner hear this than 'We Are the Champions' anyway.. 'Easy Rocker' fits into a NWOBHM mold, with galloping riffs rather than three chord bludgeon. The lyrics about some homeless rocker hanging out waiting to meet the band have a unique charm, hardly the work of a copycat band. The crude antics and lyrics of 'Smelly Nelly' are as politically incorrect as it gets, recalling a time when such behavior wasn't frowned upon. The riffs have a 70's hard rock feel, with the vocal effects in the verses making Storace sound like Udo from Accept. The title of 'Mr. 69' leaves nothing to the imagination, this a boogie workout which rates with the best of 70's AC/DC. Let's face it, AC/DC themselves sounded nothing like the band of old on the first two Brian Johnson albums and Krokus make a fool of them with this onslaught. The surging 'She's Got Everything' isn't dissimilar, with a guitar breakdown which is clearly a copy of Deep Purple's 'Burn'. The energy can't be ignored, these guys were obviously inspired when they recorded this. Both 'Burning Bones' and 'Rock City' are slower, with the boogie riffs so commonly heard in those days. Krokus did it better than most though, but it's possible to hear shades of Kiss on 'Burning Bones'. Quite a departure is the brooding and tense 'Winning Man' with its steady buildup resulting in a track of some power. Why they decided to record it again on 1988's 'Heart Attack' I have no idea, it never came close to the original. 'Mad Racket' is a stomping way to end the album, a track on par with the heaviest of Rose Tattoo, which is a high accolade. The lyric 'he's a transvestite, he's a fag' would be denounced by the entire world if it was recorded in this feeble day and age.

In Summary
This album shows the leaps and bounds Krokus had made since Storace joined. The awkward early albums were a good starting point, but here the band had identified a certain sound and were truly on their way to perfecting it. Of course Krokus would chop and change their style in the 80's, but along with 'One Vice At A Time' and 'Headhunter' this captures them at their best. This was also before the cover tracks that seemed obligatory on every album following, another reason 'Hardware' rates as a Krokus classic.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on August 29 2013 19:13:39
'Easy Rocker' is fantastic. I still remember the video being shown on the kids TV show 'Tiswas' one Saturday morning.

Re the un PC lyrics, Storace once told me he used to get as "red as a beetroot" singing the lyrics, but I think they were all in on the laugh they were having in all honesty.
#2 | sabace on August 29 2013 19:42:13
decent lp not a patch on rendezvous lp
#3 | Eric on August 29 2013 21:18:45
Agree, not as good as 'Metal Rendez-vous' but 'Burning Bones' is one of the best tunes they ever committed to tape.
#4 | melodiapositiva on January 10 2017 18:36:20
Much weaker than metal rendez vous,definetly they are better doing their own thing instead of copying AC/CD .

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