Krokus - Big Rocks

Krokus Big Rocks cover
Big Rocks
Sony Music
Average: 5.3 (110 votes)
Most of the times, the sort of releases like “Big Rocks”, ie cover albums, unless done with a lot of “care” and a true love of the source material, end up sounding like shoddy cheap cash grab actions in between albums, or to fill up the time between albums. Krokus don’t really need an album like that, with the plethora of pretty good numbers they have, but on the other hand, why the heck not, if you’re gonna have a good time doing them, stamp them with you “sound” and make it a labor of love.
Krokus manage most if not all of the above by selecting some nice tracks and pulling them a little out of shape to sound as if “they” had written them. Storace was always known for having that sort of big “Bonnie” sort of vocal, with tons of grit and as soon as he starts singing “Tie Your Mother Down” (by Queen) after a short instrumental intro that’s an expert from Sabbath’s “N.I.B”, you get an idea of how – these songs might have sounded, if in most cases a later day rock band had recorded them. Do they manage to top the originals? Hardly. But that’s not what they set out to do, but to be a playbook of influences and as such it really cuts the mustard. The Who’s “My Generation” gets “teeth” and bites hard, while The Trogg’s “Wild Thing” gets a bit more snazzy, but retains it’s vintage sound too, in a version that sounds like a desert jam in the 70s.
“The House of the Rising Sun”, popularized by The Animals, is done in a gut wrenching way, more akin to earlier versions, but maintaining its characteristic melody. Neil Young’s “Rocking in the Free World” is done in a way bawdier and edgier way that’s actually feels almost natural to it. “Gimme Some Lovin” by Spencer Davis Group (whose riff was later reimagined as a lot of other songs) is also given a new coat of paint and this contemporarization makes it more urgent and virile. “Whole Lotta Love” is probably one of those songs that tons of aspiring musicians have jammed on together and Krokus’ take on the Zeppelin classic is tons of fun, if not a bit more “tame”, but just a bit!
“Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran is another oldie that the band chooses to try out, w/o straying much, just applying a harder edge and works reasonably well, although I doubt it will do for the Swiss what it did for the late Ed. “Born to be Wild” the biker anthem by Steppenwolf, had to be here and yeah it doesn’t disappoint. It’s as predictable, as you’d expect and not as edgy as say the UDO+Raven one, but what the hell…
“The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Escimo)” a song originally written by Bob Dylan, but first released by Manfred Mann is done pretty well, but the further back in time the band goes the harder they find it to do anything than “just play” them songs in a way that compliments Marc’s voice and range. The Rolling Stone’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is another such case…
Last but not least, the band offers a nice original track, driven by a nice meaty riff that goes by the title of “Back Seat Rock N Roll” and could have easily been on an older album or any AC/DC one and no one would have complained at this pretty standard but easy flowing rocker. Intriguingly it clocks at 7 minutes but it’s only a three minutes plus some seconds long… so after a bit of silence, one can hear a completely live rehearsal take of “Baby Please Don’t Go” as popularized by Van Morrison.
The Krok’s manage to do light work of such a banal concept as a cover album, but you know it’s probably the last possible addition I’d make in my collection. On the other hand, since I do have all of them other albums by them, why not?!

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