Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986, Arista)
- Long Stick Goes Boom
- Eat The Rich
- Screaming In The Night
- Hot Shot City
- Midnite Maniac
- Bedside Radio
- Lay Me Down
- Stayed Awake All Night
Total Time = 41:59
Krokus is one of those bands that I have been a big fan since the early ’80s and everyone else says, “Who?”. I got into Krokus back in late 1983 with the classic HEADHUNTER album and the two singles/videos ‘Screaming In The Night’ and ‘Eat The Rich’…..they were always on MTV. I had read about the band in Circus and the band was featured regularly so I had another new band to check out. I bought HEADHUNTER and sometime shortly after I picked up thier first three U.S. releases (METAL RENDEZ-VOUS, HARDWARE, ONE VICE AT A TIME) on vinyl in a cut-out bin. None of my friends knew about Krokus, or they thought they sucked, so these Swiss metallers became “my” band. I remember buying THE BLITZ (1984) on the sole basis of the single/video ‘Midnite Maniac’ but the album seemed a little less aggressive then the first four records. That’s when things started to go downhill…..
CHANGE OF ADDRESS was released in 1986 and the band had taken a more commercial Hard Rock sound. Songs like ‘Our Love’ and ‘Burning Up The Night’ were melodic Hard Rock songs trying to capitalize on the Sunset Strip Pop Metal scene, they changed their sound and image, and they became a different band from the one that released the molten Metal of HEADHUNTER 3 years before. I had bought CHANGE OF ADDRESS the week it came out at a local department store, Apex, and was disappointed big time when the first single was a cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’. (It should be noted that Krokus had a habit of including a cover tune on each album when they released ONE VICE AT A TIME in ’82). A few months after the new album’s release, I saw an ad in a magazine for a Krokus live album, I figured this was the last gasp for the band.
I gave Krokus one last shot and picked up ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ a couple of weeks after it came out at my town’s best mom & pop record store: Luke’s Record Exchange. I had walked over there, a little over a mile and a half, with my Walkman and picked it up. I played the tape on the walk back home and I felt a little better about the band. Looking at the tracklist, 4 out of 9 songs were off HEADHUNTER and there was only one track from CHANGE OF ADDRESS (‘Hot Shot City’). There was also a new song too called ‘Lay Me Down’ (that hasn’t appeared on any other album) and it sounded cool live…..there was hope! All the big singles were there from previous albums and it was like a cool greatest hits tape. All the songs sounded great, even ‘Hot Shot City’, so I took another less critical listen to CHANGE OF ADDRESS. Of all the live albums I had at the time, I think ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ was the one live album I carried in my backpack the most during the school year. I listened to it on the walk to and from school, at practice, on the way to friends houses…..it became a soundtrack to part of my freshman year of high school.
Listening to it 22 years after it’s initial release, I find the production a bit thin and the setlist too safe and short. There’s not really much bite to the rhythm section in the mix and Marc Storace is way uo front with the vocals on some songs. The keyboard fills during ‘Hot Shot City’ bothered me then and they still do today because it sounds like they were purposely pushed up to overshadow Fernando Von Arb’s guitar. It almost sounds like they were overdubbed because I don’t remember Krokus using any keyboards live in the concert reviews I read. The album is only 9 songs clocking in at 45 minutes so it’s regular album length when most of the live albums of the time were double albums. Krokus certainly had good material, and they had a new album to tour for, so I’m a little surprised the band didn’t do a couple more CHANGE OF ADDRESS tunes or any of the covers to lengthen the album. It’s sounds like an opening band’s set, not a headliner’s. Back in the mid-80s, everything had to be bigger, better, faster so I don’t understand why they band didn’t follow their peers’ lead. Despite the flaws I hear now, I still enjoy it today because it brings back some great memories of high school and afternoons spent with a bunch of Rock mags and my stereo.