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Krokus: Headhunter/The Blitz

Two albums that show very different sides to 80s metal.

Marc Storace, the preening Maltese singer of Krokus, was one of the great characters of early 80s metal. Cocky and possessed of leather lungs to match his trousers, he fronted the band to a considerable rise and fall that is encapsulated by these two reissues.

The first, 1983’s Headhunter (710) a critical and commercial high, and The Blitz (510), which suffered from the departure of the band’s leader and creative heart Chris Von Rohr.

Headhunter first then, and here were Krokus in their pomp, Storace opening proceedings with a bloodcurdling scream. Judas Priest producer Tom Allom didn’t exactly have to stretch to twiddle Screaming In The Night into shape, and Ready To Burn could easily be a British Steel out-take (Rob Halford appears on backing vocals, perhaps to show there were no hard feelings). Headhunter may be derivative, but it has the rushing internal energy of a hungry band. The record went platinum and the fall-out was catastrophic.

Von Rohr may have been the bass player but he was more Steve Harris than Derek Smalls, and with him went creative coherence. In its place on The Blitz was a strained and strenuous push for sales, with Bruce Fairbairn as producer and songs written by Bryan Adams (Boys Nite Out) and Sweet (a cover of Ballroom Blitz).