4 out of 5 Stars!
Although I was never a huge fan of Switzerland’s Krokus, feeling the band’s albums to be horribly inconsistent with silly lyrics, hackneyed riffs, and often tame production, with the group usually coming across like a second-rate version of AC/DC, 1983’s Headhunter certainly packed a mighty wallop and finally had me sitting up to take notice.
Here, with Krokus expanding its AC/DC-influenced sound and writing truly exemplary head-banging material with more mature lyrics—thundering and catchy tracks such as “Night Wolf,” “Russian Winter,” “Eat the Rich,” “Ready to Burn,” “Stayed Awake All Night,” and the single “Screaming in the Night”—plus adding a take-no-prisoners energy, a more sinister atmosphere, and a richer full-bodied sound (thanks, no doubt, to producer Tom Allom), the upgraded heaviness-factor nearly rivaled that of Germany’s Accept. Hell, the album’s furious and fiery opening track, “Headhunter,” blasts out of the speakers to create pure metal mayhem, instantly becoming a classic of the genre.
Therefore, not only was this my favorite Krokus album by far, but it was also the band’s most commercially successful. To me, considering Krokus’s previous less-than-spectacular platters, Headhunter displayed the group’s amazing transformation from having only a “second-string opening act” ranking to achieving full-blown “potential headliner” status, obviously a giant leap forward in the band’s development.
But unfortunately, Krokus never again matched Headhunter‘s sheer power, and by the time of the next album a year later, the band had already sold out to its newfound commercial success and once again delivered watered-down, inconsistent, and fairly lame material. Needless to say, my interest in the band quickly faded.
And what a shame, since Headhunter—showing the band’s full potential with the right producer at the controls—simply slaughters!