February , 1984
By David Huff
Krokus Screaming Vengeance Into The Night
Wherever you look, whatever you listen to, this heavy-handed pulsating sound is all around you. Like one of the cycles of the moon, this glorified art form of banging guitars, crashing drums and screeching vocals has come full circle to shine brightly on today's music industry.
From once taboo to definitely ‘in’, this hard rocking genre is enjoying its greatest heyday since the Led Zeppelin / Deep Purple days. It has become so popular, that Quiet Riot’s Metal Health rocker managed to knock Michael Jackson’s epic Thriller from the top spot on the Billboard charts for a brief time. Yes head banging music with screeching guitars and screaming vocals are in vogue again. One group reaping the rewards from this rock insurgence is a five-man band from Switzerland, Krokus.
"Yes, there is a tremendous upsurge in heavy metal today," agreed guitarist Fernando Von Arb, about the mystifying mood swing the music industry has taken this past year.
"We started in 1975 when heavy metal was in a downslide. It forged to the forefront for a while, but then slid back down again. During all this transition the industry was going through, we never changed our style of music. Everything that has been happening right now we've prepared ourselves a long time for it to happen. And it certainly is, wouldn't you say?"
Krokus' offering to the heavy metal explosion last year was the album, Headhunter, which became the band's first gold album in America. It also spawned the hit single "Screaming in the Night."
"Heavy metal will never disappear," proclaimed Von Arb in his Spanish/ Swiss accent. "The music that we play comes and goes like waves. It is a forward and backward motion constantly rolling along waiting to make a big splash. That splash has become a tidal wave today.
"The desire for rock music. the search for heavy metal is always left up to the new generations to find. Today’s era of hard rock fans has recreated the heavy metal phenomenon that lied dormant for years. Some bands are capitalizing on it, like ourselves, and rightly so. Others were in retreat because of it. Whatever the reason, the music is back and here to stay.
"There will never he a second Led Zeppelin. There could never be. In a way, there will always be new and upcoming bands to replace the old ones. It’s just like there’s new fans of music replacing the generation of fans who feel they are too old to go to concerts. Every year is a new year. That’s the way you have to look at this business if you want to survive. And we intend to do just that.”
It is hard to ignore the giant shadows of rock’s legendary greats, and the enormous influence they had on a generation of fans. Though many of the great one’s have long since disbanded, their music lives on. Von Arb says that even though Krokus feels the presence of rocks past immortals, they don't feel caught up in its wake.
"America is so big,” he proclaimed, “it takes more time for something to take a hold on here. That's why heavy metal is like a phenomenon all of the sudden. Krokus is a European band. We are always aware of what is taking place in that part of the world. English people don't even keep up with what is going on in their country anymore because so many things happen there in a three-month period.
“Different waves of music are constantly coming and going leaving a host of bands in their wake. Often times they are just strange and bizarre acts they become niche players in the musical roulette wheel. These quirky types of acts are never successful in the U.S. because your radio programming is so structured. You have to get used to them over here first, then you like them. Whatever is successful in Europe doesn’t necessarily translate musically to people in America. There’s no way you can ship them off here with the belief the music will work out. It just doesn’t happen here.”
Music is a universal language that breaks through all barriers. However, a lot of it depends upon the type that is played. Von Arb agrees.
"You must remember," he chimed in, "that there are many people and many cultures around the world. Because of the lifestyles in this country and in Europe, there will always be a difference between America and England, America and Germany, America and Spain, etc.
“It goes along the same principle as the difference between the lifestyles of the North and the South, or the East Coast and West Coast, in your own country. What may seem normal in one place would seem odd in another. Think about music in those terms and you will see exactly what I’m talking about.”