Krokus – “One Vice At A Time” (1982)

Krokus!  In the ’80s there were a handful of bands who borrowed significantly from AC/DC, and did it with aplomb.  The Cult did it on their Electric album, Kix did it with Blow My Fuse, and Dirty Looks did it with Cool From The Wire.  Those are just three that come to mind.  Though these records took queues from the classic AC/DC sound, the bands that recorded them added enough of their own signature touches to avoid being wholesale rip-offs.  But Krokus, with their 1982 LP One Vice At A Time, pretty much said “screw it” and went out and made a full-blown AC/DC record!  So, in a year (1982) that did not endow us with a new AC/DC album, Krokus went ahead and made what I believe to be the greatest AC/DC album that AC/DC never recorded!  Original?  Hell no.  Kick-ass?  Yup.

Krokus had their AC/DC moves down pat.  The riffs were pure, high voltage, Young brothers.  The guitar tone on One Vice At A Time had that same vintage AC/DC quality, maybe with a bit more overdrive.  Marc Storace did one helluva Bon Scott impression (I don’t think it was deliberate, Storace just sounded like Bon).  He had more range than Bon, and a fierce scream to boot.  While no one in hard rock history can go toe to toe with Bon Scott in the charisma department, Storace really did an excellent job here.  (Incidentally, here’s how I rank singers in the charisma department: 1. Bon Scott, 2. David Lee Roth, 3. Ozzy Osbourne.)  And heck, lead guitarist Fernando Von Arb played far better solos than Angus Young, adding some ’80s metal moves to his leads.

As for the songs, One Vice At A Time kicks off with a raucous dirty rocker called Long Stick Goes Boom.  Let that one sink in for a second.  That’s right, the song is actually called Long Stick Goes Boom, a premise so retarded it defies scrutiny, and in fact might just be genius.  The party continues with Bad Boys Rag Dolls and Playin’ The Outlaw, two more choice cuts to show that Krokus were unapologeticly plugged in to that AC/DC-circa-Powerage electric outlet.  To The Top and I’m On The Run also rock mightily, both containing memorable chorus refrains.  In fact, the whole album swings a hefty sack of doorknobs.  Only the cover of American Woman seems out-of-place.  I would have preferred another Krokus original over a re-make such as this.

I guess, in the end, you can either dismiss One Vice At A Time as being an unoriginal bastard, and therefore not worth your time, or you can embrace it like a lost AC/DC album.  I fall into the latter category (obviously).  I actually think One Vice At A Time is as good, or better, than any of the ’80s AC/DC albums (except Back In Black, of course).  So, if you want blood… well… (as they say), you’ve got it.  My score: A-

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3 thoughts on “Krokus – “One Vice At A Time” (1982)

  1. This is a excellent record, I never criticized any band for having a album with 1 influence, or 2 influences on a record, or even 3 influences for the matter. As long as the clone factor does not come into play, which it does not here.

    I love the follow up “Headhunter”, which is also a recording I still play a lot, even to this day.

    I have stated this a million times on other forums. I would rather listen to bands, with 1 influence of bands I like, over bands that are original/ experimental/ eclectic, with no understanding of my favorite aspect of songwriting, which I have came to now as a “hook”.

  2. Awww yeah. You couldn’t have said it better or more succinct: This is the lost AC/DC album between “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black”, however, it was released 2 years after BIB, so that’s why it’s “lost”. I always thought Storace was a more articulate Brian Johnson, though. He’s got those rough edges that Bon didn’t seem to have.

    I would also have to agree about “American Woman”. This cover of (Canadian band) The Guess Who falls short. Although I would have to say I never liked the original all that much, either. Even Lenny Kravitz’s version sounds plastic. I blame it on the original’s greasy lead guitar sound. The overdrive and saturation on that guitar is awesome. If you don’t have the grease, it ain’t happenin’. However, their cover of “Stayed Awake All Night” by (Canadian band) Bachman-Turner Overdrive, is actually better than the original.

    I also like how you say the AC/DC sound was copied a lot during the 80s. This was particularly true with a lot of Rick Rubin/George Drakoulious produced albums, including The Cult’s “Electric” (as you state), and also albums in the 90s, including the self-titled Masters of Reality album and The Four Horsemen album, recorded in 1992.

    Thanks for the review!

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