Tuesday, 28 January 2014
Review; Chrome Division - Infernal Rock Eternal
1. Good Morning Riot
2. Endless Nights
3. (She's) Hot Tonight
4. The Absinthe Voyage
5. Lady Of Perpetual Sorrow
6. The Moonshine Years
7. No Bet For Free
8. On The Run Again
9. Mistress In Madness
10. Reaper On The Hunt
11. You're Dead Now
Chrome Division, for those of you not familiar with the band, is the booze-loving, strip-club-soundtrack, biker Metal side project of Dimmu Borgir frontman Shagrath. This year marks the advent of their fourth record of Motorhead meets Black Label Society stylings. This isn't a band I've got too much experience of (I've always stuck to Dimmu, to be honest) but I felt like diving into this release, and giving it a write-up. So, on that unprofessional note, let's don the leather jackets and get into it.
After the typical but unexpectedly serene intro of 'Good Morning Riot', 'Endless Nights' kicks in with a talkbox riff and a big stomp that immediately brings almost every great, classic rock band to mind. This is clearly a package that pays homage to, plays with, and puts a modern spin on the most tried-and-true Metal styles. It's unmistakably catchy right from the off, and would work as a good soundtrack to any bourbon-fuelled party. However, it's too derivative for me to take seriously to any degree.
'(She's) Hot Tonight' moves things on equally predictably. First thing entering my mind is that if Airbourne can be called an AC/DC clone, then Chrome Division is the illegitimate child of Motley Crue and Motorhead. If you want to bang your head for the hell of it, drive as fast as you can without getting killed, play air guitar, or practice guitar jumps off your bed, this is the kind of song you'd do it to. 'The Absinthe Voyage' starts with a cheesy sort of grandeur in it's build-up, then it's business as usual; gruff singing, meat-and-potatoes riffing, steady drums, and some flashy guitar solos here and there. It's worth noting that the musicianship on show here is actually very good, especially the guitar leads from Kjell Karlsen.
The sound is crisp and tight, as it should be, and the feel-good vibes ooze from the speakers constantly, though 'Lady of Perpetual Sorrow' is more like a ballad, and a good one at that. It's hard to think of things to say about Chrome Division, to be honest, because it is exactly what you expect! When I say they have a ballad, you can be assured it's more beer-soaked than it is a puddle of tears. This is an album that recalls Rock 'N' Roll at it's most brash and proud; the grit, the arrogant swagger, the drink-and-smoke aura, and the fuck-you attitude - it's all present. 'The Moonshine Years' shows all of these traits, and does so with style.
'No Bet For Free' could've easily been a Motorhead song. The riff at the start reeks of the Motorhead classic 'Bomber'. Pal "Shady Blue" Mathiesen's vocals carry this album to a great deal. The style he puts into every line does conjure up images of somebody trying to imitate the greats, but there's something that Mathiesen does that just sells it really well, and in the best way. I'll be damned if I know exactly what it is, but he does it well. 'On The Run Again' starts out like Load and Reload era Metallica. Shagrath's role on rhythm guitar is not to be understated - he keeps the record tied together well, celebrating the greatness of the simplest riffs. Another A-grade guitar solo comes at you in this song.
'Mistress In Madness' was almost 'Overkill' for a good few seconds at the start, due to Tony Kirkemo doing an impression of Phil Taylor on the drums. 'Reaper On The Hunt' has more of the sing-along quality, 'You're Dead Now' is yet another party starter (Not that the party on this album ever ends!). This is all that can really be said about 'Infernal Rock Eternal' - it's a good, fun album that would be brilliant in the car on a summer's day.
The whole album goes to show that there's nothing wrong with the simple thrills that we all got when we first heard AC/DC or Motorhead. We don't always need high concept progressive wizardry, or blasphemous blackened brutality. Simple, balls-out rock music will always have a place in our world, unless you're brain-dead. At least there's a genuine love for our beloved genre's history on show here, and it's not a Steel Panther style parody or cringe-worthy like Chris Jericho's Fozzy. When it comes down to it, this will never be an album of the year, nowhere near; but it is what it is, and the guys in Chrome Division should be proud of that.