I like all sorts of music, from jazz to early rock and roll to standards to metal. And, when it comes to metal, I particularly enjoy metal with a groove. For our purposes we'll call it "bop-metal" (yet another sub-genre?). I like to bang my head with the best of them but metal you can also bounce to really turns me on. That leads me to this week's review.
Ok, all you metal-heads out there. Are you ready for some good, old-fashioned metal with a Southern rock feel. Then allow me to introduce you to the latest release from Chrome Division, "Infernal Rock Eternal". Wait, they're from Norway? No way! Norway? Are you sure? Ok, Norway it is.
As you may have guessed, I listened to the album before I read Chrome Division's bio. This is not your typical Norwegian metal group. There's a lot less death and a lot more fun on this record. The songs are generally about the open road, the ladies, and rock and roll with a little violence thrown in for good measure.
This album is heavy like metal but groovy, like rock. The vocals are occasionally doubled for a good harmony effect. There's more cowbell, heck, they even use one of those mouth effects for the guitar like Mick Mars used on Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart". Yeah, one of those things. But, make no mistake, Motley Crue they are not.
Chrome Division is a five piece group made up of members of several other bands. We have Shady Blue (aka Atherea) on vocals (also of Susperia), Kjell Aage Karlsen (aka Damage) on the lead guitar (also of Gromth), Stian Tomt Thoresen (aka Shagrath) on rhythm guitar (also of Dimmu Boygir), a fellow named Ogee (also of Shot At Dawn) on bass and Tony White (previously of Old Man's Child) rounding out the lineup on drums.
The album kicks off with the short acoustic instrumental "Good Morning Riot" before kicking into track two, "Endless Nights". That's one of the songs where the mouthpiece guitar thing comes in and it's got some real bounce to it. The guitars are down-tuned and the drums pound along creating the aforementioned "groove".
Shady Blue has a down and dirty, rock voice that reaches way down to a menacing growl from time to time without losing the melody of the lyrics. It's a great metal voice with no hint of a Norwegian accent. That's one of the reasons I first assumed these were some good ol' boys from the Southern US.
As far as comparisons go, there's a similarity to Black Label Society but clearly an 80's rock influence as well. Chrome Division does a nice job of creating simple songs with some pretty creative hooks. I especially liked the fact that they didn't feel the need to fill the empty space between the notes with unnecessary chugging or "noodling". Think Judas Priest as opposed to Iron Maiden.Simple rhythms but no less enjoyable.
There are a few gems on this record. A few I particularly enjoyed were "Endless Nights", "On The Run Again" and "You're Dead Now". The final track, "Ol", is a musical powerhouse with a Motorhead feel to it and really drives "Infernal Rock Eternal" home.
This album is fun. Not every song will blow you away but they are all enjoyable and don't make you feel like you want to skip to the next track. As I mentioned at the beginning, I like metal with a bounce and "Infernal Rock Eternal" delivers with every cut. So, if you're in the mood to get your groove on then this latest offering from Chrome Division is worth your time.