For those of you who don’t already know CHROME DIVISION is a project of Shagrath, the lead vocalist of symphonic black metal band DIMMU BORGIR. Formed in 2004, they are now on album number four, Infernal Rock Eternal, out January 21 via Nuclear Blast Records. Heavily steeped in motorcycle outlaw culture, this band is equal parts sleaze rock and dirty blues-based metal. One obvious comparison would be Motörhead, I guess. I’ve never listened to CHROME DIVISION, so I’m reviewing this as a first-timer.
Right away the talk box-infused guitar on opener “Endless Nights” had my attention because I’m a sucker for that sort of thing. I will say this, however. Vocalist Shady Blue might have to grow on you. I wasn’t thrilled with him at first, either. He’s really gruff, bordering on abrasive at first listen, but don’t rush to turn it off. Give it a minute. He finds his footing, as does the rest of the band on “(She’s) Hot Tonight” and “The Absinthe Voyage”, two rockers that will have feets a-tappin’ as will “No Bet For Free” which easily conjures up comparisons to Lemmy’s band.
The guitars are layered on thick for “On the Run Again” going more mid-tempo with Blue sounding close to his best. Not quite though, as high-octane closer “OI” gets the best out of him and the others, and is my favorite song on the disc. “You’re Dead Now” features some fancy licks and chunky riffs, thus making it yet another standout for me. And of course, the balls-out speed and attitude of both “Reaper On the Hunt” and “Mistress In Madness” are a welcome addition on this mostly good collection of songs. I say mostly, because there were one or two I just wasn’t bowled over by.
The first of these is “The Moonshine Years” which is somewhat of a stoner/doom/sludge type of song that I just could not get into at all, despite repeated listens. The other is “Lady of Perpetual Sorrow”. Now I’m sure when they were writing it their hearts were in the right place. I just don’t think this is a band that should do anything remotely resembling a ballad, and at 5:33 it really felt like it was taking forever to finish.
So to sum it up, CHROME DIVISION is pretty, pretty good. If you like your rock and roll dirty, greasy, and deep-fried, with a shot of whiskey, then Infernal Rock Eternal is an album for you. I also think that when they stick to what works they do it very well. Check it out and see what you think.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “OI”, “On the Run Again”, “(She’s) Hot Tonight”, “You’re Dead Now”