Chrome Division - 3rd Round Knockout (Nuclear Blast)

Fights, whiskey, bulldogs, monsters, women and rock n'roll.Have you ever seen (or heard) all of these things gathered together on one CD? Welcome to the 3rd round of Chrome Division's attack!
Release Date: 
6 May 2011 - 12:30pm

 

Norwegian rockers Chrome Division came to prominence, at least to most observant headbangers, in the year of 2006 when Tony White (drums, Minas Tirith), Björn Luna (bass, Ashes to Ashes),  Rick Black (guitars) , Stian Tomt Thoresen (yes, our beloved Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir fame, this time playing guitars) and Eddie Guz (vocals, The Carburetors) decided to team up to record their 1st opus Doomsday Rock n Roll, a genuine piece of rock n roll and heavy metal which people call by many names (Black n Roll, Death n Roll, Blackened Heavy Metal) but which in the end is just good ol' rock n'roll energized to the limit. Their follow-up opus, Booze, Broads and Beelzebub, continued their binge inside the metallic rock n roll empire they had created, despite the useless attempts of others outside their world to put them inside a label.

Now they are back once again, this time without Eddie Guz, but with the reinforcement of the vocalist Pål "Shady Blue" Mathisen. If the bells aren’t ringing yet, we’re talking about Athera (Susperia, Vanaheim). 

Chrome Division was an excellent band with Eddie Guz and his rock n'rolling attitude, but what to expect of Athera? I confess that any concerns were brutally annihilated when the riffs of Bulldogs Unleashed, the opener of their new album 3rd Round Knockout, started to echo throughout my room. This time around the riffs are heavier than ever, and when Athera comes to action, his blend of guttural and clean parts made me want to destroy my place while violently headbanging. Structurally this piece has a fast pace but in the middle the song gives place to a thick atmosphere with the doomish riffs shaking the walls down to the fucking ground, and seperating your head from your neck. While you are waiting to see what will happen next, the slow pace gives itself up to a warcry - “release the hoooooounds”- , then a bunch of dogs bark together (yes you’ve read it right) and then, through the Athera’s command, “guitar”, the solo explodes, devastating all in the earshot and leaving no prisoners. Chrome Division is back and this is not a drill!

7 G-Strings and Join the Ride, respectively, are more sing along, not so fast, even more hard rock if you will. They are great songs and resemble the "old” Chrome Division while showing up Athera’s versatility in holding his ground as well on the megalithic metallic themes as in the rockier pieces, putting sentiment and force to what he’s singing. By the way, there’s no better substitute to Eddie Guz.

Unholy Roller (what a cool song title) with it's badass refrain, Zombies & Monsters and Fight (Rumble and Roll) are the highlights of the 3rd Round Knockout, generating an instant reaction from the listener  putting the hands through the air and rocking like a hurricane. I know it’s a cliché but we need them sometimes, don’t we? These three songs put in a row will have you looking desperately for a beer and a fight in a sleazy bar.

Okay, some vocal changes, some extra heaviness in their formula and that’s all the new Chrome Division album has to offer, right? WRONG. Time to move on to a bluesy piece of rock with rasping vocals, harmonicas, and all that Jazz . Sorry, all that blues. Who in the freaking hell would have thought these guys were capable of some southern atmosphere in their black rock, as in the song Magic Man? By the way they had tried it in their first albums, but they’ve honed their skills (with whiskey, probably) to perfection, sounding now not as merely copycats of a band from the Mississippi delta. I mean, wow!

Long Distance Call Girl draws the attention by its introduction, with hits taken from somewhere between the fifties and sixties as if a person was looking for the right radio station until one found the right frequency playing Chrome Division: It's an upbeat and memorable tune.

Ghost Rider in the Sky is the coup de grace. Johnny Cash is back from the grave, enhanced and ready to kill while possessing the bodies of the musicians. The guitarists were really obviously into it, because the rhythm guitar after the Yppie-Ay-Oh, Yppie-Ay-Ey refrain makes even the dead return to bang their rotten skulls. Even a citation of Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King appears in the middle of this infernal homage to Cash! 

The closer Satisfy My Soul seems more calm, though the solo makes one reach for the air guitar and it’s an excellent track indeed with a strong chorus and instrumentation.

This is a work that has neither fillers nor frills, it’s straight-in-the-face rock n roll. Not “pure and simple ” because we’re talking about top-notch musicians of the Norwegian metal scene banded together to drink and to deliver rock n roll, not a kind of experimental craziness trying to pose as innovative or revolutionary. Yet it winds up as both, making one ask why nobody thought or did a heavy/rock album like this one before. The answer is simple. Nobody can sound like the great Chrome Division.

If you don’t like 3rd Round Knockout you’re not a rocker. Period. Now, if you excuse me I have to leave to listen to it again, after one zillion spins. I’ll be back later if I don’t kill myself rocking or getting shitfaced or being arrested for doing some subversive act. Rock the fuck on!