Chrome Division - Infernal Rock Eternal (Nuclear Blast)

Four albums in, the dream is taking tangible shape...
Release Date: 
16 Jan 2014 - 11:30pm

‘What the world needs now is a great big melting pot’. Thus spake seventies popsters Blue Mink in their years-ahead-of-its-time clarion call for racial understanding. Little can the minks have known that, all these years later, it would seem like Scandinavian rockers Chrome Division had used that humble lyric as the template for this, their fourth long player, the excellent Infernal Rock Eternal.

Y’see, every song on this album sees the Chromists trying to shoe horn so many seventies and eighties influences in that you’ll get dizzy-headed just trying to think just which each lick and vocal inflection reminds you of what or whom. It's an infernal melting pot indeed.. My advice would be to simply switch off from such fripperies and just enjoy what’s on offer, which luckily is a superb, exuberant slab of anthemic hard rock.

It’s hard though. Opening track Endless Nights sees ZZ Top duking it out with Bon Jovi (and ending up sounding like Brit rockers The Almighty), whilst the thunderous The Absinthe Voyage sees Motorhead strutting their stuff in late eighties LA (only to end up sounding like The Almighty). I could go on, but you get the picture, yes?

The problem here for long term fans of the ‘Division is this; as the band gets closer to its initial ideal in the mind of lynchpin Shagrath – to create a quasi-perfect eighties-influenced heavy rock n’roll juggernaut – it necessarily gets further away from the death n’roll roots that made the band such an exciting prospect in the first place. A track like the gargantuan Lady of Perpetual Sorrow just would not have been conceivable on the first two CD cds, but here it sounds as natural a thing for them to be playing as Serial Killer was in 2006. This progression by regression may be hard for some longterm fans to take but for mine it’s a worthwhile exercise if more material like this is the result.

 

Vocalist Shady Blue must take a lot of the plaudits here – it’s the maturity and authority of his pipes that makes this music possible – but really everyone involved has brought their  ‘A’ game to the sessions of IRE (that’s ‘A’ as in ‘Almighty’ obviously). What results is a glorious celebration of hedonistic, loud and unapologetic rock n’roll that’s an absolute joy to listen to. Absolutely essential stuff.