Booze, Broads & Beelzebub
posted on 8/2008 By:
Chrome Division is a supergroup of sorts containing members from various Norwegian rock and metal bands most notable among them to metal fans, is Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir. Booze, Broads and Beelzebub is the title of the band’s second record, and it pretty much sums up what they are about. Chrome Division plays a blend of metal and hard rock that recalls classic bands of the late seventies/early eighties like Motorhead, Saxon and Accept who plied their trade when the lines between rock and metal were less distinct. Chrome Division’s outlaw biker shtick is a bit hard to swallow (Are there biker gangs in Norway?), but it is all in good fun, and from a musical standpoint the band is no joke.
Chrome Division seems to know what it takes to make their style of music work. They do a good job of blending the rock and metal elements of their music, shifting from an AC/DC like swagger to Judas Priest styled metal and several styles in between without sounding forced. Ricky Black’s lead guitar follows suit offering bluesy licks, Iron Maiden-esque harmonies and straight up shredding as needed. Drummer Tony White is able to bash away frantically in the vein of Philthy Animal Taylor or keep a no frills, rock steady beat like Dave Holland. Classic metal and rock traditionally have a stronger vocal element than the more extreme forms of metal, and singer Eddie Guz shoulders the load well. Guz’s gruff voice, slightly accented English and knack for delivering a catchy chorus make for a charismatic performance despite a limited Lemmy like vocal range.
Despite Chrome Division’s strengths, Booze, Broads and Beelzebub falls a little short of excellence. The band is treading a well worn path and consequently, a lot of their riffs sound a little too familiar, which renders things a bit stale sounding. The choruses, while catchy, don’t quite rise to the anthemic level (Although, it could be that I am just not in touch with my inner rebel biker). The band also sounds a bit too polished for this type of music, which robs the songs of some of their fire. Similarly, the production is almost too good. Everything is a little too modern and clean sounding. A rawer, dirtier sound would suit these tales of drink, dames and the devil better.
It’s difficult to say to whom Chrome Division will appeal, because I think fans of classic metal and hard rock are more likely to reach for the originals than an imitation. However, for metal fans with little experience outside of extreme metal, Chrome Division could serve as a fine introduction to some classic sounds. At any rate, I can think of plenty of worse albums to listen to while knocking back a few cold ones.
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