Chrome Division - '3rd Round Knockout' (Nuclear Blast) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 05:00

chrome-division-3rd-round-knockout-2The pointless debate passed around backward corners of the metal community as to whether Chrome Division, the dirty Norwegian outfit that crawled out of a greasy garage hole in 2004, are an actual band or simply a side project of Stian Tomt Thoresen, perhaps better know as Shagrath of black metal legends Dimmu Borgir, has never troubled us here at Uber Rock; their two previous releases, 2006's 'Doomsday Rock 'N' Roll' and its follow-up 'Booze, Broads And Beelzebub' in 2008, have been regulars on the stereo at URHQ and, although maybe not the most original of albums, the fact that the lifeblood of these records was full of the influence of some of the coolest, noisiest bands in rock history and a hearty sense of fun meant that they were always a proper band in our eyes....and a good one at that.  


Thoresen's past claims that future recorded output from the band would add some different ingredients into their musical mix appear to have been fulfilled with the release of '3rd Round Knockout' from Nuclear Blast. The obvious Motorhead influence of the past is now more understated, with the band introducing a definite '80s US hard rock edge to their sound. Thoresen had said previously that he wanted the band to sound like "an '80s rock 'n' roll heavy metal band" and that wish appears to have come true with this third album, possibly due to the change in vocalist.  


Former frontman Eddie Guz (recruited after the band had tried out former Span vocalist Jarle Bernhoft, which seems even more remarkable given the latter's radical musical u-turn in recent times) left the band shortly after the release of their second album and was replaced by Shady Blue (aka Paul Mathiesen, aka Athera) of Norwegian thrashers Susperia, and his style, which fits the band perfectly, offers glimpses of famed frontmen of days gone by, with a certain one of exploding codpiece infamy being most prominent.  


If the third track here, 'Join The Ride', didn't open with the cheekiest stealing of the intro to 'Wild Child' since Blackie Lawless did it himself on the last W.A.S.P. album, you might not catch on immediately. But is does, so you will. There are times when you can't help but think of W.A.S.P., the chorus of the cool 'Zombies & Monsters' for example, but, thankfully, we are talking prime W.A.S.P. when it was actually okay to like them, not the miming bad joke of the present. And the retro US rock influence doesn't end there; 'Satisfy My Soul' carries a riff that screams (should that be squeaks?) classic Ratt, while the bluesy, swampy 'The Magic Man' reminds me a little of Ron Young and Little Caesar.  


Fear not though, fans of the band's previous albums. The badass sound which has made Chrome Division essential to your record collection previously is still the dominant of the sound species on '3rd Round Knockout'. Opener 'Bulldogs Unleashed' is possibly the most monstrous and massive that the band has ever sounded and is a perfectly pulverising way to kick things off. The breakdown during 'Unholy Roller' contains riffmongery so mammoth, so bone rattling, that you will not fail to be impressed. 'Fight (Rumble And Roll)' hints at the noisier end of the Scandinavian sleaze scene while '7 G-Strings' edges almost into stoner territory with a hook that contains some of the cheesiest lyrics on the record - remember what I said about the band's sense of fun? How else could they pull off a galloping version of Stan Jones's 'Ghost Riders In The Sky' complete with a chugging guitar-filled chorus?  


And the B-movie and pop culture samples that litter the album's length may be something that has been done to death but, when done well, they certainly add something to a record, as is the case here. Who wouldn't want to hear 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper introduce a song?  


If Chrome Division were created in order for some musicians used to frowning into the darkness to get the chance to kick back and have some ass-kicking fun, then they have fulfilledapproved_image_lrg that prophecy. What makes this evermore acceptable is that, in doing so, they have laid waste to hundreds of other bands peddling mediocre material with a shadow of their talent. Chrome Division are a band and, like this album, an excellent one. Buy it.