"3rd Round Knockout"

Soundtrack For A Misspelled Tattoo

by Solomon G

This album reminds me of the era after G'n'R hit huge in the early '90s and up cropped a ton of washed-out poseur G'n'Rs the world over, with much lesser chops, trying to rock the head bandannas or whatever but not really doing it. Not that this is the specific sound these guys seek, but that's the spirit of this enterprise: aping the greats that have come before and missing it by 'that much'. Further, this band seems to be aiming at the 'total asshole' demographic with their "I'll steal your girlfriend, you puny punk" lyrics. Really? Either that or they're hoping for the misguided-chick/bad-boy-addict (you know the type: booze 'problems', black eye, fat lip, et al) People like shit like that? If so, I don't know any and wouldn't want to. Like I always say: you can be an asshole or you can be my friend - but you can't be both.

"Okay, the subject matter is lame", you say, "but does the music more than make up for it in a way that makes you say to yourself: 'forget that they seem like real assholes - this music is crazy-good!'?"

In a word, no. If you're gonna go balls first like Chrome Division, your riffs and songwriting better be 110% smokin'. Instead what we have here is really warmed up leftovers from a million 'bad boy' acts back to, I dunno, Rose Tattoo - great band - through (oh, jeez) L.A. Guns - uneven band with occasional smokin' riffs. The problem is a) obviously this has been done to death and there is no real underground sub-genre 'scene' keeping the dream alive (no, there isn't!), and b) they don't breathe enough fresh air into it to make it live. The music of this album is pretty close to what would happen if you hired decent studio musicians to create a 'bad boy rocker' soundtrack for a movie about 'bad boy rockers' by filmmakers who had a cousin who's best friend went to school with some 'bad boy rocker' types. Real on the part of Chrome Division or not, it's unconvincing. Alternately, one could easily imagine this is the soundtrack to every TV show about wild and crazy accidents caught on film.

There are a couple of promising cuts here, and they are about the shortest on the disk: "Zombies & Monsters", and "Ghost Rider in the Sky". The latter of those two especially shows a spark of promise for Chrome Division - if they stopped fussing over their hooligan live-fast-die-hard image and concentrated waaay more on bulletproof riffs and songwriting. Also, the track "Magic Man" has some interesting ideas and cool guitar work going on in there.

Overall, I would probably enjoy this album as much as any (of thousands) of similar and mostly superior albums like it if I was just all drunk and surly - but if that's what it takes to enjoy an album, I'd rather just get something I could also enjoy any other time; because it's great, not because it has 'attitude', or whatever.