"Infernal Rock Eternal"

By Professor Jocko

When you think of the Norwegian music scene, naturally, black & satanic metal are the first genres to pop into your head. However, that isn’t all that comes from such a remote spot on planet Earth, and hard rockers Chrome Division are here to prove that there is more to life than speed metal & growling lyrics. Although the hard rock scene has made a triumphant return the last ten years or so, the band have mastered their own diverse sound with a deep groove and heavy beat. Now on their fourth studio album (Doomsday Rock N` Roll (2006), Booze, Broads, & Beelzebub (2008) and Third Round Knockout (2011), their latest LP proves to be something with a huge European following, having played recent festivals in Germany and a headline show in London as well. The official band website describes them as “A perfect blend of dirty rock, stoner and even elements of metal.” In my estimation, this is true, depending on what your definition of metal is; in the early 80's, there was a movement called "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal". Bands involved in it such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead, Angel Witch and Venom played heavier and faster and they redefined the term "heavy metal". Since heavy metal was getting heavier and more extreme with the passing years (thrash, death, doom, groove, black etc.), the bands that were earlier labeled as heavy metal in the 70's became known as hard rock or classic rock, because at that time heavy metal was much different - Chrome Division tends to improvise a little more on bluesy scale, where the bass lines are sometimes carrying a different rhythmic pattern and the music is looser; more upbeat, with more of a classical high pitch vocal style, reminding me of a slightly heavier version of Skid Row’s "Slave to the Grind" LP.

"Infernal Rock Eternal" has the qualities to make Chrome Division an archetypical hard rock band, in close comparison to other contemporary hard rock pioneers. Although the album starts with a short instrumental titled, “Good Morning Riot”, the rest of the music maintains a high level of energy comparable to American bands such as Avenged Sevenfold & Disturbed; albeit they are more metalcore than modern hard rock. Track number two is called “Endless Nights”, which seems to offer a tighter musical ensemble, where the rhythm guitars and bass almost mimick each other but relying on a main set of riffs and a very intricate, complicated, rigid structure and interplay. Further tracks such as “The Absinthe Voyage” and “No Bet For Free” use a more cyclical and thematic structure to the songs, which are based around strophic and simple sectional forms, yet still embrace kind of a hard guitar sound, similar to a lighter metal with a very defined sound. A track that I’m particularly fond of is called “Lady Of Perpetual Sorrow”, mainly because it combines the technical side of hard rock, yet is more on the bluesy side. It also tends to deviate from typical lyrics about sex and drinking, tending to take a more fantasy approach to the lyrics. One of the more impressive songs has got to be “Mistress In Madness”. The technical proficiency in this case shines more for the precise rhythm work with a far heavier, thicker guitar sound, filled with plenty of guitar harmonies and epic solos. The final tracks have lyrical themes that are more dark and gothic related, but the last song, titled “OI” is where the vocals tend to vary slightly from the others with guttural grunts that are melodic, which in the end, encapsulates the diversity of Chrome Division's approach.