Chrome Division: 3rd Round Knockout

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Chrome Division: 3rd Round Knockout
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Chrome Division: 3rd Round Knockout
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
May 17th, 2011
Release length: 42:11
Myspace
Website
Chrome Division is one of the most infamous bands in the Metal world today. Why? Because this is basically a Black Metal supergroup performing vintage Rock and Metal material. The line-up has essentially remained the same, featuring founders Björn Luna (former Ashes to Ashes), Tony White (former Old Man’s Child), Ricky Black, and Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir and Ov Hell) with Shady Blue (Susperia) joining the group back in 2009. The music on this recording is not quite like the more fun and vintage Rock ‘n Roll sound the first two albums produced, taking on a more serious Hard Rock and even NWOBHM/classic Heavy Metal vibe to it. Either way, it may not be as strong as the older material, but it manages to get the job done of emulating the classic sound and idea of the harder side of Rock’s history.

3rd Round Knockout manages to couple the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal vibe nicely, though some tracks comes off prodominantly early Heavy Metal or even NWOBHM. This includes the lead single off the album, “Bulldogs Unleashed”, which shows a stronger early Judas Priest sound, around the time of Painkiller, but approached with the general Hard Rock attitude. The song does break into a slower hamonization sound that feels tacked on rather pointless, as well as sounds more like the more mainstream act Disturbed, and ultimately clashes with the heavier and dirty vibe of the song. The guitar solo of this song, however, is fantastic, and overall, the song takes a little time to grow on the listener because of it’s sleek sound against dirty music. This isn’t one of the only songs to suddenly drop into a slower performance, as “7 G-Strings” does slow down into a more ballad pace and musical approach, but the song’s lighter, more upbeat Rock ‘n Roll vibe kind of allows for it, and with the way the band handles it and the transition, it sounds good, doesn’t sound like Disturbed, and works for the song, though it doesn’t quite fit the vibe of the song or even the album just like before on “Bulldogs Unleashed”. However, this is where the album does start to pick up.

While the heavier material is far from bad, it’s the more fun, upbeat Rock ‘n Roll songs that really define Chrome Division. “Join the Ride” will immediately hook into listeners with it’s somewhat obvious Blue Oyster Cult nostalgia, sounding similar to “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, then migrating towards a more reflective Rock song that has a lighter vibe but manages to stay a little dark through a power ballad approach to the music that causes the track to feel a little more emotionally driven. “Zombies & Monsters” really brings in the more fun and upbeat material, moreso then “7 G-Strings” did, and leaves behind some of the dirtier music, embracing more of a traditional Heavy Metal vibe that shows traces of some Horror Punk inspirations at times, which aids to make the song even catchier with a chorus that will stay lodged in your mind for a good while. It even gives off the feeling of something one might hear at some point in an eighties Slasher flick. “The Magic Man”, however, is where the band really shines through. The song has more of a Blues impact then anything, and like “Join the Ride”, the song has a more emotional vibe to it, but it’s not as strong, feeling like it was put more in the back of the atmosphere so that a traditional Southern vibe would be showcased from the group instead.

While 3rd Round Knockout starts off a little rocky, the album manages to pick up and retain a catchy, often dirty pace with traditional Rock attitude. Each song on here feels unique from one another, and some do manage to shine through more then others. There’s some conflicting lyrical material on here however, such as “Join the Ride” which seems to be about a message to a prostitute and how she’d be happier if she changed her ways, and then there’s songs that glorify being with them. “The Magic Man” seems to be confused as to which atmosphere it wants, and doesn’t do a good job of utilizing both the Blues emotion with the dirty Southern Rock sound. There’s also a cover of the song “Ghost Rider in the Sky”, originally by Johnny Cash, and easily one of the most haunting songs in Rock ever. The track is treated to the dirty Chrome Division musical approach, having some faster music to the entire song but the chorus, which is sadly the worst part. It doesn’t capture that haunting, menacing vibe the original has, and the upbeat tempo is good but at the same time takes away from the general feel of what makes that sng so great in the first place, and that’s the subtle dark tones that really amped up the impending haunting chorus.

In the end, 3rd Round Knockout is a great throwback to the classic Rock and Heavy Metal days. Sometimes the album gets a little lost in itself with the music and even lyrical content, but it’s bound to happen. Some songs on here are just better then others, but those others aren’t really filler material, each song on here feels like the band really put a good amount of effort into it regardless, and it’s still an album that you can sit down at any point with, and thoroughly enjoy it for the varying styles you can find throughout. Chrome Division definitely have a different sound on this recording, but it’s not one that hurts the group, and leads to another strong album from this Black-Metal-gone-rebel supergroup.

01. Bulldog Unleashed – 3:49
02. 7 G-Strings – 4:07
03. Join the Ride – 5:07
04. Unholy Roller – 3:44
05. Zombies & Monsters – 3:39
06. Fight (Rumble and Roll) – 3:38
07. The Magic Man – 4:56
08. Long Distance Call Girl – 4:25
09. Ghost Rider in the Sky (Johnny Cash cover) – 3:36
10. Satisfy My Soul – 5:09
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Chrome Division (Band)
Chrome Division (Logo)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.