Doomsday Rock 'N' Roll by Chrome Division
Release date : July 2006
Reviewed by Anthony Morgan
Chrome Division can trace their history as far back as 1999, when Dimmu Borgir vocalist Stian “Shagrath” Tomt Thoresen (on rhythm guitar) and Stian “Lex Icon” Arnesen (on drums) jammed following group rehearsals. While material had been recorded, other commitments prevented the two from taking things further. In the summer of 2004, this changed. Björn Luna joined the two, bassist from the outfit Ashes to Ashes. Following months of rehearsal, the act was christened Chrome Division. Jarle Bernhoft, lead vocalist and guitarist of SPAN, auditioned to undertake the vocalist position, although was unable to take the vacancy. Luna contacted Eddie Guz of The Carburetors, who accepted. Ricky Black, from a Swedish blues group, was recruited as lead guitarist. During 2005's summer, drummer Lex Icon was ousted from the group as a result of missing rehearsal sessions. Tony White of Minas Tirith stepped behind the drumkit instead. On December 4th 2005, Chrome Division entered Panzer Studio in Oslo to begin recording for the group's debut full length album. Produced by Björn Bergersen, the effort was eventually dubbed Doomsday Rock 'N' Roll. It was announced on February 1st 2006 that Chrome Division had inked a deal with Nuclear Blast Records (reportedly a contract for three albums), and Doomsday Rock 'N' Roll arrives five months later during July. Directed by noted Swedish director Patric Ullaeus, “Serial Killer”'s music video was shot to promote the album.
Anyone hoping for the Black Metal dirges of Dimmu Borgir are advised to keep their wallets in their back pockets; in this endeavour Shagrath is at pains to distinguish between the musical entities in terms of style, image and lyrical content. The conscious approach pays dividends, since the blatant departure causes the listener to critically evaluate the album based on its own merits. Any overtly Black Metal opus would've inevitably drawn comparisons to Dimmu Borgir, even given the fact Shagrath's vocals are absent. Side projects generally fall under one of two categories; those wishing to delve towards the more serious, ambitious fields of experimentation, or those which take themselves with a light mannered pinch of salt. Chrome Division falls firmly under the latter, bowing at the altar of confirmed icons from past and present; it's essentially an elaborate pastiche which pays those eighties heroes the ultimate tribute.
Doomsday Rock 'N' Roll firmly dips its toes in the leathery, gravel toned swathes of Lemmy, the similarities becoming ever stronger over the course of the record. For example, track highlight “Serial Killer” boasts a chorus whose sentence is uttered in the same cheeky, throwaway fashion that Lemmy applies to Motörhead composition “I'm So Bad” (from 1991's Grammy nominated 1916). Vocalist Eddie Guz shapes up to be a great Lemmy imitator, though like all great imitations, it cannot live up to the genuine article. This isn't a major criticism though, since Guz takes the numbers by their steaming horns and makes a respectacle stamp on the music throughout Doomsday Rock 'N' Roll.
Each hook chugs along with the aim of embedding itself in the consciousness. The overall result initiates one of two effects; either the foot will gently tap along whilst the lyrics hum on the tip of one's tongue, or the familiar tunes will stain your mind, driving it crazy to the brink of insanity - much in the same vein as an irritable advertisement jingle. Much of this logic can be applied towards the majority of Motörhead's extensive material, though this reviewer is a confessed fan of Lemmy and co. If you purchased Motörhead's entire back catalogue gleefully and cannot wait until that band's next release, then this release may suffice your appetite in the meantime.