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Chrome Division - "3rd Round Knockout" (CD)

Chrome Division - "3rd Round Knockout" CD cover image

"3rd Round Knockout" track listing:

1. Bulldogs Unleashed (3:49)
2. 7 G-Strings (4:07)
3. Join The Ride (5:06)
4. Unholy Roller (3:43)
5. Zombies And Monsters (3:39)
6. Fight (3:38)
7. The Magic Man (4:56)
8. Long Distance Call Girl (4:25)
9. Ghost Rider In The Sky (3:36)
10. Satisfy My Soul (5:08)

Reviewed by on April 30, 2011

"While still a solid slice of everything rock, Chrome Division’s updated style will take some getting used to by those who loved the previous vocalist."

After the release of the highly polished “Booze, Broads, and Beelzebub” (reviewed here), it seemed like Chrome Division was the be-all, end-all of that still small genre where rock and roll meets extreme metal. Much to the fans’ surprise, vocalist Eddie Guz departed after the album’s release, and now the hard partying Norwegian bikers are back with a new front man and a new sound. While still a solid slice of everything rock, Chrome Division’s updated style will take some getting used to by those who loved the previous vocalist.

The change in front man is one of the biggest and most noticeable changes, and one that will likely divide the fan base. Newly christened singer Athera from Susperia does quite a bit more clean singing than was ever heard from Chrome Division before, and unfortunately he doesn’t quite have that same ability to sound like he’s chugging whiskey and swallowing cigarette butts while he’s screaming. The fact that he goes by the name “Shady Blue” now gives an idea of the direction the music is headed.

Along with the vocal changes, the overall style of “3rd Round Knockout” has taken a sharp turn toward southern rock. That genre had always influenced the band, but now it’s more front and center than ever before. For some that’s a good thing, but it can also be a disappointment for anyone who wanted Chrome Division to continue straddling the line between rock and extreme metal.

While there’s still a constant stream of metal to move the music forward, the rock aspects occasionally get out of hand. Utilizing a harmonica on “Magic Man” is a fun nod to the base the band is built on, but it honestly doesn’t sound like Chrome Division anymore. Likewise, the cover of “Ghost Riders in the Sky” is undeniably fun, in a rollicking cowboy kind of way, but it’s hard to take the band seriously as the vocalist sings “Yippie-i-oh, yippie-i-aye.”

The song titles this time around range from the tongue in cheek and humorously clever (“7 G-Strings”), to the outright silly (“Zombies & Monsters”). Opening track “Bulldogs Unleashed” also creates an unfortunate reminder of that dubious piece of music known as “Who Let The Dogs Out,” and the sound of dogs barking towards the end of the song doesn’t help matters much. The track has a heaping dose of the head banging, fist pumping, beer chugging energy typical of the last album, but the silly lyrics and out-of-place atmospheric guitar segment in the middle ruin the flow. “Unholly Roller,” on the other hand, strikes a good balance between form and function, managing to be fun, energetic, and heavy.

Whether “3rd Round Knockout” lives up to its name depends on just how much any given listener digs southern rock influences. There’s still plenty of fun to be had, but overall the album has less of that energy that makes an audience want to drink and head bang until they pass out.

Highs: It's still fun to hear the rock mixed with the metal as the band chugs on booze and g-strings.

Lows: The new vocalist is an acquired taste, and the massive turn towards southern rock kills a lot of the band's energy and style.

Bottom line: Chrome Division takes a big turn towards southern rock with a new vocalist and a new style that's still solid, but may be a let-down to many fans.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)