Not a great disappointment, but not a great album either from a band that can deliver a lot more than this.
When the Norwegian band Chrome Division started as a side project from Shagrath, the leader of Dimmu Borgir, and Lex Icon, founder of The Kovenant, releasing the awesome album Doomsday Rock ‘N Roll in 2006, and Booze, Broads and Beelzebub after that in 2008, the world of heavy music opened a big fuckin’ smile with their interesting mix of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and pure Rock N’ Roll, or as the band itself likes to call it, “Dirty Doomsday Rock and Roll”. However, after vocalist Eddie Guz left the band in 2008, the quality of their compositions went down and it doesn’t look like they will recover from that fall in the short-term. Their following album, 3rd Round Knock Out, from 2011, wasn’t as good as its predecessors, and now with Infernal Rock Eternal once again they release an album way below their musical capacity.
Good Morning Riot is just an acoustic intro, similar to what Volbeat have been doing lately in their albums, that prepares the listener for what comes next: Endless Nights was the first single released by the band for this new album, including a very well-produced music video with a huge mistake: where are the famous half-naked sexy girls in the video? And what’s with all the Bon Jovi-ish wah-wah’s? Anyway, it’s a good and direct Rock N’ Roll song that will please even who’s not a fan of the band. The following track, (She’s) Hot Tonight, despite being good and with a hint of Motörhead in it sounds too commercial for what Chrome Division usually does, while on the other hand The Absinthe Voyage shows an excellent work with the guitars and a heavier approach similar to what they used to do in their previous albums.
However, after that the problems with the album get really serious: Lady Of Perpetual Sorrow has a pleasant acoustic intro, but lacks a lot more creativity and energy, getting too boring after a while; the same happens with the uninspired The Moonshine Years with its generic heavy riff. Fortunately the next song, No Bet For Free, is a lot more more Rock N’ Roll, full of interesting solos and a good performance by Shady Blue, but the quality goes down again with On The Run Again, which is just a regular song with a good rhythm. Then comes Mistress In Madness which has a very decent start, but then gets back to the same generic level until the end. Reaper On The Hunt has that dirty sound we learned to enjoy from the band’s old songs, and it suits Shady’s voice a lot better, while You’re Dead Now is another slow-paced generic song. The album ends with the awesome Ol, a very “Motörhead” track that is way better than most of the other songs, and if you get the digipak you can also enjoy the good bonus track called Dirty Dog, which is worth the investment in this special version of the album.
In summary, although Infernal Rock Eternal cannot be considered a bad album, it’s not even close to the awesomeness of Doomsday Rock ‘N Roll. Shady Blue is not a bad singer, not at all, but he lacks more punch and so far hasn’t been able to add the same value to the band as Eddie Guz used to. Honestly, I was expecting a lot more from a band that has already created such masterpieces like Serial Killer, Breathe Easy, The Angel Falls and Booze, Broads and Beelzebub, but it looks like Chrome Division cannot get to that same level of music again, or maybe they do not want to, as a more polished and commercial approach might mean more money in their pockets. I really hope that’s not the reason for what the band is doing nowadays, and that they can get back to that dirty old music we like so much soon.
Best moments of the album: The Absynthe Voyage, No Bet For Free and Ol.
Worst moments of the album: Lady Of Perpetual Sorrow, The Moonshine Years and You’re Dead Now.
Released in 2014 Nuclear Blast
1. Good Morning Riot 1:28
2. Endless Nights 4:44
3. (She’s) Hot Tonight 3:46
4. The Absinthe Voyage 5:05
5. Lady Of Perpetual Sorrow 5:33
6. The Moonshine Years 5:59
7. No Bet For Free 4:37
8. On The Run Again 4:42
9. Mistress In Madness 5:07
10. Reaper On The Hunt 4:07
11. You’re Dead Now 5:17
12. Ol 3:24
Digipak edition bonus track
13. Dirty Dog (Bonus Track) 3:28
Shady Blue – vocals
Shagrath – guitar & backing vocals
Damage Karlsen – lead guitar & backing vocals
Ogee Ferrari – bass guitar & backing vocals
Tony White – drums