Chrome Division

Booze, Broads & Beelzebub

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Conspiracy theorists take note: while Dimmu Borgir dilly-dallied for all of four years between albums in the second half of the 2000s (specifically, between 2003's Death Cult Armageddon and 2007's In Sorte Diaboli), their singer's other band, Chrome Division, needed but two -- could this be a sign of trouble in Dimmu's paradise...or rather, purgatory? More likely, this situation is simply born of the fact that Chrome Division's far more instinctive and straightforward brand of biker rock & roll doesn't require as much time to compose -- never mind the services of an entire Hungarian orchestra! And why shouldn't these normally all-too-serious Norwegian black metal musicians pounce at this opportunity to wipe those corpse-painted scowls off their faces, and get down with a far more fun-loving and carefree version of old man Satan. This is very much still the "philosophical" thrust of Chrome Division's mission statement throughout sophomore outing Booze, Broads and Beelzebub -- a record that's equally packed with Motörhead-inspired thrashers like "Life of a Fighter" and "Hate This Town" as with unabashed paeans to drunken good times such as "Doomsday Riders" and "Wine of Sin" (complete with shouts of "Show me you tits!"). Stoner rock also saunters into the bar every once in a while (see "Let's Hear It"), and sounds convincing enough, but even though the band gives ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" an energized Viking makeover, it still sounds nowhere near as cool as the bearded original. Nevertheless, don't make the mistake of letting a few quick listens convince you to mis-categorize Chrome Division as some outdated, Scandinavian chapter of L.A. Guns, because buried beneath the relative simplicity of all these songs can be found frequent little reminders of Dimmu Borgir's usual songwriting complexity -- be they subtle minor chords or unforeseen dynamic shifts in the arrangements -- that help to keep things interesting. As a result, Booze, Broads and Beelzebub may sound a little confusing and (cough!) cerebral for rockin'-out glam metal fans, but leather-draped heavy rockers who dig a little sand in their Vaseline will be mighty pleased.

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