The Visitation

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Exhibiting a truly gone sense of rock and roll -- even without Creed, who wouldn't join until the following album -- Chrome here aren't quite the monster industrial/punk forebears of legend, but the original quartet still has something weird and wigged going for it. One of the best comments this reviewer ever heard about The Visitation was that it was early Brian Eno meets Santana, a judgment that best captures the strange mix going on. To be sure, Visitation isn't as laden with Latin funk as the latter, but Edge tries some odd percussion here and there, sometimes approaching Can's level of avant-garde groove. Guitarist Lambdin throws in a fair amount of reasonable enough soloing as well throughout, squelchy and heavily flanged guitar being the result when not offering up basic rhythm. It's good for what it is; there's certainly much worse out there. As for Eno, the opening song -- with a sudden musical rush building to the a capella title line, "How many years too soon?!" delivered in shrill, squealed nerd harmonies -- is hardly the Doobie Brothers. Strange electronic burps and shades and random drop-ins color the often sci-fi-tinged songs, so things are off in general, just not quite as frenetically so as later albums, with the exception of the thoroughly fried "My Time to Live." The higher vocals generally stay a bit calmer after the opening -- whichever singer it is, Lambdin or bassist Spain, has nowhere near as nails-on-chalkboard screechy warbling as, say, Geddy Lee, just possessed of a higher register and with reasonable control. The other lead singer sounds like a breathless Jagger imitator, which like the guitar playing is reasonable without being too distinct. In general, the four members sound like they want to do more than what the end result turned out to be, but the seeds were being sown nonetheless.

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