Sunday, August 03, 2014

Chrome-Feel It Like A Scientist

King of Spades Records

Forgive me father for I have sinned. I've gone and sold my soul to Chrome. Not that I had much choice. All it took was one play of the group's long-overdo new album (long-overdo as in over 12 years since the release of "Angels in the Clouds"!) and I was done for! One play. Just one play. That's the power of  "Feel It Like A Scientist" though and for Chrome (a band which started out in 1975 as solo project of musician Damon Edge) this soon to be released new album marks a glorious return for this San Francisco-based experimental rock band! Produced by guitarist, vocalist (and since drummer/vocalist Damon Edge's untimely passing in August of 1995) and bandleader Helios Creed "Feel It Like A Scientist" is as close to greatness as one can come! Or at least as close as Chrome can come to the brilliance of albums like 1977’s "Alien Soundtracks" and 1979’s "Half Machine Lip Moves" (both of which come HIGHLY recommend!). For the uninitiated Chrome were early pioneers of what's come to be known as industrial rock. At the time of it's formation Chrome (or if you will founder Damon Edge) took inspiration from a variety of different sources. On one hand Edge drew from sound art experimentation (with the works of Jon Cage and Allan Kaprow apparently serving as source material) while he was also inspired by the proto-punk sound of The Stooges! Over time and over the course of several albums (as well as the result of vocalist/heavy rock guitarist Helios Creed joining the group in 1976) this experimental rock band fine-tuned their sound until finally excelling at their sport! With the unique convergence of punk rock, psychedelic rock, heavy rock and industrial rock Chrome became the band that stands before mankind now. Original in every sense of the word, both lyrically and in over-stylized execution of their oft-abrasive and avant garde take on punk, this experimental rock band can admittedly be an acquired taste. That should be understood before any hipsters come along and try to claim Chrome as the latest and greatest "thing". Not that Chrome deserves anything less than world-wide status and acclaim. It's more to do with Chrome's long-standing appeal to those who live life on the outside. For as long as there have been tape-traders Chrome's music has appeared on the underground scene and even as a younger man approaching the end of his teenage years I remember this uniquely experimental rock band finding it's way into many homemade mix tapes. I have a girlfriend of old to thank for turning me onto this punk-favorite act (amongst other "experimental" things not to be discussed at this time and place!) and to this day I regret having disposed of not only those mix-tapes, but basket-fulls of others (and yes, it is a BIG regret as there was a lot of underground punk/hardcore, pop punk, goth and industrial rock that I parted with). Still, "Feel It Like A Scientist" has all the appeal of those tape-trading days while finding Creed and company (vocalist Anne Dromeda, guitarist Keith Thompson, bassists Lux Vibratus and Steve Fishman, synthist Tommy Grenas and drummer Aleph Omega) moving onward and upward with style and class! "Feel It Like A Scientist" is a great return for Chrome and one that should make the late great Damon Edge smile where he might be! As a final note these tracks should be heard as a whole even if there are numerous occasions through-out "Feel It Like A Scientist" that almost feel like singles. Collectively these numbers paint a bigger picture and for Chrome this is a sign that the band doesn't need modern society so much as modern society is in desperate need of Chrome!

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