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Chrome Ghost - The Diving Bell Award winner

Chrome Ghost
The Diving Bell
by Dani Bandolier at 26 March 2020, 5:39 AM

CHROME GHOST (2015), band of the two Jakes is from Sacramento, California in the USA and they jam the jimmy-jam in an epic Nordic way, showing off challenging post metal-doom-progressive rock-sludge musical arrangements. These cats are not afraid to tell a complex and changing story. I would describe their 4 songs and 40 minutes of music rightly as “iron fist in velvet glove” riffs with entrancing and pensive dreamy vocals shouldered by damn fine drumming muscle.

“Waltz in the Shadow of the Hillside” is Straussian (Johann Strauss II) in breadth, which I believe moves out in 3/8 time before bumping on to a short waltz instrumental phrase and employing a stout 3/4 time signature interspersed throughout its running time of 10:42, a rather neat rhythmic prop. Who writes doom like this? Tis but a scratch of the surface of what follows in “Halo”. “Halo” busts out with one big step into fellow northern Californian band DEAFHEAVEN’s musical quarter, that of Ye Novel Blast Guitar before stepping back into the restraint of the trance-round chorus echoing “Halo”. The final two minutes of “Halo” dives into a shoe gaze tsunami with voice harmonies slathered in reverb and a side helping of delay. Right on.

“The Diving Bell” is midpoint on this four-song release. The song begins with a calm and clear musical passage then at 4 minutes in, we go snout down into dirge death metal. At about the seven minute mark, the song heads into PINK FLOYD territory along the lines of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and you should listen to hear how CHROME GHOST accomplish this. Without directly lifting David Gilmour’s signature guitar tones and iconic lyrical guitar refrains Jake Kilgore clearly summons his inner PINK, puts it through the FLOYD super-effector and shows awesome composure before the song throws GODFLESH mashup industrial gears on the outro. There are guitar tones on this song that I may have never heard, or not heard presented in this manner and style, ever.

The final song “Visions” is likewise a misty mountain top epic combining on-point vocals that reminds me of Maynard from TOOL at his most melodic; this wrapped end-to-end in a long form meandering doom combination of heartbeat pace and archangel modulated guitar and bass, a euphonic kin to GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR.

‘THE DIVING BELL’ is an impeccable getaway in these dark, anxious times of restricted movement and powerlessness. A tour de force in composition, escapism and musicality in the GODSPEED!…,ELDER zone. Jake Hurst’s drumming brings sludge-earth metal god Dale Crover to mind, making every beat he plays and doesn’t play count. Joe Cooper has a crushing bass presence that supports the music while not breaking bad over these songs. I would have preferred the lead vocals out front with a bit more edge so I could better experience the writer’s lyrical intent. I do realize that once you roll out the Delay and Reverb barrel o’ fun, the dynamics can take a hit somewhere in the analog to digital to audio summing chain. There is no groove strangling to be found anywhere on this release, effortlessly performed without fear and recorded, mixed and mastered with love by Patrick Hills at Earthtone in Sacramento.  ‘THE DIVING BELL’ is a treat and one that I absolutely must relish in a live music venue. CHROME GHOST, ELDER, RUSH. It is amazing that 3 guys can make so much crackin’ great music. Bloody well done, CHROME GHOST.

I'll tell thee what; Thou art damned as black-nay, nothing is so black as my Spotify playlist featuring my reviewed bands…

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Waltz in the Shadow of the Hillside
2. Halo
3. The Diving Bell
4. Visions
Jake Hurst - Drums
Jake Kilgore - Vocals & Guitar
Joe Cooper - Bass
Patrick Hills - Additional Guitar on "The Diving Bell”
Record Label: Seeing Red Records


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