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Chrome Molly - Gunpowder Diplomacy

Chrome Molly
Gunpowder Diplomacy
by Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 21 March 2013, 4:01 PM

UK NWOBHM legends CHROME MOLLY have staged a noble come back. These complicated gents have chosen to stick it out and return supercharged after a long hiatus. It is hard to believe that their last first full-length album was 1990! I never heard “Slaphead”, but I really dug their first two albums! However, like most of the influential '80s acts, they have altered their style. This release is more raw and rough, and not as rockin', or as melodic as the now hard to find “Angst” album.

Thanks for the angst guys, and for choosing to cut loose and deliver the goods again. Fans of newer TYGERS OF PAN TANG, BLITZKRIEG, SAVAGE, and SARACEN should feel right at home. The album begins with a strong anthem in the gritty and socially apropos “Corporation Fear”. Here the gunpowder diplomacy is unveiled. This is followed by the sardonic “TV Cops” which has a strong LED ZEPPELIN vibe, while “All In My Mind” is an homage to DEEP PURPLE.

Long time vocalist Steve Hawkins and bassist Nick Wastell are back for more madness. Steve still sings with his short, sharp, shell-shocked vocal style which is very reminiscent of what Steve Grimmett would sound like if he added some Marc Storace, Klaus Meine, and Ronnie Atkins' mannerisms to his angst. Although, I must say, I do not agree with all the hype over the new PRETTY MAIDS. “Motherland” is way too commercial and not even as good as their last two efforts. I truly am disappointed with what they have released. The music is sappy, languid, and not at all vibrant.

I am pleased to realize that BLADE RUNNER drummer Greg Ellis joins the chrome motley crude ranks which add an interesting element to the song structures.  He does not play fast, but he still holds a steady beat. John Antcliffe has the rusty and unpolished guitar tone which clearly echoes the early British Punk scene, but also allows for aspects of the 70s Glam era, as well. Thus with a song like “Supercharged” you hear SWEET meets UK SUBS, or ZIGGY STARDUST meets THE DAMNED. Then with songs like “Complicated” or “Billion Dollar Heart Attack” clearly artists like ALICE COOPER, APRIL WINE, or NAZARETH come to mind.

With a track like “Clean Outta Luck”, I am reminded of TYSONDOG. Although, the best band comparison would be the direction DEMON have gone in over the past decade. Their latest album “Unbroken” really impressed me.

Overall, this is a worthy comeback, but not a stellar one. The songs measure up, but they are not super special. Unlike bands like URIAH HEEP who are writing charged new albums that measure up to their past, this is truly lackluster at times; especially the closer “The Runner” or the tepid “Bulletproof” which cannot hold a candle to the song of the same name by ACCEPT.

I sure hope earMusic re-release their earlier efforts with better production, or perhaps the band will re-record a few of their classics. Essentially, the more accessible songwriting of their early '80s efforts still hold a stronger appeal for me. Although, this is by far their best produced album to date. I also like the name of the album, which is novel, clever, and thought inducing. So take it or leave it, but by all means look into the past music this band and its members once created.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Corporation Fear
2. TV Cops
3. Stop Love!
4. Short Sharp Shock
5. Clean Outta Luck
6. Supercharged
7. Complicated
8. All In My Mind
9. Billion Dollar Heart Attack
10. Bulletproof
11. The Runner
Lineup:
Steve Hawkins – Vocals
John Antcliffe – Guitars
Nick Wastell – Bass, Backing Vocals
Greg Ellis – Drums, Backing Vocals
Record Label: earMUSIC
     


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