'Hard Times'

(Chromium Blitz Recs)


MARK: 96/100


The probable debut for this HM-rocking 3-piece from Tennessee proves to be quite a delightful surprise, in which the burden of the songwriting is mostly in vocalist/guitarist/drummer Scott Clarke's hands, also delivering us powerful, skillful and good taste axe solos.

After an intro, you'll meet "Contrivance", endowed with an incredible refrain that will unavoidably stick to your minds, helped by involving keyboards, while "Good Thing" differs a little, being simpler and more straightforward, with vocal acrobacies and the bass in the front row. You may as well find "Live it Free" not too original, it's a most effective party song though, whereas I think "Read Between the Lies" won't be only my favorite composition: perfect live, the chorus is slow, the lyrics great, the vocals double thanks to bassist Ricardo Galvan's second ones.

Yeah, "Baby I Smile" is the inevitable love song of the album, but it's not boring at all and is embellished by cellos and French horns, while I dare to say I can find something similar to Alice in Chains in "Your Love's Gone Cold" and "Year of Black" includes the best riff of the whole 15 tracks, alà Zakk Wylde if you allow me.

I suppose some reviewers may've been tempted to define Chromium Blitz almost a prog metal band, but for me there's only hevay metal containing several ideas, some quite fresh actually, and the feeling of 70's bands. By the way, the recording is fantastic, the guitars crushing, deign of a thrash band, and the drum work heavy as needed. The two singers sometimes remind me of Ozzy and on certain occasions Eagles' voice, in others even Yes's, but this sounds to me a bit pedantic, so I'll stop with comparisons and I'll tell you that the band can only writea song like "Visions", only melancholic acoustic guitars, so as to prepare you to "Til' the Bitter End", a touching song that every musician, not only guitarists, will appreciate, from the lyrics, the deep feeling inside and the excellent use of fluid metrics.

The world's funeral has almost arrived, and people need faith songs about the eternity of the soul like "Life is Waiting" now; the vocals sound very Ozzy-like here and there're cool bass lines as well. To me it feels like no beginners' luck to have a tough song like "Breaking the Rules", grinding all and everybody home and live; get that ass-kicking chorus that is worth the buying of the CD by itself!

"I Know" is very strange, at the threshold of psychedelic HM, but until it's OK to my ears, there's nothing to worry about, while the closing track "Restless Night" is preceded by a disquieting intro "911", fit for the darkest and most wicked song of the group.
The artwork is essential and not de luxe, but very detailed about the instruments used track by track.
A good 15 tracks for over 68 minutes of coherent high quality rocking HM. If you miss "Hard Times", you won't be able to say I didn't warn you!


Po Box 140216, Nashville, Tn 37214 - USA (include a legal size S.A.S.E.)
E-mail: chromiumblitz03@yahoo.com
Booking info: 615-8897772 or 615-4590856

SCOTT CLARKE, v., electric & acoustic g., drums and percussions
JACK BROWNING: Electric g., organ, piano & synth