by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Chrome Division - Doomsday Rock 'n Roll
(Nuclear Blast)

This whole thing started with Dimmu vocalist Shagrath on guitar and Nagash (Lex Icon, The Kovenant) on drums seven years back. But the lineup to see fruition sports only Shagrath as luminary, with Eddie Guz from The Carburetors winding up as the leader so to speak, at least the lead vocalist and one of note, his Lemmy-bred rock 'n' roar reaching out and handing you a vodka and tonic. The theme is biker metal, along the lines of Motorhead and Tank meets Turbonegro and Hellacopters, and it's mission accomplished, with a crackling scrapping recording, songs that court the nu-garage and punk, and Eddie sounding very much like Ron Chenier from Canuck Harley hollerers Fist. Smart, encyclopedic, talented metal guys pretty much can't screw up writing naively, writing down a few levels, so they get it right, even if one can't rave too highly about something like this. One complaint is that Eddie's got a bit of an accent, but it just makes it more cavemen and referential to the funnier stuff from the '80s, y'know, like French, Belgian and Swiss bands with their souped-up AC/DC jones.
Rating 7

Priestess - Hello Master

Canada's Priestess are nearly as confusing as their stoner rock brethren The Illuminati in terms of figuring out their release situation, what with the indie issue of this back in fall '05, and now a major label US launch in June '06 - their site is unusable as well, so don't look for help there, and thanks label guys for sending me an advance with no bio. Anyway, the main point is these beard-pullers fit with lust and gusto that whole new metal-marketed-to-non-metalheads thing that seems to have allowed The Sword, Wolfmother, Fireball Ministry, Artimus Pyledriver, QOTSA, and hopefully Black Stone Cherry, careers they should rightly never have imagined (ha ha, those crazy Buckcherry bitches' second flatulence fits I suppose, as well). Priestess are dangerously at the commercial end of it all, almost garage rock at times, with lots of Sam Roberts-type singing. Sure Spiritual Beggars do it better, but more power to anybody rockin' on with this much grit, energy, old timely distorted production, and yes - worthy of their major label deal - variety and charm. A tad too simple and rawk and Dirty Rig of rudimentary riff for my tastes, but hopefully this serves as a gateway band for all those folks I saw at the Wolfmother show to get deeper into the dozens upon dozens of stoner rock albums that are way better 'cos - dammit, I won't apologize for this - they are more purist of metal sincerity, bringing the chops from that way of thinking, as well as the groundedness that this is a lifestyle not to be treated with irony.
Rating 7.5

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