Chrome Division – One Last Ride

Calling it a day nearly fifteen years and five full-length albums after their inception, Norway’s Chrome Division are riding off into the sunset with one final record to send them on their way.

Although the band officially formed in 2004, the idea for Chrome Division was conceived in 1999 by Dimmu Borgir frontman Shagrath (Stian Tomt Thoresen) and the bands then bassist, Nagash (Stian Arnesen). However, due to Shagrath’s commitments with Dimmu, and Arnesen’s departure from the band, nothing came of the project until 2004 when the two got together once more – a reunion which didn’t last long, as Shagrath replaced Arnesen (now a drummer going by the name Lex Icon) with Tony White from Minas Tirith.

After more additions to the line-up, the band released a couple of well-received albums but had to part ways with singer Eddie Guz, replacing him with Shady Blue of Susperia. Now in 2018, and reunited with their original vocalist, the Norwegian Hard Rockers have come full circle for their final release, the aptly titled One Last Ride (Nuclear Blast).

After the Spaghetti Western spoken-word intro of ‘Return From the Wastelands’ (American style cowboy stuff spoken with a European accent will always sound bizarre) the album kicks off with ‘So Fragile’, a song which sounds like Powertrippin’ era The Almighty drunkenly wrestling with Black Label Society over the last bottle of whisky.

In fairness, most of the songs carry that same style of thick and weighty, groove-laden riffing, but most are still clearly distinguishable through some neat individual touches along the way. ‘Back In Town’ adds a little bit of AC/DC, ‘The Call’ features a riff not too far removed from Velvet Revolver, and ‘This One Is Wild’ sounds like the band channeling their inner W.A.S.P.

The sleazy crawl of ‘You Are Dead to Me’, the cowbell and wah-wah pedal intro to ‘Staying Until the End’, the general awesomeness of the rip-snorting ‘I’m On Fire Tonight’, and the slide guitar on the epitaphic title track are all great little moments (although the less said about the lyrically challenged ‘We Drink’ the better), but it’s with the uptempo and bouncy ‘Walk Away In Shame’, the album’s second track, that the biggest departure occurs as it features a guest vocal appearance by Norwegian pop singer Miss Selia.

A satisfyingly solid exit for the band, One Last Ride delivers everything you want from Chrome Division. And just a little bit more.

7.0/10

GARY ALCOCK