Chrome Molly – Gunpowder Diplomacy


Review by Brian McGowan


Another rock/metal band makes the long, tortuous journey through heavy traffic on the road back from the eighties.

The eighties: 4 albums and critical acclaim, championed by Kerrang and compared to Def Leppard, it all looked rosy. But somehow, Chrome Molly managed to escape fame and achieve obscurity, culminating with the breakup of the band in 1990.

That was then. Now, the album title, the artwork and the politically charged lyrics,  railing against the system, all add up to an anarchic metal experience, right? Wrong.

The new, improved Chrome Molly sounds a lot different to its predecessor. Harder and undeniably heavier, this iteration fairly barrels down the highway, lights flashing, pistons pumping and all six cylinders singing in perfect harmony. Nu Wave Of British Heavy Rock.

Production, handled by Toby (Little Angels/Gun) Jepson is tight as a drum. Busy guitars crank up the action while the lyrics take aim at public apathy and moral decline, pulling the trigger when conglomerates (Corporate Fear) and TV Cop shows (TV Cops) hove into view.

But you can’t escape your past – or unlearn it – and accordingly, the music creeps back into NWOBHM mode with ‘Stop (Love)’  and ‘Short Sharp Shock’. Both are propelled by thudding rhythms, clanging guitars and frenetic, chopping lead axe work, but the tracks‘ punchy choruses are let down by unfocused verses.

Then we get ‘Clean Outta Luck’, a track, a song, that climbs out of the past for a moment, takes a look around and very impressively takes a shot at adapting to today’s ironic rock. It paves the way for the stomping, hard driving, ’Supercharged’, an update on the wracked, anthemic street rock of Mott The Hoople.

Arguably, two tracks in the album’s second half stand out head and shoulders above the rest.

The very personal (and painfully so) ‘All In My Mind’ – full of acute observation and bitter reflection – takes us further back, to the time of psychedelia and ringing, pealing guitars.
And album closer, ‘The Runner’ takes those elements and marries them to a slow, sliding, ragged rock riff and a haunting lyric, riddled with anguish and regret.

The remaining tracks rarely hint at that promise, presented so tantalisingly. Even average songs, like ‘Complicated’ and ’Billion Dollar Heart Attack’ are undone by lumpen, mid tempo grooves and anodyne riffs.

It’s unquestionably a solidly constructed heavy rock album, with a handful of highpoints, but overall it lacks the character and identity to truly make an indelible mark today.

6 out of 10

1. Corporation Fearchrome molly gunpowder
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