Chrome~ Feel it Like a Scientist
Released August 5, 2014 on King of Spades Records
1- Nephilims (Help Me!) 4:10
2- Prophecy- 5:17
3- Lipstick- 4:10
4- Lady Feline- 3:11
5- Something in the Cloud- 4:20
6- Six- 2:06
7- Unbreakable Fluoride Lithium Plastic- 3:51
8- Captain Boson- 4:09
9- Big Brats- 2:38
10- Brady the ChickenBoy- 1:18
11- Slave Planet Institution- 2:31
12- Cyberchondria- 7:31
13- Himalayanelimination- 3:27
14- The Mind- 5:00
15- Systems Within Systems- 3:48
16- Nymph Droid- 4:04
I have been eagerly anticipating this day for quite a few months for the chance to hear the first new Chrome album in 12 years!!! Last year’s Half Machine From the Sun was amazing, and I truly loved it (see my review here), but as great as it was (and IS), the material on Feel it Like a Scientist is NEW Chrome! Yes, the material is NEW, and it was recorded over a two-year period with a new lineup behind Helios Creed as well, consisting of singer Anne Dromeda, Lou Minatti on guitar, drummer Aleph Omega, bass players Lux Vibratus and Steve “Trash” Fishman, and finally, Tommy Grenas on synthesizer/keys. By his own admission, Helios Creed has finally put together the Chrome lineup that he has always dreamed of. The man must be very happy, because this album is definitely Chrome to the next level, bringing them into the 21st century.
Just the other day, Helios Creed asked his fans a question on his Facebook page: “Chrome or Helios Creed solo…is there a difference?” I actually have always thought that there was a difference, mainly because his solo stuff was under his sole control, being able to write and perform what he pleased – 100% Helios. Even his post-Damon Edge Chrome stuff, like 2002’s Angel of the Clouds and Ghost Machine was kind of different from his more psychedelic, guitar heavy solo music. After listening to Feel it Like a Scientist, I am inclined to change my mind. The new album is a combination of sounds ranging from Blood on the Moon era Chrome ( the tribal Spaciness of Systems within Systems), and Helios Creed’s solo material from the Lactating Purple/Kiss to The brain era ( like the song Something in the Cloud). It is clear that This is Helios Creed’s Chrome. Now having said that, I want to emphasize that this new material, while having attributes of past material, is most definitely the next level in terms of dynamics, production, and sound.
Songs like Slave Planet Institution, and Lipstick contain that Psychedelic Spacepunk that is a trademark of Chrome, complete with Creed’s dark, eerie guitar work, effects-drenched vocals, with a base of solid drums and bass that keep it all together. The vocals are quite excellent as well, Creed’s voice is the best it has ever been, and Anne Dromeda adds an extra dimension to the songs, as she has a beautiful voice when she is singing, as well as a sinister edge when she brings the darkness. One of the standout songs, The Mind, possesses traits of the classic Chrome Acid-Punk sound with its hypnotizing electronics, and piercing guitar lines and lyrics such as: “I see your face-In another Place- I wonder Why- I begin to Fly- Where are my Children?-Where are my Eyes?- Where are my Feelings?- Where are the Skies?”
One of the songs that many fans may be familiar with is Prophecy, as this was one of the songs that were streamed early on as a tease, through the Chrome PledgeMusic crowd funding campaign. This song, in my opinion, is a good representation of the album, with spooky machined vocals, Psych-Punk guitar blasts and electronic ambient undertones. One thing that always disappoints me is when bands that have been around for a while change their sound and style, in an attempt to reach a younger generation. It almost always causes true fans to jump ship. I am here to tell you that this is the Chrome that we have loved for years – Chrome are as hungry as the newest band out there, and as relevant as ever!
Listen- I can pick and choose songs, stating this one is great, or that one is a standout, but it is a ridiculous pursuit. there are 16 songs on this album-which is more music than most bands put out on a standard album, and I loved each and every one of them. None of them sound alike, and the positioning of each song on the album is perfectly placed. It starts huge, cranking out the industrialized electro jams that I was expecting, and it progressively became more trippy and ethereal as it moved along, coming to the 4th song Something in the Cloud, which fittingly clocks in at 4:20 (wink wink). By this time, the tone is darkening when we get to #6, Unbreakable Fluoride Lithium Plastic (Best song title EVER!), a dark and ominous song replete with spoken word vocals over an experimental/Avant-Garde soundscape. I was transfixed by the sample that repeated the lines “Your heart-Sticky-Your Skin Feels Rubbed and Chafed” over and over- truly creepy and just fun, in a gave me the heebee-jeebees kind of way.
By the time we arrive at song #9, Big Brats stomps in like a bully, sounding like a cross between AC/DC and Ultravox– which is really a unique combination if you think about it. This is followed by Brady the ChickenBoy, a short blast of weirdness and noise. It is obvious that Helios is having some fun while recording, because he is clearly laughing during this song, and that made me smile. This is where the album began to change direction, and became more electronic, ethereal and danceable. Cyberchondria (#10) brings the trance-like dark ambient aspects of Chrome, offering mesmerizing synth lines while the many layers of spaced out guitars are traveling in different directions, pulling your mind into fragmented pieces as you try to take it all in. Then suddenly it all converges, leaving you with the sensation of being on an elevator that has stopped abruptly, after free-falling from 50 stories at high-speed. Then HimalayanElimination clanks its way into the set via an Experimental/Industrial assault that hints at Throbbing Gristle, a contemporary of early Chrome
The last song, Nymph Droid is a dark Ambient piece that is almost soothing , bringing you down from the emotional ride like a musical decompression chamber that offers a gentle, metallic kiss on the forehead, enveloping you in an electronic hug.
I can see this album influencing the next generation of impostors, much like the Chrome of the 80s, which has been called an influence by many of the more interesting bands of the past 30 years- from Prong to Nine Inch Nails and The Butthole Surfers, just to name a few. The only difference, I believe, will be that Chrome won’t be left in the dustbin, while others move up the food chain based on what they appropriated from the band’s vast catalog. No, I don’t think so. What should happen, is that once this album hits, and all the cool kids latch on to this unique, and fresh sound, Chrome will become an overnight sensation. Indy labels will be clamoring to record them, hipsters will swear that they heard them first at a yogurt-making session in their East Village walk-up.
What will probably happen after this album is released is that all the cool kids will hear this, and start their own bands, pretty much aping Creed’s style, thereby becoming overnight sensations.. They will have Indy labels clamoring to record them, and hipsters will swear on a stack of veggie burgers that they were the first to hear them, at a beard-trimming seminar in Austin.
Hopefully Feel it Like a Scientist will be THE Chrome album that will finally break through to at least a small portion of the masses. There is essentially no one making music like this today. No One. For that reason alone this album should be devoured by the “cool” stoners, tweakers, club kids, punks, nerds and hipsters of this generation. Because, if authenticity is the standard, no band is more authentic than the creators- namely Chrome.
Stream the new Chrome release, Feel it Like a Scientist for free here for a limited time.