Exposé Online banner

Chrome Hoof — Chrome Black Gold
(Cuneiform Rune 369, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-12-05

Chrome Black Gold Cover artThis will rank as one of the most eclectic releases of the year… heck, maybe even the decade, and a definite bizarre twist from what one would normally expect from Cuneiform. Not being well versed in the Chrome-Hoof-ography (they have a few releases before this one dating back to 2004, regarded highly by those who have heard them), I only have this single reference point, but the eleven tracks presented here by this British ten-piece encompass a collision of numerous different styles and ideas; the first listen was almost like hearing a compilation by half a dozen different artists, although subsequent listens have provided some conceptual threads that tie them all together. The opening instrumental “Enter the Drobe” is a heady mix of aggressive grooves and proggy moves with a dash of heavy guitars at the end, where they jump right into the second tune “Knopheria,” a vocal tune with a strong dance beat that could best be described as a head-on between Thinking Plague, Zappa’s mallet percussion, and Asian pop music with beautiful elastic guitars linking everything together. Then it’s back to another blistering prog piece “When the Lightning Strikes,” with some formidable female vocals, that continually shifts gears throughout its five-minute duration, occasionally adopting growling bass grooves not unlike classic Magma, although all taken, this track sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. Nor do most of the other cuts here, like the heavy electronic-driven intro to “Ultimate Sealed Unit” that quickly turns into one of the coolest rock-fusion tunes on the album, the chamberesque hints of “Andromeda,” or the funky ska-beat propelled “Tortured Craft,” where they bring out the mallets again. In short, with ten players covering all the standard rock instrumentation, plus violin, saxes, bassoon, trumpet, all sorts of keyboards, multiple vocalists and additional guest players, Chrome Hoof can be anything they want to be at any moment, and they take full advantage of that, and everything that’s available to them, jumping from one style to another, while always remaining interesting and challenging. There’s a lot here to keep a listener engaged. Amazing stuff.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Chrome Hoof

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Amygdala - Complex Combat – It’s been a few years since Amygdala’s eponymous debut, a complex, powerful and high-energy opening statement if there ever was one; and as strong as it was, its main weakness was the fact that...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover

Byron Metcalf with Steve Roach



Print issues