Chrome - Ghost Machine [Reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Ghost Machine [Reissue] (2023)


Ghost Machine is one of the long-lost Chrome albums released in the early 2000s on a relatively obscure European label. It essentially became a forgotten album a soon a sit was released due to lack of promo and distro. Over the past five years or so, Cleopatra records has been keeping the Chrome classics in print while also digging around for long lost artifacts. The Cleo repress of this quickly deleted record is the label’s latest unearthing.

Cut during the Helios Creed resurrection era, the album is Helios using the Chrome name, with Damon Edge having been dead for a number of years at the time of recording. That being established, Chrome records tend to be darker and freakier than Helios solo lps, which are usually more about jamming, so the album certainly deserves the Chrome moniker, especially on tracks like “The Wind,” where a drum-machine marches forward in mechanical fashion while Helios drops a bluesey, mindtrip solo over the top in a decidedly organic fashion.

As with most, or all, later day Chrome lps, the album is sprawling, with Helios engaging in a number of experiments. Sometimes he’s super aggressive, with a punk smash riff and a robo-distorto voice, such as with “Roots,” which really, could fit on Red Exposure or Third from the sun no problem. Other tracks are more “modern Chrome,” like “Inner Space,” which is an almost soothing ambient track. Meanwhile, “The Magic Bong,” finds Helios cutting in pure noise along with political samples and stomping guitars, ala “march of the chrome police.”

Ghost Machine bears the hallmarks of Chrome, nods to some past victories, all while sliding in some modern techniques. If anything, it shows that Chrome, or Helios as Chrome, was still working the Chrome magic even if it was in the dark where most people couldn’t see. Definitely recommended for Chrome fans.