Chrome - Blue Exposure (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Blue Exposure (2023)


Chrome’s newest album arrived with some drama. Apparently Helios Creed, the director of Chrome since the passing of Damon Edge in 1995, submitted a mix that was freakier and more whacked out than the mix released by Cleopatra records. It’s an interesting analysis because while Chrome’s classic era featured heavy warped, heavily morphed sounds, the Damon Edge era was significantly cleaner. Similarly, Helios Creed’s ‘90s solo records were more along the lines of metal/experimental rock than the massive soundfluxes of Classic Chrome.

So, the only thing we can do is absorb Blue exposure as it is, not what it might have been. Notably, the album’s title and the song “Chromosome Damage II” both make reference to Chrome classic era, but this doesn’t appear to be a re-hash older material. Really, the record is fairly in line with recent Creed-Chrome albums. Creed’s inimitable growling guitar drives the procession while machine and robots scream in the background… and foreground.

Dark Sci-Fi guides the lyrical concepts here. “The City of Dead Stars” has some fantastic guitar crushing by Creed as he hisses about futuristic destruction… or Hollywood. In fact, the whole album seems to be one of Chrome’s most acidic records. As Creed snarls throughout the album, his voice cloaked in a cybernetic buzz, angst and hatred spill forth as his guitar slithers around. Here and there, Creed has talked about being done with Chrome and wanting to work on solo material. I’m a little shocked by those statements because this album is some of the hardest, nastiest, and most energized material Creed has put out in the last two decades. I liked his last Chrome albums a great deal, mind you, but this album seems unified in both concept and burning energy.

King Crimson’s Mel Collins shows up on “Repo Man” to add some sonic damage as the band whirls forward. That is, Creed and company seemed propelled nit by planning, but a spontaneous energy created by both a sense of fun and anger. The follow up track, “Bathing in Life” only further exemplifies this as it drifts into a Pink Floydian/Crimsonian astral tide as guided by cosmic broad sound as structure.

This record rocks. If Creed’s vision is freakier than this, I can only imagine how far out into the Chrome universe he travels. Bring it on, I say, but I’m glad I had this ride to prepare me for the expanse.