Chrome Molly – “Hoodoo Voodoo” (Edel earMusic)
Leicester’s finest, the Mollies have been going since 1982. Coming in at the tail end of NWOBHM and often associated with the movement, personally I’ve always felt they were somewhat removed from metal, although definitely a hard rock band with a ballsy edge when needed. Added to that was vocalist Steve Hawkins, whose melodic pipes were very AORish and on occasion could even be new romantic lol! Whatever the case, it didn’t hold back their popularity and soon they were touring with the likes of Ozzy and Alice Cooper, releasing 4 albums before packing up the cases in 1991. Returning to the studio with Toby Jepson in 2013, they released their comeback album “Gunpowder Diplomacy” and have been touring steadily back since. “Hoodoo Voodoo” is their 6th release and man, what a corker it is! Rather than mix it up or even modernize, Chrome Molly have gone balls out in producing an album that not only resonates the 80s but actually rocks it unashamedly – right down to being recorded live just like they did back in the day. The tracks are a mixture of searing hard rock, pure rock anthems and yes, even AOR but no mish mashes, right down to Hawkins’s voice which although remaining respectfully soulful even after all these years, is (thankfully) devoid of his past Spandau Ballet wailings lol! I absolutely love the guitar sound, reverberating energy with those crunching riffs and wild ass solos pulsating over the 10 tracks here, making this release feel like it’s from some young band of fiery upstarts rather than veteran rockers close to retirement. Best of all, the quality of the songs is truly impressive, clearly written and played with the intention of getting the listener to rock out not just once but be equally memorable – no wonder many people who saw these guys in the 80s still remember them!!! From the metalized 80s rocker of ‘Can’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’ right down to its searing wailing solo and fretboard burning to the deep n heavy ‘Indestructible’ with its futuristic prog like melodies and once again, that heavy guitar sound, it was hard to sit still without breaking out that air guitar once again. But the final hammer blow – and true pounding heavy metal anthem had to be ‘Pillars Of Creation (Albion)’ with its pumping groove to back up those amazing tribute lyrics ‘…then came the Leppard, Maiden, UFO…Motorhead and Saxon, their names are in our hearts…Lynott, Page, our leaders from the start..’ – yeh, how’s about that for the new national anthem! Rather than going for the retro the “Hoodoo Voodoo” on this album worked its musical magic to win a 5 star rating without question. Well done lads, respect!