Chrome Hoof – Crush Depth

Chrome Hoof’s release is worth it just for the sleeve notes, which detail a story recounted by a biscuit. But I should call time on my flippancy, because I don’t want you to think that zaniness is the main attraction on Crush Depth. No, it’s the brilliant sweep of the music which could easily grace a film score; an hour in length and possessing the sort of enlightened mash-ups that only come with a band prepared to go the whole way.

Starting off with Core Delusion, a track that sounds like some prelude to a Star Wars or Jacques Cousteau film, or a heavy metal take on Blondie’s AutoAmerican and then the magnificent Crystalline (a shriekathon that soon stomps up like some short-changed angry punter, demanding your attention) Crush Depth allows the listener not one jot of respite, and this attitude is maintained right the way through the LP’s length. There are stopping points that allow you to draw breath (Towards Zero, Bunker’s Paradise), but on the whole this is a ridiculously colourful, slightly (!?) paranoid ride through the Deep. Old gits should think Magma after buckets of speed, or Parliament being forced to play with the Slits. And who takes on Rodelius & Moebius and slides that august (but fruity & funny pair) into leather pants and dancing spats and gets away with it? Why, this band on Deadly Pressure

What really gives Crush Depth its power is the unrelenting brilliance and pace of the instrumentation. A  heady combination of slap bass, ridiculous synths and scratching, acerbic strings are the main informants that allow the vocals to swoop and soar in a way that would be well-nigh impossible in another setting. When the guitars smash in on One Day and Third Sun Descendant, or silence allows the sub-funk run out on Labyrinth or Towards Zero, the hairs literally stand up on the listener’s neck. It’s brilliantly orchestrated. Check out the beginning of Sea Hornet which just swoops into your consciousness, ready formed, shiny, and tough and completely over the top. The bit where it meanders into Gong territory is a secret, terrible joy. The Gong link can also be heard in Witch’s Instruments and Furnaces, where there’s a bit of space whispering going on…

This is a truly great record, and deserves to be in everyone’s collection. I really should have reviewed it earlier, but I was enjoying it too much as a “secret” pleasure…. It might take a while for the uninitiated to get over the shock, mind.