Now here's something surprising and quite refreshing. Lots of bands these days blend classic hard rock influences with modern day variants. So that was exactly what I was expecting when I insterted the disc into my CD player. After all, the cover art has a sludge and doom atmosphere all over it. But then the music started and I was pleasantly surprised.
Monte Nero is a rock band from Italy. According to the biography the members have been spending a lot of time in reheasing rooms and on stages with a variety of bands before they finally got together as a mature heavy rock quartet. The odd thing is, you can actually hear that evolution on this six track e.p. It's so varied that it almost sounds like a compilation released by a radio station that solely focuses on decent rock music. Monte Nero has been spending a lot of time and effort on songwriting and seems to willingly cross the borders between genres and styles.
The opener "Green Stoned" is probably the best song on this album and it's also the one that hints towards a metal sound with Opeth-like vocals. On other occasions genres like stoner rock and psychedelic rock shine through with their heavy riffing. In "In Death Or Mr. Brown" they even seem to flirt with sludge, and "Purple" has grunge written all over it. Even the vocals differ from song to song, making it a pretty confusing experience for the listener. To top it off, there's a Spanish folk-guitar solo in "Yellowsy" and piano in "Schwarz".
I can't decide whether Monte Nero made a conscious choice to be this diverse or that they need more time to blend all these influences and experiences into their own sound. Not that it's bad, not at all. Chrome is a very decent e.p. with six solid, well composed songs. If anything, it makes the listener curious for more because these guys can play their instruments in a very convincing way. They sound like they have been doing that since the late seventies...