Chrome are an influential IndustrialPost Punk band from San Francisco. The band, founded in 1975 by the late mastermind Damon Edge (born Thomas Wisse) and recurring bassist Gary Spain, initially played Psychedelic, experimental rock music described by some as "Brian Eno meets Santana". However by 1978, following the addition of effects-overloaded guitar-god Helios Creed, the band began taking in Punk influences and developed into the Industrial Acid Punk for which they are known. Their 1979 album, Half Machine Lip Moves, is widely considered their defining statement.The band split following the 3rd From the Sun and Raining Milk albums, after which Edge would continue to use the band name and release more synth-based (and heavilyderided) works until his death in 1995. Then in 1997 Helios Creed, who had been experiencing a prolific solo career since 1985, took the Chrome name back and returned it to its noisy Rock roots. The Helios-fronted band has sporadically recorded and performed ever since.The band's recordings through 1982's 3rd From the Sun were instrumental to the development of Industrial Rock, and the band were directly influential to the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, Butthole Surfers, The Jesus Lizard, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Prong, and Psychic TV.Helios is currently in the process of recording a new Chrome album, as well as working with Pledge Music to get unreleased '79-'80 material finally put onto disc. The band's current lineup is Helios, Aleph Omega, Lou Minolti, Jay Tausig, and Tommy Cyborg.The band also has a YMMV page.
The Band Minus the Face: Though Damon was the band's founder, his work post-Helios only proved that Helios was the more talented band member.
Breakup Breakout: While no one involved in Chrome ever got famous, Helios has had a particularly lauded solo career. Damon not so much, though Alliance, one of the few albums he released under his name and not Chrome, is one of his better-reviewed post-Helios records.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Damon and Helios, drug users and futurists. Helios is also an active conspiracy theorist, particularly with UFOs and space debris.
Corpsing: Helios keeps laughing at something in "A Cold Clammy Bombing". You can tell because he's even louder than Damon, who's singing lead.
Cover Version: While the band never did covers, Prong did a live cover of "Armageddon", and The Jesus Lizard did a cover medley of "TV as Eyes" and "Abstract Nympho", which they released as the "Chrome" single.
Darker and Edgier: Each album was progressively more nightmarish than the last during the band's initial run.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The Visitation. It featured singer Mike Low, who sometimes slipped into a falsetto, and guitarist John Lambdin, who took every chance to make a string-bending Santana-esque guitar solo. Funnily enough it's probably their most normal album, featuring no cutting-and-pasting, no heavy guitar processing, and no samples.
The Read Only Memory EP is 21 minutes long, and though there are individual tracks, the whole thing runs uninterrupted. The re-release on the No Humans Allowed compilation takes it Up to Eleven, having the entire EP on one track and having it run twice: once normally and then in reverse.
The individual tracks of the Chronicles series range from 5 to 17 minutes.
"Armageddon" from 3rd from the Sun is nearly 9 minutes, and "Mithras" and the title track from Retro Transmission are 8 and 10 minutes respectively.
Everyone Has Standards: Alien Soundtracks was developed from a set called Ultra Soundtracks, which was recorded for a radical San Francisco strip show. The show rejected it for being too radical.
Garage Band: The early years. Half Machine Lip Moves was recorded in Damon's living room.
Genre-Busting: One of the reasons the band never broke out from the underground was that nobody knew how to market them: they didn't fit into anything.
Last Note Nightmare: "TV As Eyes" closes a high-energy Punk Rock/Noise Rock song with a wall of sampled voices (some normal speed, some chipmunk speed) and a sinister Moog riff. It's basically a warning to the listener exactly what they've gotten themselves into, as the album only gets crazier from there.
Laughing Mad: "Chromosome Damage" ends with some distorted, yet noticeably psychotic laughter.
Long Runner: The name had to be revived a few times, but as late as 2014 Helios is still performing and recording under the Chrome banner.
Each album introduced new elements to the band's sound, though you could say Half Machine Lip Moves solidified the band's best-known Industrial Acid Punk sound, Red Exposure was more clearly New Wave-influenced, and Blood on the Moon developed a more Industrial Metal sound.
Damon Edge's first post-Helios album, Into the Eyes of the Zombie King, moved the band in a more Goth Rock, Synth Pop sound.
Helios' first post-Damon album, Retro Transmission, returned the band to Industrial Rock (albeit heavily based on Helios' own solo recordings). The 2012 single "PROPHECY" suggests that the new album will return to the Half Machine-era style.
New Wave: Dabbled in it, particularly in the "Anti-Fade" and "Meet You in the Subway" tracks from the Subterranean Modern compilation, the Inworlds single, and the Red Exposure album.
Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Rm. 101" opens with the usual cacophony of synth and guitar noise, but then gives way to some very lost-sounding, clean guitar noodling.
Stage Names: Damon Edge (Thomas Wisse) and Helios Creed
Three Chords and the Truth: Their music usually averts this, being very multi-layered and heavily processed, though Blood on the Moon may qualify by comparison, due to it being the band's most direct, most song/riff-based, and least fussy album.
The Unintelligible: Both Damon and Helios run their voices through several effects, possibly as a stylistic choice. Earlier recordings also had Damon outright babbling incoherently.
Vocal Tag Team: Both Damon and Helios shared vocals between Half Machine Lip Moves and Chronicles, though who did what isn't immediately obvious.