Review: Cronos - Dancing in the Fire (1990)


Giu 2 2007, 8:54

Neat Records.

Cronos, lead singer of Venom, goes solo in this 1990 effort Dancing in the Fire. What you'll find here is that he's trying to ride the coattails of the hair metal scene... We saw it surfacing a bit in Venom already with Calm Before the Storm, on his own he was able to go the direction he wanted. Unfortunately for him, the mainstream scene would soon die away and become nothing more than a curio to the outsider watching a VH1 special... Of course even then, Cronos won't get any airplay... That's sad, because this is really a very good album, and to be honest one of my personal favorites...

01 - Fantasia: This is a great establishment of the album's sound as a whole. Repetetive riffs, lots of guitar play, a really good melody and heavy on the rythmn... Cronos's typical snarl has become cleaner for this sound, perhaps that is what Warrior of Celtic Frost should have done with the silly Cold Lake. Anyway, this is great cock rock and the album just gets better.

02 - Terrorize: Crunching guitars round out the opening with a great melody more in line with Motley Crue. The melody is good here, it could have been heavier, but oh well. Good guitar work here, nice transition about half way through and Cronos gives us a lot, soon followed by one of the better solos on the album. Back to where we began and the song rounds out. I like alot of Cronos's wailing on this one.

03 - Dancing in the Fire: The thing about title tracks is that they very rarely live up to the album, but this is an exception here. Nice quiet opening and soon we hear Cronos giving a howl and a kick ass melody that is nice and heavy. If you want to know why I consider this album is a favorite, this track alone pretty much sums it up. This track rocks hard as hell. The brief transitions and solos about halfway through are probably the best on the album, then the tempo picks up quite a bit before finishing off where we began. Standard construct, but it works.

04 - Speedball: A bit more on the speed metal side here, and with Cronos back to his typical snarl, this is vaguely familiar territory. Sadly, it doesn't work too well on this album. It is a great track overall, good guitar work and fast tempo make good, but for the album as a whole this doesn't mesh too well.

05 - I'll Be Back: Sure, the opening may be a bit deceiving when you consider it nearly slips into ballad territory and the cleanest vocals Cronos has yet, but hold on this track goes into some of the best guitar work on the album. Wailing guitars, a kickass riff, and Cronos' cheesiest vocals... This could have been one of the biggest hits out there if it came out about five years earlier. If you like this kindof spandex metal like me, some of the solos will make your eyes bug out of your head!

06 - Vampyr: Creepy opening, mid-tempo introduction... Where the hell are we going? Because it keeps its footing firmly on the rockier side with some thrash elements to keep the momentum further, that's why this track fits better on the album rather than "Speedball". It's kind of funny, because the lyrics are more befitting to Venom than Cronos's solo stuff, but fuck yes! Once again, the transition halfway through just rocks you to hell, and if you think that's it... Just give it a minute when it slows down for some crunching melody and solos, then back to the main theme of the track. Just try not to snicker at the choruses on this one, that would be my only warning.

07 - Old Enough to Bleed: The album takes a bit of a turn here, Cronos begins to pull a bit of a David Lee Roth lyrics-wise here... Hell, melody-wise this would do grfeat as a rounchy Van Halen effort, but you think this track is the only one? OK, that's not really fair, there are some entrenched thrash elements here, but when you get right down to it... When the track goes intol blues territory, you'll see what a mean. I love this shit.

08 - Painkiller: I've never really figured whether or not I like this track. As far as hair-metal goes, this is probably the most orthodox track yet, but you still can't ignore that this is undoubtedly Cronos, there's still a little Venom here.

09 - Boobytrap: Now, if you thought I was kidding with the Van Halen comment on "Old Enough to Bleed", you ain't heard nothing yet. This is as much of a Van Halen imitation as you can get, even Cronos's vocals are silly and stupid singing about strippers and shit. I love it though, what till you hear one of the solos later one, you'd think the guys would be pulling an "Is you is, or is you ain't my baby" ala Tom & Jerry... This is a fun track, and the first time you go through the album it may come as a bit of a surprise. Good fun though.

10 - Bad Reputation: Thin Lizzy cover, it fits very well with the overall theme of this album done in the same style as early on in the album.

11 - Hell to the Unknown: This track tries to combine all the best elements of the album thusfar, but I think it fails a bit. Nice tempo and heavy on the guitar here, but the album is officially winding down at this point.

12 - My Girl: A ballad, every album of this type tends to have one. Sometimes a ballad can be nice, too bad this is perhaps the most forgettable track on the album.

13 - Chinese Whispers: An instrumental, but by god I love songs structured like this, I feel like I'm watching Rocky IV. Amazing guitar work here. It's short, so you won't get bored with it.

14 - At War With Satan: A great way to end this album. Cronos goes back to old territory and does a great cover of the Venom classic. It's basically the same thing except with a slicker sound and lots of guitar wails... I think it works, but nothing beats the original. But as I said earlier, the album is winding down and lengthwise, this version is truncated by comparison... But if we went with the whole song, we'd be beating a dead horse long before the album finishes, so a good compromise there. Anyway, here it is... "Who holds the keys to the seven gates?"
I'm not even going to try to play favoritism at this point, Venom is Venom and there is no compromise. This solo project is a solid effort and one my favorite pawn shop finds I've ever had. If this was done a few years earlier, it might have airplay on classic radio today... But Venom is priority, so better late than ever. And considering the sound Venom has had with their reunion albums, an artistic change as only helped him. If you can find this, I highly recommend it.

- M. CronosVenom


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