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Ever since the demise of Chimaira last year, I've been wondering who can step up to replace them. For most of their career, they were lumped in with either nu metal (somewhat unfairly, though that phase was short-lived) or the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, which is akin to saying that they have metalcore tendencies, a melodeath fetish, and a vocalist who could broaden his range. What seems to have happened now is that Chimaira have left rather a hole in that field, since they always played faster, more technically, and with less metalcore cliche than their contemporaries, plus their evolution was more interesting and varied than many - myself included - gave them credit for. 'Resurrection', as with most of Chimaira's albums, signalled the band bouncing back from a minor defeat or a period of forgetfulness on the part of the general public, and is for me the best representative of the group's sound for the 12 years between their sophomore album and their break-up.
The songs on 'Resurrection' generally play a little straighter than those on the previous self-titled album, though there is room for inventiveness at times, which is the part of the band's character that I miss most. I think every fan and non-fan has generous words for the title track, but there are several songs here that make the album more than the mere sum of its uneven parts. The common formula for any Chimaira song is to develop a single furious riff and use it to string parts of the song together, while bringing other riffs into play and hoping that their quality can support a verse or alter the dynamic of the song. As such, we don't end up with lots of great riffs on this album, but the band rely on their energy, subtle changes, and Mark Hunter's vocal perfomance to pull through. The times when we do get more than one significant riff per song, or the hit ratio of riffs becomes less important, is on the opening title track, 'Six', and 'Empire', though I wouldn't rule out 'Pleasure in Pain' either. The other songs suffer from being predictable, similar-sounding, or patchy, with a kind of buffet-style satisfaction - choose one of the following: a memorable chorus, an aggressive verse, or a cool solo section.
What makes me consider this album as a minor success is that Chimaira managed to forge their own sound, which is recognizable even among many similar bands, so I feel hesitant about deriding their riffing stye for being familiar or the drumming for its 'core distractions as well as its more interesting digressions. The band don't do a poor job, but no one makes a big individual impact. At times, we get a glimpse of individual talents, like a day a work with Matt DeVries on 'Pleasure in Pain' where he takes us through a few storming riffs, a tour around Rob Arnold's house on 'Six' where we get the works of melodies and solos for about three minutes, or a night in the pub with Jim LaMarca on 'Black Heart' where he rumbles and bubbles away with glee. The problem is that everyone is mostly passable, rather than good, and even the ever-present Mark Hunter doesn't possess enough different styles to keep me interested for too long.
This all means that about half the tracks are interchangable despite sounding distinct from one another, because there is nothing extremely obvious to come between 'Black Heart' and 'End It All', or 'Worthless' and 'No Reason To Live'. These are all solid songs, but they have precisely zero remarkable features. 'Empire' is remarkable because of that Scandinavian-style riff that blurts out black metal even though it actually isn't, whatever the closing keyboard additions might suggest, while the clean vocals with the lyrics "When you walk the path" are an unexpected atmospheric touch. The superlative title track discovers the album's main problem: that song utterly sweeps through the listener (and their meagre expectatons) with a furious riff, a chorus that makes Dwayne "The Rock" Hudson seem puny and lacking confidence, s shredding solo, and an outro that goes for precisely the kind of effect Machine Head went for on 'Davidian' and achieves it with attitude. Compared to this benchmark, the rest of the album feels like something is being held back - that vital spark that separates the skillful from the the believable. Chimaira knew what was needed and hit the target often enough, but their frequent lack of ambition and their inconsistency meant that they could never rise as high as they might have done. 'Resurrection' represents both the potential and the eventual downfall of the band.
What the hell is wrong with this band? Everytime they show that they have some real potential to go the distance (I'm referring to their self titled album), they always have to go and shit all over it. What the fuck.
The album starts off on a really, really strong note (Resurrection), blazing through the riffs with a killer mini-solo about 1:20 in, really good, and it really stands out. Unfortunately, this is one of the only things that stand out.
Whereas self titled had a lot of riffage in it (Save Ourselves comes to mind), it seems that on this album they simply got bored of writing interesting riffs after the title track.
The album basically meanders through itself with no sense of direction, and no chance of putting itself back on course, at least until the final track, but by then it's too late. Most of the riffage is completely heartless, even the drumming barely stands out. Most of the time all it really does is provide a course for the guitars to follow. Or is it the guitars that provide the course for the drums? Really, that's how mediocre this album this is. NOTHING stands out!
If you've heard, or own Impossibility of Reason, you may as well stick with that; because that's basically what this album is.
For me, at least, Chimaira's real debut was their self titled, and was their last album.
Do not buy this record.
Chimaira are determined to make me pull my hair out with frustration. Firstly they release some standard mallcore drivel. Then the plan was to get all their young fans raving by pretending to make real metal with their second offering by dressing their nu-metal lyrics up in some decent drumming and unbearably simple tremolo picked riffs. But then; SHOCK HORROR they release an album worthy of praise in the metal scene with decent riffs and mature lyrics, and suddenly their typical Roadrunner fan base don't get it anymore... Typical!
So what to do now they have a following in the mallcore/metalcore scene and damn good footing in the post thrash/groove scene? Answer: Simple just mix these two together and hopefully neither side will notice the difference!
So here we have Resurrection. The album explodes onto your eardrums with the title song complete with blast beats and Hunter utilising his more guttural death growls. This time out the band have opted for a thicker and altogether rawer sound. So far so good. But the single greatest downfall of this album is its lack of interesting guitar work and this is apparent from the off. Where are the tempo changes where are the blazing solo's of bygone days? They seem to have gone back to the Impossibility of Reason sessions here, and again with the tiresome breakdowns?!
Whilst the album does have some moments of noteworthy riffing namely on Pleasure in Pain and Empire its safe to say the guitars have been simplified again to make the album sound angry rather than mature. What have they got to be so angry about? They got a record deal, plenty of chicks and a pile of cash to keep their spirits up!
And as for the lyrics, well its back to the mallcore days of standard hate myself/you fare I’m afraid. Last time out they proved they are capable of dealing with these "life struggle" issues in their lyrics without sounding like whiney emo fags. A huge step back on this front then.
So Chimaira seem to have just missed the mark this time out, with a brutal album that is sadly let down by its childish crappy lyrics, filler and dull guitar work. Better luck next time.
OK, the following review is speaking as somebody who usually doesn't go for modern day new school metalcore stuff. In fact, with rare exceptions, I am firmly of the opinion that America dropped the ball and hard for metal long ago. As of this album, Chimaira are one of those exceptions.
This is a very well-written album that reeks of sincerity above all; these guys mean every chugging riff, every throat-ripping scream, and every double kick flurry. And it works, it doesn't come off as contrived as Killswitch Engage or many of their so-called peers in the modern American scene. This is metal and core in equal parts, dare I say it.
Mark Hunter's savage screams are intimidating and not as generic as your typical metalcore vocalist, and he displays a good clean voice as well, often layered in two or three part harmonies. The guitar work is not all sweep-picked wankery, too. In fact, the guitar leads are aggressive and exciting in an old school thrash metal manner with frequent use of wah-wah pedal and they convey a greater sense of urgency and emotion, especially on "The Flame", a harrowing enough song as is that is elevated to higher levels of intensity by its keening leads under Mark's screaming of "My God, what have I done!" You can even hear the bass very well in the mix with its growling tone taking the lead in the intros of "Six" and "No Reason To Live" and setting the mood for both songs. And Andols Herrick is an excellent drummer who navigates every song flawlessly no matter what the tempo with creative fills and tasteful use of double kick and cymbals. This guy deserves to be put up with the greats for his exceptional skill and remarkably non-triggered sound--well, OK, the kick drums are triggered, but not to the obnoxious degree that most bands use them to.
Standout songs: the epic "Six" with its moody bass intro developing into a behemoth of a tune that batters you mercilessly into the ground in the spirit of the song's chorus line "Never back down, never back down!"; "The Flame" which begins with sound effects that make me wince every time since it is a song about a father abusing his daughter and finally killing her in the heat of passion--the leads on this one, as I mentioned, are especially heartfelt; "Black Heart", and "Killing The Beast". I love how that last tune ends in a wash of staticy noise that absorbs the vocals and the trance-inducing tribal drumming.
This is above all an emotionally brutal album that really takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the dark side of the human psyche. From start to finish you can't help but listen and hang on for dear life as Chimaira surge, lunge, and smash their way through every song. But it also has a surprising level of subtlety and taste as well; the clean vocals are not overused and the breakdowns are not gratuitous. Everything feels as though it is in its proper place with no real excess, and this feels great!
I do believe there is hope for modern American metal, and its name is Chimaira. If this album is any indicator, the future is in good hands with these guys. I hope they keep up the good work this album is establishing!
Well I'll be damned, this is actually pretty good. After not really listening to any Chimaira, I first got into a few of their songs through picking up samples, Lazarus and Salvation both went down well for me off their previous album, but unfortunately the rest sucked. And I lost hope for the band, despite their at times interesting take on Metalcore. But when Kerrang released their little Metallica CD, I was blown away at how well the band pulled off Disposable Heroes, admittedly they had a great song to work with, but they shaped it so the vocals worked perfectly. So, when they came out with another album, I figured it's worth a look, and luckily, it has been.
The band is still definitely in metalcore territory, which doesn't bother me, because I quite enjoy the odd album from the genre, but they have definitely thrashed it up a little. Now, I'm not going to be like the other guy who reviewed this and say that this is a balls out thrash album, it's not, but there is a thrash influence coming through. None of the riffs could really be called true thrash riffs, but many have the same structure of The Haunted riffs, and if they get called thrash, then these riffs are thrash.
As for quality, there's a bunch of good stuff at the start, the title track has a cool riff about 20 seconds in, Pleasure in Pain is fast and one of most energetic songs that have come out of the camp. Worthless is musically strong, although it is lyrically worthless (yeah, I punned). Six is 9 minutes long and doesn't feel like it, which is always a good sign, despite it not being overtly progressive like Lazarus. However, A lot of the stuff in the middle is pretty average, or just plain poor, and sits way too much in the realms of mid-paced chunkiness, which the band really doesn't do very well. This is surprising as it is their base sound. The second half picks up again, although none of the songs have start to finish brilliance. Look at "End it all" for instance, cool riffs, bad lyrics, and unnecessary spoken sections.
Chimaira are still functioning as a very solid simple rhythm band, which provide quite enjoyable songs, which don't exactly blow your mind away with technicality, instead they simply aim to be catchy and fun, and not exactly deep listening. The band has developed some pretty cool solos, but since Trivium hit it big, every metalcore band has been trying to write great solos too. And for that reason they fail to be incredibly impressive. The guitarists are clearly not the most talented to ever grace us, but they know how to use what they have.
Mark Hunter is original, and for that reason can easily make some people hate the band, or like them. Luckily for those who dislike him, he's actually pretty low in the mix. But of course to the people who like him, like myself, this means that they have to listen to more of the bands music, which isn't exactly perfect. He's as raspy as ever, but now he tries out some death growls (background only). Hunters singing voice hasn't gotten any better since the last album, there's not much of it, but you know, its average. One thing that Chimaira has on other Metalcore bands is of course their varied song structures, which means that only a few songs have singing, rather than all.
Another strong point for the band is the drumming, which is pretty good thrash drumming when the tempo is up, and is thoroughly groovy when the band decides to slow down and crush. Andol’s has got a lot of both arm and foot control, and manages to have a strong, full sound most of the time.
The album isn't really going to blow your mind, or grab an anti-metalcore listener’s attention, let alone make them change their view point, but there's some solid fast metalcore here, it's still laden with a bunch of sub-standard stuff, but it's not too much, and shows the band is on the rise.
New record label. Old drummer returns. New style. New album.
Things have changed a fair deal for Chimaira over the past few years. After the release of their self-titled, there were fights, actual fistfights, between some members of the band. Kevin (the drummer at the time) wasn't getting along with everybody. Mark (vocals) and Chris (samples) almost left the band. Things were looking to spiral out of control.
However, I think having all those bad times was a blessing in disguise for Chimaira, as they have now produced their best album yet.
The album title states it perfectly - Resurrection. Resurrection from the near-death experience they were facing after their self-titled. And the songs have much more meaning this time round.
Personally, I think two things got them back on track...one, they got the hell away from Roadrunner Records. As stated on their DVD, Roadrunner was screwing them around, so they had to leave. Perhaps being picked up by Nuclear Blast saved them? Two, they got Andols back on the drums. He is a much better drummer than Kevin anyway, so it was good for them and good for the fans.
Now, onto the music...immediately, you can tell they have adopted a more thrashy style to their music. Tracks like "Black Heart" and "Needle" are good examples. They have tried several different styles of music throughout their albums, and while I think they all worked for them (yes, including "Pass Out Of Existence"), thrash seems to be the style that fit their playing much more. More natural, perhaps.
Mark's vocals are slightly more varied this time around. The last album had hardly any clean vocals, which I tend to like better, but this album needed clean's. Again, this fits well with the changed music style. I especially love the clean line of "Pathetic, isn't it?" on the track "End It All". Even though it's just one line, it's catchy and memorable.
The lyrics themselves are a little more thought out as well. "Resurrection" obviously deals with the resurrection of the band, but then there's tracks like "The Flame", which contains disturbing lyrics of a girl being raped by her father. Then tracks like "Worthless" and "Black Heart" have simple, almost emo-type lyrics, taking you back to "The Impossibility Of Reason" days.
The riffs this time around are much better as well. The opening riff of "Black Heart" is very catchy. The instrumental section of "Six", while slower than usual, contains some decent guitar riffing. The opening guitar/ambient on "No Reason To Live" would've been better omitted. They don't sound too great, and don't have any use to the song anyway. Luckily they stop and don't return after about half a minute. The guitars themselves aren't crunchy of chunky in any way...they're smooth, with minimal distortion, but still retain that heavy sound, not dissimilar to that on their second album.
As usual, the drumming is superb from Andols. His performance here exceeds anything he did on his previous two showings. I absolutely love his bass drum work in "The Flame", the most death-metal song on the album. His work everywhere is amazing. Plus, they're not too overbearing either...he knows when to let up and when to let loose.
One small aspect that shouldn't be overlooked is the fact that the songs are linked together. Not in a Meshuggah "Catch 33" way, but each song doesn't have a gap between them, keeping the songs connected by samples, mostly. Doesn't seem like a huge aspect of the album, but I love it when bands do that. It gives the album much more flow to it and a sense of continuity, much more than any of their previous efforts.
As a whole, this album is a must get for Chimaira fans, or even fans of thrash. I'm more into death myself, but this album gets a lot of replaying, and there is no need to look far to wonder why - this album is Chimaira's best yet.
Pros: Better riffs, catchier than previous efforts, got off Roadrunner so they could expand further with their sound, superior drumming, songs are linked.
Cons: Samples occasionally don't fit quite right, some average soloing.
Best tracks: Six, The Flame, End It All, Needle
Chimaira has always shown a lot of potential as a metal band. Even though they did the "nu metal" phase, the melodic death phase, and the epic metal phase (their first 3 albums in that order) - Chimaira have found their way to their roots in thrash metal. Finallly.
Chimaira took all the things that went wrong with their last album and fixed them for Resurrection. This album feels more heartfelt, pissed off is more of the term, and the album really cooks because it feels raw. This album doesn't feel as forced as their last few. The music is more fluid (if chunky riffs can be called that). The album has a definate flow that was missing from all their previous efforts - from beginning to the end it feels as though you have been taken on a journey. What a good album does.
Musically, the riffs are non-stop thrash influenced monsters that really got me headbanging to the music. Both guitarists in Chimaira have a lot of talent on the fretwork and for the first time Chimaira uses them to their full ability. Solos tear through most of the songs and even the leads have been brought to the front of the music instead of being an underscoring element.
The drums (with Andols back in the kit) have gone from death metal sound to more of a thrash sound. The cymbals are used more and the bass drum is less of an overpowering element. The drumming really supports a lot of the guitar work on Resurrection. Andols is a good drummer in his own right and he seems to be finally picking up some recognition.
Mark Hunter's vocals have also taken a step up. Although it is still pretty one sided post-thrash death growl, he seems to be trying to really vary the sound of his voice on many of the songs. There are parts in songs where there is singing that compliments Mark Hunter's growl. This helps the album from getting a little repetative.
Lyrically, Resurrection is at the top of its game. The lyrics are dark and angry but really thought filled. Well - some of them are. Songs like "Worthless" aren't so intelligent in the lyrical field but it gives the album some good variety in how the listener respondes to songs.
Overall, its a very empowering album that is meant to be dark but supportive in its creation and consumption. Chimaira really are one of the better new metal acts (expecially in the United States) and if they continue down the road they are going - possibly in metal history.
Songs to check out: Resurrection, Six, Empire.