Man, do I hate industry buzzwords. Nothing, and I do mean nothing makes me more willing to hate a band than going into their press kit to find the “vocal member” of the band coming off with a line like “we went into this record trying to reinvent ourselves”. It usually means one of two things; either the band had no concrete ideas and just put anything they could scrap together onto the cd, or you get a record that sounds almost exactly like the last one, and the band is too delusional to understand that. Needless to say, when I read the Chimaira press kit and vocalist Mark Hunter was quoted with the “reinvent ourselves” line, I cringed. Unlike forerunners to the phrase like Disturbed or Godsmack, Chimaira might actually have reinvented their sound on their third, self-titled release. With less of a slick sound, longer songs and development of the sound that has clearly become their own, CHIMAIRA could very well be onto the release that pushes them from a big new-school band to a major metal band to be held in the same light as a band like Slayer, or more recently Slipknot.
Probably the most appealing quality to CHIMAIRA is the continued evolution of their guitar parts. Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries are singlehandedly redefining this genre’s guitar playing with their conglomeration of metalcore chug sound with blistering old-school thrash riffs. Songs like the raging “Save Ourselves” or the final opus on the CD, “Lazarus”, feature the growth in this combined sonic style. As you listen through the record, you can’t help but be lured into the sound these guitar players create. In reality, this feature of combined styles will probably be what pushes this band over the top. The new-school kids that worship boring, one dimensional riffs from bands like Lamb Of God get more than they would from LOG, while old school “big guitar” fans of acts like a Testament or a Slayer will get alluring blasts of guitar rage throughout as well. Horns up high once again to the band for including solos instead of simply filling the songs with useless verses. Excellent stuff.
Another feature that is bound to be noticed by most that have followed Chimaira is the change in dynamic on the bottom end of the songs. The thick basslines of Jim LaMarca combined with the newfound dirge of former Dying Fetus drummer Kevin Talley adds a fresh, new feel to the music as a whole. Considering Talley’s background with bands like Fetus, there’s certainly no surprises that the drumwork is phenomenal. However, it is surprising how much more depth is brought to the sound from the combination of Talley and LaMarca. Songs like “Salvation” plod along while unleashing furious blasts of bottom end throughout.
Little has to be said about vocalist Mark Hunter. In his businesslike way, he has seemingly done away with the lower end “clean” sound that made the occasional appearance on their last release and come back with his most gut-wrenching performance since Chimaira has been a band. Unlike many screamers of the genre, you get more of a passionate feel from Hunter’s performances on each and every track. You can tell on songs like “Bloodlust” that he means what he’s saying, and is not just screaming to scream.
PITRIFF RATING – 9/10 – The sound is updated. The songs are a bit longer and more developed. Chimaira is more a seasoned band than ever before. CHIMAIRA seems destined to push these Cleveland natives to the next level. Looks like it’s time for Bleed The Sky to update their act!Powered by Sidelines