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Concert Review: Chimaira – St. Petersburg, Florida, 12/10/09

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It’s been years since I’ve been to a really great metal show at a club: the kind of show where you’re tired just from the pounding of the double bass drums shaking your core and watching the ‘yout’s’ smash each other up in the pit, the kind of show where the music just pulls you in and you remember that no matter how divergent and varied your musical taste gets, there is nothing like really good metal. Last Thursday night in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, Chimaira delivered.

Chimaira, along with Dirge Within and Whitechapel, are wrapping up a supporting slot on Trivium’s 65-date Into the Mouth of Hell We Tour. The St. Petersburg show was a homecoming of sorts for the always-good-in-concert Trivium, who started in the local Orlando music scene, just an hour and change away.

The State Theatre is one of those great small rock venues, that also happens to be blessed with a good sound system for such a small place. The old movie theater’s acoustics lend themselves well to the sonic onslaught of metal, and Chimaira pushed the room’s auditory boundaries.

Chimaira was part of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, and while they veered toward the groove metal/metalcore of bands like Hatebreed, they have stepped out of that box, and are now a tightly-honed metal band that brought a divergent crowd of skinheads, older metalheads, and quasi-emo kids. They even drew out some girls into the mosh pit.

Earplugs at the ready, I went into the main room of the State Theatre just in time to see Chimaira take the stage. The band opened with the brutal “The Venom Inside.” One of the good things about seeing a band near the end of a tour is that they play tightly and with confidence. Guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries were spot on. Mark Hunter’s vocals came through as clear as his deep scream could; he was also surprisingly personable during the obligatory on-stage banter. It was difficult to pick out Chris Spicuzza’s keyboards and samples, but that hardly drew away from the show.

The band ripped through some of their more popular songs like “Nothing Remains” and “Power Trip.” But 2007’s “Ressurection” really brought the concert to a head, people screaming the lyrics, diving off the stage, and running a pit that took up the whole floor. The crowd didn’t have time to rest and erupted again during the song “Pure Hatred”, whose misanthropic lyrics (I/hate/everyone) were the perfect topper to a killer show.

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