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DVD REVIEW: Chimaira – The Dehumanizing Process

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If you like Pantera, Metallica, or Slayer, chances are that Chimaira is your band. The fact that they have earned endorsements from band members of most of those bands, most notably Kerry King from Slayer, certainly doesn’t hurt.

Living in Cleveland, Ohio, I know a bit more than most about Chimaira, rising metal gods that happen to call Cleveland their home base. You can call it a bit of an unfair advantage, and I am okay with that. I have been lucky enough over the past few years, to be able to watch the development of one of the top bands in today’s metal genre.

I was definitely stoked when I found out the band would be recording their latest album at home in Cleveland, and even more stoked, to find out that an old friend, Todd Bell, would be documenting the process for a planned DVD.

The Dehumanizing Process is the result of many hours of video accumulated not only in the studio, but also on the road as the band tours to support the resulting album The Impossibility Of Reason. 2 years+ of band activity are condensed into a very slick 90 minute documentary.

Early description promised that it would be a film that would show any curious musician just starting out what it is like to be in a signed band, and that is exactly what is accomplished here. You’ll see the band move through drummers like Spinal Tap, as their original drummer Andy Herrick leaves early in the touring process, to be replaced by Soilwork drummer Ricky Evensand, who is eventually replaced by current skinsman Kevin Talley. Band drama? It’s all present and accounted for on this DVD! The DVD culminates with footage of a sold out hometown show with Slipknot, making for a nice snapshot of how far the band progressed with the touring cycle for this album.

There are many reasons to be excited about this DVD. Top of the list is definitely the overall presentation and editing of the documentary, which definitely gives Metallica’s recent documentary a run for the money. In fact, I would give the edge to Chimaira, because unlike Metallica, director Todd Bell runs a much tighter ship in the editing process. This is 90 minutes of all killer, no filler, and in my opinion, the slickest band documentary you will find, done on a budget that was beyond minimal.

The DVD also features an hour of bonus live footage – the band at the top of their game, mixed for maximum metal by Colin Richardson (Machine Head). Also featured are all four of the videos that the band has made over the past couple of albums. As if that wasn’t enough, you also get the band’s hard to find and out of print debut e.p., This Present Darkness, which has been commanding top dollar on Ebay for the past few years.

The real gem on this DVD though, is the commentary track that has been recorded by the band that runs throughout the documentary feature. Chimaira frontman Mark Hunter is a noted DVD fan, and I have no doubt that it was his idea to do the track, and what a great idea. I would venture to say that there are times that the commentary track is better than the actual documentary. It is one of the funnier commentary tracks I have heard, featuring plenty of good moments that find guitarist Rob Arnold and bass player Jim LaMarca, sniping at each other like longtime siblings.

To use the term sibling is very appropriate with this band. The members share a deep bond that is evident when drummer Andy Herrick departs from the group, and the struggle to fill the resulting void. They clash like brothers, yet are united like family as they face a seemingly neverending amount of challenges while on the road, all the while in pursuit of the brass ring of success. Chimaira are a band that have faced many challenges that would have made most bands throw in the towel, and they stand musically as the heir apparent to metal gods like Pantera and Slayer. Ultimately, it is a mutual drive for success, along with a healthy sense of self-deprecating humor that keeps this band going.

Chimaira made a career album in my opinion, with The Impossibility Of Reason. If it is not the best album that they ever make, it is certainly destined to be a highlight in their young career. This DVD will give you a bird’s eye view on exactly how they have traveled from obscurity to sold out headlining tours throughout the world, and is loaded with a treasure trove of goodies sure to satisfy even the most hardcore Chimaira fan.

official Chimaira website

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About Matt Wardlaw

  • Andrew

    This DVD is really great!

    it covers everything a band has to put up with……members leaving/touring/recording

    It will make you laugh alot..

    This DVD is worth everyone last part of money spent on it…buy it now you wont be dissapointed!!

  • Zboud

    This DVD is really great BUT

    Mark’s voice has been MODIFIED in the live recording (particularly on “down again”)…I think it really SUCKS HARD to do that …

    Anyway, Chimaira stays a great band.

  • Derek

    This dvd is a must have for metal heads. Its great i just got it and i have wached it twice. The cd is great to, some of those gongs i havnt heard in years now i have them on cd. Its great make sure and buy it to support them band.

  • henry

    actually mark’s voice wasnt modified, if u look closely you’ll also see that chris ( electronics ) does vocals aswell. AMAZING dvd btw, ( p.s, their bass player jim really get’s on my nerves )

  • http://www.chimaira.ca RobH

    This band ROCKS – Excellent musicianship! Just heard a song by chance and now I own all albums and DVDs!! Can’t wait for the next album coming April 2009!

  • zotra blue

    as a band they make great music but as people …..i dunno it felt negitave and antagonizing i expected more , i love the crap out of metal but this was underwealming , they were a bunch of obnoxious little y-gens who dont apreciate hoew big they are ….it made me not want to make a band imean i appreciate that its hard work but id be amillion more times creative if i were a band , i enjoyd the fear factory, type onegitave, slayer dvds way more …. the typeo neg dvd you know theitr ment to be so negitave its funny! and fear factory is was more entertaining , and the slayer dvd ruled!!