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.Powered by Sidelines