These days we’re being told that it’s cool to listen to the music our parents or much older siblings bought (The Darkness, Jet and seemingly every “cover version-ing” pop act of the moment) and, judging by this album, the trend has reached the musical extremities too.
Ohian sextet Chimaira may like to think of themselves as flagbearers for a “New Wave Of American Heavy Metal” but The Impossibility Of Reason is a Meccan-style pilgrimage to some of the more innovative thrash locations of the past 20 years. They’ve toured with the likes of Slayer and Fear Factory and believe me, it shows.
But this isn’t a bad thing, especially when executed as expertly as it is here. Every record collection needs a variety of moods and styles, and for those of a metal persuasion this fits snugly into the head-shaking, dandruff-spreading, voice-hoarsening sub-class.
Tracks like Cleansation and Power Trip set the mood with breakneck guitar riffage, late ’80s thrash vocals and some of the most astonishing drumming heard since Dave Lombardo pummelled the skins for Slayer. Unfortunately, this also means that they do a fine line in misanthropic lyrics (“I hate everyone”) though doubtless this will be an attraction to some.
Nevertheless, when all the elements synergise to maximum effect, as in The Dehumanizing Process with its staccato rhythm accentuating the stomping feel, it’s hard not to get caught up in the adrenaline and sheer power of it all.
Occasionally Chimaira chuck in a few minor harmonies to keep the listener on his (and it probably will be “his” rather than “her”) toes, and closing track Implements Of Destruction even begins with a cello and some flamenco flourishes before evolving into a 12-minute metal piece of twisting time signatures that wouldn’t be out of place on a Dream Theater album. It’s an instrumental – presumably Mark Hunter’s larynx had been shot to pieces by this point…
The Impossibility Of Reason was originally released at the start of summer last year and, to the record label’s credit, this isn’t a simple exercise in repackaging cash-in. It contains a bonus track, video and behind-the-scenes footage, and there’s a whole second disc of demos and out-takes from this and previous albums, including a cover of The Cure‘s Fascination Street.
The bonus disc will be invaluable to fans and is an indication of how far Chimaira have progressed by, bizarrely, regressing in terms of the musical influences that they display. Back to the future, indeed.