In a world where even extreme bands are turning to clean vocals and radio-friendly production in a bid to swiftly shift enough units to secure more lucrative album deals, Chimaira are either not interested in such definitions of success or they have a game plan that does not involve the ‘trendy’ metalhead who only listens to what the rock press tells him is ‘in’.
Chimaira blasted on to the scene with the release of Pass Out Of Existence in 2001 and swelled their already solid fanbase with 2003’s The Impossibility Of Reason, allowing them to rise swiftly through the ranks of American metal hopefuls and earn themselves touring spots with just about every band on the road.
Despite their testosterone-fuelled live shows earning them respect among many a metal-head, it’s fair to say that Chimaira still have quite a few unconvinced critics to silence with their eponymous new album.
Opener Nothing Remains starts well, exploding in a lethal cocktail of Slayer-esque riffs atop some hoarse-as-hell vocals, while the following tracks reinforce the idea that Chimaira are out to impress no-one outside of themselves that they can write and record seriously heavy, thrash metal.
Salvation does witness a brief flirtation with some singing, though for all too brief a chorus. Having said that, they do manage to vault the often misjudged interchange of anthemic chorus and fast-paced verse with a most welcome and shockingly good guitar solo that wails across the back-end beautifully.
In contrast, Comatose is a relatively lacklustre, thrashed-up number, although it certainly keeps speed on its side. Which is more than can be said for the following track – Left For Dead – which, apart from a briefly interesting riff, drags past the three-minute mark with neither of the two guitar solos offering redemption.
And so, by mid-way though the album I found my attention wandering and I began to debate whether this was caused by the so obviously deliberate lack of melody in the songs or the dearth of catchy guitar riffage to intro them. By the end of the album, I was none the wiser…
Bands like Killswitch Engage are gaining success through the ability to write fantastically destructive tunes. It is here that Chimaira still have some lessons to learn if they are to truly carry weight in the metal scene.