Monday, April 02, 2007

Review: Chimaira - “Resurrection”

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a review. I haven’t gotten very many albums at all recently, and the last two albums I got were too old to review. I didn’t buy “Resurrection” by Chimaira (not yet anyways), as a friend was kind enough to lend it to me, and after listening to it I felt compelled to write a review. A purchase of the album is imminent.

I have to admit, I’ve lost some interest in some of the newer big bands like Lamb Of God and Killswitch Engage. I don’t think their songwriting has gotten worse, I’ve simply lost some interest because they’ve gotten bigger. Chimaira is a band that I haven’t lost interest in, although they seemed to have lost a bit of popularity to Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God. Perhaps it’s the fact that Chimaira is willing to tour with death metal bands like Nile and Hate Eternal while some other bands only want to do big tours with big bands.

The career arc for Chimaira almost suggests they want to commit commercial suicide. Their first EP “This Present Darkness” in 1999 started off with the modernized thrash sound that listeners have been familiar with for Chimairas last three albums.

In 2001 Chimaira released “Pass Out Of Existence” which is much slower and groove-laden than the rest of their catalogue. It seemed as though “Pass Out Of Existence” was a stab at a much heavier and underground nu-metal sound. “Pass Out Of Existence” has had rumours abound that record label interference, coupled with the band themselves trying to make songs for other people, as well as following the direction the producer wanted led to making that album that way it is.

“The Impossibility Of Reason” in 2003 was a big hit with perfect timing. The band went back to the modernized thrash sound of their EP “This Present Darkness”, and made a purely metal album right when people were looking for real metal bands. “The Impossibility Of Reason” solidified the signature sound of Chimaira, and took influences from old school thrash peers, such as stacking instrumental breaks beside guitar solos, just like Metallica did.

Perhaps it was the influence of Metallica that drove the band to try and go for songs over five minutes that led to their self-titled album. The songs were longer, but in some ways it seemed as though the band forced the songs a little bit longer than they should’ve been. The self-titled album was a slight bit slower in tempo than “The Impossibility Of Reason” which pulled down the level of intensity. The self-titled album seemed to lack the same amount of meaty hook-laden riffs, and it was a long album to sit through. Overall, the self-titled album was still decent.

With “Resurrection”, Chimaira seems to mix their signature sound while at the same time wearing their influences on their sleeve. The guitar solos take heavy inspiration from pre-90's Metallica, with a guitar solo from the song “Resurrection” being reminiscent of Slayer. That’s not the only direct Metallica influence you’ll hear. The nine-minute long "Six" with it’s middle eastern inspired melodies contains some razor-sharp pedal tone styled riffs that have an early Metallica influence written all over them.

The band also wears Nine Inch Nails all over by cranking up the amount of keyboards and industrial samples throughout. Chimiara stretches themselves out with other 90's experimentation, such as the spoken word verses on “Killing The Beast”. It reminded me of a time when nu-metal was fresh and new, and the vocals for the bridge actually sound similar to something Linkin Park would do.

Other experimentation occurs in the final song “Empire”, with blast beats and orchestral synths, they attempt to create an imitation black metal sound. It doesn’t quite work out as well as they hoped, but it’s a decent attempt that doesn’t sound out of place.

Many bands claim that they’re next album will be heavier than the last, and I typically scoff at it since the remark sounds so cliche. I don’t believe Chimaira actually claimed that “Resurrection” would be heaviest album, but it achieves it’s heaviness over their previous work by crafting better songs than the predecessor, upping the tempo, and by sounding so busy. Twin guitar work intertwines itself all over the place with industrial portions on top of that.

“Resurrection” isn’t without it’s fault though, the biggest being the lyrics. Mark Hunter’s attempts at sounding angry come off more like he’s reaching for something personal to be angry about. From hearing “Pleasure In Pain”, “No Reason To Live”, and “End It All” touted during choruses, to the lines “you’re so fucking worthless”, and “I’ll make you fucking bleed”, they all come off as shallow and cliche.

It’s difficult to top “The Impossibility Of Reason”, as it stands as a benchmark in time. “Resurrection” is the next best thing.


Chimaira At MySpace
Chimaira At Ferret
Chimaira At Nuclear Blast
Chimaira At Roadrunner



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