Cleveland’s own Chimaira has shown once again that they are a force to be reckoned with, as displayed in their latest album The Age of Hell, which hits stores today. Despite a number of recent changes to the band’s lineup, this effort shows that Chimaira is just as strong as ever – in terms of musicianship AND brutality.
Recently departed band members Andols Herrick (drums), Chris Spicuzza (keyboards), and Jim LaMarca (bass) comprised 50% of Chimaira’s lineup for the last decade. Clearly, however, the band’s vision lies with founder and lead vocalist Mark Hunter – along with guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries. The truth in that statement is made clear as the album plays – The Age of Hell is one of the band’s best efforts to date.
With this album as with past Chimaira efforts, the band’s influences are evident in its music without being derivative. Whereas some bands respect their idols by writing songs that sound exactly like their heroes, Chimaira does homage to its influences without sounding like a clone. When one combines those influences (Alice in Chains, Pantera, and Slayer to name a few, one gets music like that which is heard on the album – brutal, but with a groove: heavy, but with a melody.
Hunter’s screams are frequently accompanied by simultaneously beautiful and haunting background vocal harmonies reminiscent of Alice in Chains (and past Chimaira works like “Down Again” from The Impossibility of Reason). Meanwhile, the guitar riffs laid down by Arnold and DeVries are brutal and staccato at times, melodic at others, but are consistently calibrated in time to get the right kind of groove going – a la Pantera or Rob Zombie.
One track that particularly embodies the different musical techniques of Chimaira is the second, “Clockwork”. On that track the guitars are laid on thick, as Hunter’s vocals create an urgent tone. The haunting melodic background vocal harmonies create an irresistable aural landscape, without any fear of the band losing its edge. Another must-listen is the closing track “Samsara”, an epic instrumental as good as any that Metallica ever produced over the years..
You can listen to Chimaira’s new album here. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to tune in to the THE ROCK on 88.7 fm WJCU this Friday from Midnight to 2 AM to hear a track or two!
Gene’s Favorite Tracks from The Age of Hell
2. Time is Running Out
Mark Hunter – Vocals
Rob Arnold – Guitars
Matt DeVries – Guitars
Austin D’Amond – Drums
Emil Werstler – Bass
Sean Zatorsky – Keyboards, Effects
Ed. note: This article was also published on Radio923fm.com, available here.