posted on 3/2007 By:
So what exactly are Chimaira resurrecting with this release? It’s not as if they have been on hiatus for a few years, and their 2005 self-titled album was well-received. Album titles aside, the Ohio sextet has delivered another thrashy record that is sure to keep their fans happy. Personally, I am having a little trouble digesting Resurrection. I hear all of the elements necessary for a strong release, but it has yet to really sink claws into me. The riffs are fast, tight, and thrashy. Hunter’s shouting vocals are on point. The bottom end packs a deep punch, and the production is mint.
Perhaps my uncertainty works in the band’s favor. I am seeing them live this weekend, with a review to follow, and I’m sure that I’ll bang along with these new tracks. However, after seven or eight spins, these eleven tracks have not yet made a deep impression on me (with the exception of “End it All”). On the positive side, I am certainly not sick of the songs yet. This may have been their intent, to write more complex songs that take more listens to absorb, as with the last album. While The Impossibility of Reason grabbed on tight with visceral energy right from the first listen, it wore out its welcome shortly afterwards.
As I mentioned, “End it All” is my standout track, mostly because it cuts hard and deep with some turbo riffing. I hear some Darkane, Fear Factory, and God Forbid bubble up in this song. “Six” is a lengthy track that almost comes off as a mosh-core epic, with plenty of slower chugging beats and tough guy lyrics – until they throw in an extended solo section that takes up the entire latter half of the song. Chimaira experiment with Middle Eastern melodies sprinkled throughout this track for a change of pace. “Empire” closes out the album, but it opens up like a Dimmu Borgir tune, featuring some of their fastest work to date.
Nearly the entire album is comprised of modern, angry, thrashy, groove-laden metal spiced up with adequate soloing. There aren’t any songs that I actively avoid except for “Killing the Beast”, which is a tedious experiment with industrial or electronic metal. Even though my reaction to Resurrection is not as enthusiastic as I’d expect, there is plenty of material that will please the Chimaira fanbase. If the self-titled album tickled your fancy, Resurrection is a recommended listen.
posted on 3/2007 By:
I keep hoping to be proven wrong. I keep hoping that Chimaira will somehow fulfill the potential they have always shown glimpses of having in a curveball album that is consistently uncompromising, nerve-firing and head-spinning. Resurrection is their fourth full-length in their eight year career, and it sounds like they're still a ways from making a genuine dent in a jaded but eager metalhead's heart.
First impressions aren't great. Unexpected simplicity is clear right from the first listen, with "Black Heart" and "Empire" laying out highly repetitive basic thrash chugs that might have had slight appeal if they were clad in a half-way nostalgic production. "End It All" is a stronger example with song transitions crossing from half-thrash strolls to double-bass powered metalcore chops, calling to mind the usual but appropriate Pantera and Fear Factory references. The drumming that powers Resurrected firmly keeps the energy and pace moving with simple but driven groove beats and an ear-pleasing dexterity on the pedals, and holds everything together long enough for another harlequin to make itself noticed. Mark Hunter's voice, overloud in the mix, is a gaudy and chaotic factor across the album and in turn highlights other problems. Although of three distinct kinds (clean, talking and his distinctive dry howl), subtle nuances in keyboard usage, electronics and vocal studio polish make him sound at different times like Devin Townsend, Rob Zombie, Secthdaemon, Shagrath or Troy Sanders. As much as that sort of vaguely eccentric and possibly conceited polish might put me off the whole package, other moments such as the almost Decapitated-like fury introducing "No Reason To Live", or the blood pumping, Gojira-plagiarising stomp of "Needle" get my attention every time they pass.
There are more rewards for that hard won attention. The nine and a half minute lope of "Six" is dripping with electronics and even a few riffs with eyebrow-raising Middle-Eastern scales, but definitely shows some of the maturity they've been acquiring in their quest for metal. Unhurried, chorusing guitars and lengthy compositions of slower chords echo the darker atmospheres unveiled on their previous effort. It throws in the unnecessary but expected clean chorus that the current Soilwork and Threat Signal markets will just love, but we also get to hear what Lamb of God might have become if they had ever taken cues from In-Quest. "The Flame" sounds particularly like the latter, with an application of rhythm and melody that suggest Chimaira aren't out of the modern metal marathon yet.
I have to return to the clean vocals in tracks like "Pleasure In Pain" to illustrate why this release leaves me ultimately crestfallen. Mark Hunter's greatly increased usage of flat, oily whining communicates little more than a lack of songwriting tact, and lyrics that in 2007 really stretch the term cliché. I was going to demonstrate some, but I find it difficult to remember the lyrics even as they're sung because they are so impossibly mundane and insipid, so I can't help but find the sentiments on Resurrection manufactured, cookie-cutter and a bit pathetic. Let me put it this way, they're starting to give Throwdown a run for their pomp money. These ongoing themes and angsts are old ghosts incongruous with Chimaira's flashes of real metal competence, and set a shallow tone for a sound that keeps coming-off as mainstream and insincere as a result.
Here's a handy and proven conclusion to make: If you like 'em, you'll like this, if you don't, your mind won't be changed. Either way, Chimaira will need to start putting their talent where it counts in the future, or they'll simply fade out of these crowded times.
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