Rebirth - Death Won't Stay Us
posted on 5/2007 By:
The unfortunately named Chimaera (yes, its pronounced the same) have released a very solid war-themed take on modern power metal in Rebirth-Death Won’t Stay Us, already the outfit‘s fourth full-length since 2002. While I confess that my experience and knowledge of power metal doesn’t extend too far past the genre’s mainstays (Helloween, Blind Guardian, etc.), I can always appreciate a speedy, hook-filled power romp when it is offered to me, and Chimaera deliver on this end with an impressive and memorable album held back by a few questionable creative decisions.
“Order Of The Fallen Sun” opens things on a pull-no-punches note, with a thunderous storm of blazing drums, catchy riffing and soloing, and one of the best choruses of the album. This is one of the Rebirth‘s strongest cuts and making it the lead track was a good move, as it got my attention immediately and interested me in what was to come. “Chimaera’s Rebirth” follows suit with a slower, more epic feel and filled with some inspiring lead guitar interplay that would make Iron Maiden very proud. These dizzying twin-guitar hooks are a regular occurrence in Rebirth-Death Won’t Stay Us and were one of my favorite aspects of this disc. It seems that most modern power metal bands are so determined to shred their dicks off with their guitars that they forget how enjoyable and effective lead playing can be when it is catchy and easier to comprehend, and Chimaera prove this numerous times throughout the album. But don’t think for a second that these guys can’t play the fuck out of their respective instruments. The drums are ferocious and precise and there is some absolutely wicked shredding on this album, it just happens to be more tastefully placed than many of Chimaera’s peers. As for the rest of the tracks, while the band does falter through a couple of less-than-stellar cuts, most of these songs are very good and well-varied in mood and tempo, with “Order Of The Fallen Sun” and “Wanderlust” being flat-out excellent and the highlights of the album. I also really enjoyed closer “Live After Death”, which toys with some interesting guitar sounds and adds in a whispered Lovecraft quote to end the album on a powerful note.
There are a couple of things keeping this one from being a truly great release in the power metal realm, and interestingly enough they all involve the vocals. For starters, I’m not really a fan of Pan Vogiatzis’s voice. While it gets the job done just fine for the most part, there’s something about his tone that is occasionally grating to me, such as on “Ride Fast” and several other moments throughout the album. This is obviously a problem in this type of metal where the vocals are right at the forefront, particularly when it takes attention away from what is, for the most part, fantastic backing music. Also, while they fit the album’s theme in context, the frequent gang-shouted vocals can be jarring and aren’t always put in the best place. “Knights Of The Storm“ comes to mind here, where the gang-shouts dominate the chorus and make it feel sluggish and uninspired. And finally, there are times when the vocals are layered in some peculiar ways that don’t really add anything to the songs; see the indistinct female vocals in “Rage On (My Heart)” and the very odd backing growls (?!) in the verses of the aforementioned “Knights Of The Storm.”
But these are fairly minor quibbles in the long run. At the end of the day, Rebirth-Death Won’t Stay Us is a well-produced and well-written album by a band who knows what they are doing musically, and with the absence of much original, high-quality power metal out there these days, its exciting to hear younger bands like Chimaera paying tribute to what makes the genre great while not being afraid to add their own touches, even if they could sometimes use some touching up (forgive me). Recommended, especially for power aficionados disappointed with the recent offerings of some of the genre’s bigger bands and looking for something new.
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