CHIMAIRA – The Age Of Hell [Review]

Genre: Groove Metal

E1 Music

August 16th, 2011

Tristan French

Honestly, 2011 has seen bands go from one triumphant return to another, and the exciting thing is that there’s still more to come. With artists like Opeth, Mastodon, and the mighty Machine Head still to release records this month, it’s time to shine the spotlight a band that have returned to form as well as with a brilliant album. I speak of course of Chimaira’s latest effort “The Age Of Hell.” After the somewhat…well…..oddness of 2009’s “The Infection” (many Middle Eastern fans will remember “Destroy and Dominate” being premiered at Dubai Desert Rock Festival 2009) and the loss of 3 band members ; long time bassist Jim LaMarca, keyboardist Chris Spicuzza and the second departure of drummer Andols Herrick, it was doubtful that Chimaira could regain their once dominant standing. However “The Age Of Hell” signifies a brilliant return to form, with the addition of new members not taking away an ounce of Chimaira’s root sound (reminiscent of 2003’s “The Impossibility Of Reason,") in short, if I had to describe this album in two words, it’d be these, “Total Brutality.”

The album opens with the onslaught of a title track, “
The Age Of Hell”, pulling listeners in instantly into the thrashing Octagon that Chimaira have created. Reminiscent of anthems such as “Power Trip” and “Pure Hatred” this title track shows right off the bat that Chimaira are out for blood with this record, and have hit you with their thrashiest and heaviest track yet to prove it.

This brilliant title track segways beautifully into “Clockwork” which catches listeners off guard by containing slightly more ambient moments than one would expect from Chimaira. However it’s oddly djenty and easy listening-esque atmosphere provided, many would think that the boys had gone djent! However, they pull another rabbit out of the hat (yes I did just make a magic reference) by keeping things within Chimaira’s brutal ethos, continuing the already assaulting album.

Losing My Mind” and “Time is Running Out” will be more familiar to the die hard Chimaira fans, reminding all that have seen the band live of their mosh-tastic drums and hard hitting riffs. Drums are provided by new addition Austin D’Amond proving that he can easily match and excel former drummer Andols Herrick. D’Ammond clearly holds his own, being a somewhat newcomer to the metal scene, it’ll be interesting to see how he develops with Chimaira, bringing a new sense of innovative drumming to the table. At the same time guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries re-earn their brutal stripes, through intense riffing and their driving guitar lines on both songs.

The album then transcends into lead single “Year Of The Snake”, beginning in the typical calm before battle format that Chimaira excel at particularly. The track then erupts into a strange yet awesome combination of groovey riffs mixed with a chugging variety of the same kind. This song’s spotlight has to be on frontman Mark Hunter’s vocals, which I can only describe as beastly. Seriously, this man cannot be human, with his growl’s animalistic tone being brought out almost instantly, and then contrasted greatly with calmer/ambient clean vocals. The coup de grâce being the breakdown, really showing the deathcore bands how it’s done, in a word, epic!

A potential lead single is my personal favorite track from this record, “Born In Blood”. In my view, this track is the album’s crowning glory, featuring vocals from none other than Whitechapel frontman, Phil Bozeman. This track’s dramatic shift in Bozeman’s brutal section displays a clear contrast and a brutal one at that between the two vocal styles. If Mark Hunter’s a beast, then Phil Bozeman’s a bloody demon. Lyrically this song is very potent, once again during Bozeman’s verse, featuring lines such as “These battered broken hands, have been turned to iron fists” and “the way world matters not to me for I hold It in the palm of my hand.” This is the stuff that poets are made of, and such a ferocious combination is sure be resurrected in the future, truly the album’s greatest track.

“The Age Of Hell”, despite it’s triumphant atmosphere, it does fall short on a few tracks. Tracks such as “Stoma” and “Scapegoat” which are, to be honest, pretty lackluster, when compared to the album as a whole. The other song to feature an artist , “Samsara” featuring Daath’s Emil Werstler falls short of the mark ever so slightly, with Chimaira’s unpredictability working against them to create a decent track, that could have been an awesome one.

All of that aside, “The Age Of Hell” is a clear display of Chimaira showing that they are poised once again to “Destroy and Dominate” the world, that they are back on track and more badass than ever. I'm rating "The Age of Hell" 8.5/10.
Welcome back boys! And just as a warning to all who will be seeing the band live (having seen them live myself) be prepared to mosh, and mosh hard! “This Is the Age Of Hell!”

Strongest Tracks
  • The Age Of Hell
  • Clockwork
  • Year of the Snake
  • Born in Blood (Feat. Phil Bozeman)
  • Weakest Tracks
  • Stoma
  • Scapegoat
  • Samsara (Feat. Emil Werstler)

Order "The Age Of Hell" via Amazon: CD | Mp3

1 comment:

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