It’s simply amazing how a leaving a record label and effectively starting afresh can revitalise a band. Chimaira’s new album is a perfect example of this – their well-publicised departure from Roadrunner and subsequent signing to Nuclear Blast has certainly brought about something of a desire to push themselves back to the front of the metal pack.
The opening, title track Resurrection flies out of the traps, wasting not a second in stuffing chunky riffs, double-bass runs and snarling lyrics down your throat. Mark Hunter is brimming with rage – “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” – and it also seems to read as a barely disguised snipe at Roadrunner, too. Still, as a comeback track, it is an awesome show of strength. Pleasure in Pain is also damned good, with a snappy tempo and welcome increased use of Chris Spicuzza’s skills with samples and electronics, while Worthless ups the tempo yet more, and with the non-too-complicated “You’re Worthless!” chorus seems destined for life as a live anthem. Six is a bit of an epic, stretched to just shy of ten minutes, and although is crammed with good ideas none of them really come off.
No Reason To Live starts with the odd mix of battering-ram double-bass runs and almost classic-rock guitars, before the track roars to life, while Killing The Beast is simply feral – or at least tries to be. The constant double-bass run throughout the entire song dulls the impact a little, as it is way too high in the mix.
The Flame sees sheer fury consume an entire track (again), this time an apparently tale of child abuse. The sheer disgust for the father figure in the lyrics is plain for all to see, even if you don’t pay close attention to the lyrics. I’m not all that keen on the squalling guitar histrionics used in the track, though, and the ending seems to take forever.
A steadily blurring focus is snapped back to devastating effect with End It All, which snarls and thrashes like a rabid dog on a leash, being reined in for the verses and let loose for everything else. It also features some quite astonishing drumming, too. Black Heart chugs into life like a machine, with guitars that sound like they are powering something immense, with all kinds of parts of said machine clanking away behind them, too. Needle roars by in a rush of thrashy guitars and drums, all of which acts as a prelude to the astonishing Empire.
Where Chimaira come over all Black Metal on us, and don’t fluff their lines at all. The monstrous, sweeping intro (complete with vocal choir samples and synthesized strings), moves into a blizzard of double-bass runs and riffs, with Mark Hunter roaring his vocals as best as he can above the mayhem. And as the chorus and beyond provide stomping breakdown after stomping breakdown, and more strings appear, it becomes glaringly obvious that Dimmu Borgir have been a major influence somewhere along the line. Still, it isn’t simply a carbon copy – there is more than enough here to remind you the band that created this – but is an incredible melding of styles that only then serves to makes you wonder why they haven’t tried to do this before. And then again, quite where they go next.
As comebacks go, this is a real poke in the eye for the doubters. Heavier, angrier, more driven than before (and going on the last album at least that really is some feat), the band deserve greater success and recognition off the back of this.