Mark Hunter – Vocals
Andols Herrick Drums
Chris Spicuzza – Electronics
Jim LaMarca – Bass
Rob Arnold – Lead Guitar
Matt DeVries – Rhythm Guitar
If there is one band that possesses the essential elements necessary to break big in the heavy metal scene, it’s Cleveland’s Chimaira. With its blood-boiling new album The Impossibility Of Reason, Chimaira is postured to set a new standard: The New Wave Of American Heavy Metal.
As any metal historian/critic/fan is well aware of, the 80s saw the invasion of British metal acts, Iron Maiden and Venom among them, deemed the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM. Chimaira will be leading the charge of NWOAHM on domestic shores with The Impossibility Of Reason, an album that is 100% trend free. Armed with an unflappable work ethic, and an album so kinetic and fevered that it blows away all past efforts, Chimaira has metal in its DNA.
Chimaira, which takes its unique name from a mythological beast comprised of several disparate animals, has established a solid, dedicated, and vast fan base with 1999’s This Present Darkness (East Coast Empire) and 2001’s Roadrunner Records debut, Pass Out Of Existence. A touring machine, Chimaira has hit the road with Slayer, Fear Factory, Machine Head, and Danzig. In addition to these great support slots, the band has also struck out on its own headlining tours, where the six-piece possessed the blue-collar wherewithal to support itself.
Pass Out Of Existence is Chimaira’s foundation, but the band hardly rested on its laurels when it came time to make The Impossibility Of Reason This is a more mature record, says singer Mark Hunter. But at the same time, it’s more in your face. Whether it’s the heaviest, or the most melodic, tame song, it’s full on. Chimaira fans are going to get what they are looking for and then some with The Impossibility Of Reason. It’s everything our fans love, but with something else, offers Hunter. Whereas other bands balk at and fear change, Chimaira embraced it, on several levels, for The Impossibility Of Reason. Look at some of the most notorious metal bands out there, says Hunter. You can’t put on any of their records without noticing a change from record to record. That is what we strive to do. We feel we’ve shown a lot of growth and musicianship. Lead guitarist Rob Arnold concurs, We all had a certain motivation about the music we wanted to create. The fury. The speed. The aggression. We learned a lot from being on the road.
Sonically, Chimaira focused on crafting an album that ignores current metal trends such as rapping, guest appearances, and scoffs at any traces of nu metal. The Impossibility Of Reason is less futuristic than the last record. The programming is more subsonic, and it’s more of a dark synth style, Hunter explains. The low sub tones make you feel you like you are inside the record. It’s the darkest thing we have ever done. We changed tunings. We tuned to C, the darkest key. Further beefing up the new, improved Chimaira sound is the new voices Hunter used. On tour, he was able to hone his voice, and when recording The Impossibility Of Reason, he found voices he had never used before or even knew he had.
Lyrically, while The Impossibility Of Reason is not a concept album, Hunter traces three prevalent themes: rejection, revenge, and repercussion. Lyrically, we always try to have songs that our fans can relate to. Everyone has been rejected. Everyone has gotten revenge in some form or another. We know a lot of these lyrics will strike a nerve, especially with what is going on in today’s society, admits Hunter. The Impossibility Of Reason is sonically a dark album, but Chimaira chose to represent the album’s artwork in white tones. Since metal is often associated with black, Chimaira bucked the trend and drenched the artwork in blinding, stark, Kubrick-esque style tones, in an effort to let the music scream for itself.
The Impossibility Of Reason is a personal album for Chimaira, in that everyone that participated in non-musical areas of the record grew up with the band, from the artist to the photographer to the producer. The band chose producer Ben Schigel (who fronts his own band Switched) to man the boards, for very specific reasons. He has been recording members of this band for 8 or 9 years, when we were in our other bands, says Hunter. This record was less polished, so we wanted to go with someone who could keep us raw. He knows our band like we know it. Hunter and Arnold also co-produced the effort. Mark and I are always in the studio, says Arnold. We were there every minute of every day. We wanted screaming guitars and booming drums. We wanted to be a part of that process of getting everything to sound a certain way.
This collaborative effort was also able to give each song on The Impossibility Of Reason it’s own distinct identity. Arnold admits that horns-in-the-air guitar solos are something prevalent on the album. We’re going back to the era of ripping out leads and growing out the hair, he exclaims. The album is so much more guitar driven. Arnold even goes so far to admit that ’standing on the side of the stage, watching Kerry King of Slayer play for six weeks, had a lot to do with what came out of me musically.
’down Again defines Chimaira’s dynamic ability. Pure Hatred is the most pulverizing song, which is an easy guess, given the blunt title. That is the song everyone will relate to. It’s the final act of revenge, and the chorus is I hate everyone, says Hunter. The song is devastating enough to elicit comparisons to Pantera’s quintessential Fuck You nthem Walk. The title track, according to Arnold, has fast paced heavy guitars with insane drums, and a groove… that all familiar groove that we are known for. Then, the chorus hits the listener like a ton of bricks. When the ending comes in, you realize this is a changed band, and that you are hearing something special.
On The Impossibility Of Reason, Chimaira shows its ambitious side. The last song on the record Implements Of Destruction is an epic. We’re trying to bring back the epic instrumental, says Hunter. It hasn’t been done for a while. It’s beyond epic. It’s 12 minutes and we’re paying homage to some of our favorite metal songs.
It’s Chimaira’s metal vision that has won Slayer’s Kerry King over to Chimaira’s side. King has espoused the virtues of Chimaira in national magazines such as Guitar World. King is notorious for his criticisms of many newer metal bands, but he has championed Chimaira. Ultimately, there is no better endorsement for the NWOAHM movement than Kerry Fucking King.
With its old-school stylings and head-banging flair, it easy to understand why metal fans across the globe would be drawn to Chimaira’s music. The band’s sound is uniquely their own, yet it pays homage to those metal giants that came before them, drawing up the blueprint for the NWOAMHM. The Impossibility of Reason draws from many seemingly opposite points both within and outside of the metal genre to create a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
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