Monday, August 22, 2011

Album Review - Chimaira 'The Age Of Hell'

It's not been an easy couple of years for Cleveland , Ohio noiseniks Chimaira, what with the loss of three core members, and of course the band's split from long time label Roadrunner Records.So bearing that in mind, it's a small miracle that 'The Age Of Hell', and indeed Chimaira themselves, are still shredding away, but with the help  of two members of prog- death merchants Daath , that is guitarist Emil Wrestler and Keys/Samples man Sean Zatorsky , along with new drummer Austin D'Amond, they've pulled through, and proved that they're not down for the count just yet.

What is surprising though , is how unsurprising  this all sounds. This could have been a chance to try something new , rebuild their sound, and explore a new style.Instead, we get , essentially, a retread of much of the band's previous work, and this is particularly evident in the opening title track, a fairly standard thrash number that is hooky enough, but doesn't really blow you away as it should.'Clockwork' fares better, a soaring melodic chorus reminiscent of 'Down Again' , with a brilliant , almost Vangelis -esque keyboard breakdown that 's one of the album's few genuine surprises.Current single 'The Year Of The Snake' is another highlight, the band best when locked into a killer groove , with a catchy as syphilis chorus that 's destined to become a rock club floor filler if there's any justice in the world .The slower paced 'Beyond The Grave' meanwhile is the best thing on here  , with it's emotive guitar leads and restrained melodies recalling Crowbar at their most affecting.

However, the band struggle to keep the interest from then on in , and there are a couple of tracks on here that might have been better left as B-Sides, or better yet not used at all , such as the leaden 'Trigger Finger', or 'Losing  My Mind', which bizarrely nicks the riff from Drowning Pool 's 'Tear Away' but forgets to make it as even half as memorable as  that song.Overall, 'The Age Of Hell' is an enjoyable, if flawed listen, that will no doubt please long term fans, but is hardly going to win the band legions of new fans or convert the band's detractors.One for completists and die- hards only .

Rating :5/10
For fans of : Slayer, Fear Factory,Hatebreed
Stephen O ' Connor

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