To live in Cleveland, Ohio, more of a sunken hole than a driven notch in the Midwest rustbelt, is to not only encounter, but embrace the crippling winters, the broken jawed economy, and the expectations of defeat. None of this is lost on Chimaira. After twelve years of defining what Cleveland metal and brutal music should sound like, Chimaira advances their trademarked brand of heavy with their latest monster, The Age of Hell.
As with most Chimaira records (and everything Cleveland) the composition of the record was fraught with adversity. Longtime drummer Andols Herrick, bass player Jim Lamarca and electronic knob twister Chris Spicuzza had fallen away from the band. This left Chimaira s flagship member and singer Mark Hunter and guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt Devries with an album to record for their debut on eOne Music / Long Branch with no rhythm section or an effects specialist. The splintered Chimaira could have stared at the sun dissecting separate fires then converging into a singular sphere of blinding defeat. Most bands would have. But most bands aren t from Cleveland. The eponymous opening track summons the ferocity of a band hungry and disgusted. Mark Hunters guttural barks declare a twisted war while the guitars shift from ravenous chugging to soaring leads. Clockwork, a song that refuses to grow stale after countless plays provides a chorus that sees the band tastefully using layers of clean
vocals while not sacrificing Chimaira s severity, a theme throughout the album. Tracks like Losing My Mind and Time is Running Out lyrically reflect the tribulations of a group under the gun and both include the band s signature groove that is utterly crushing. But its songs like Trigger Finger, Born in Blood, and Scapegoat that will leave janitors mopping up blood from venue floors across the world. Throughout the record the sonic layers are far from trite ear candy, giving an oceanic depth to each track. Solos and leads by Arnold confirm his status as the next shredder to beat. Schigel on drums goes from syncopated to bar room brawler and back again with no regrets for the jaws he dropped along the way.