by Chris Parker
Chimaira are the quiet loners of metalcore, preferring the comfort of their own dark thoughts to those of their more popular peers. While just as intense as their death-metal cousins, the Cleveland sextet is not nearly as relentless there's too much room for melody and prog experimentalism (such as the intermittently Crimson-like 9-minute epic "Six") for their feral tastes. Nor are they attractive, lovelorn would-be frat boys from Long Island or New Jersey. When singer Mark Hunter turns his vitriolic hate inward ("No Reason to Live," "Black Heart") it's like a malevolent black hole. "Will I ever give a fuck about anyone or anything," he screeches on the heroin track "Needle," whose bleakness certainly suggests such a solution.
Fortunately, the target of these whirling hardcore metal maelstroms is as often outward, such as the thundering, gothic churner "End It All," and operatic album-closer "Empire," which indicts geopolitical aggression with, well, aggression. The album's highlight is "Worthless," which thrashes harder than Pantera, with a savage rant directed at self-satisfied narcissists. Because of Chimaira's proficiency with textures and tone, their brutal guitar pyrotechnics showcase a chiaroscuro of violence instead of the implacable black of their more predictable peers.
Chris Parker writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com.