Review Summary: Chimaira infuse elements from their previous releases with some new twists and turns on their 5th studio album. It makes a fun listen.
In 2007, Chimaira split from their longtime label, Roadrunner Records, and joined up with Ferret Records and released "Resurrection". The album also marked the return of their original drummer, Andols Herrick, and with him the bands original lineup was reformed and the band claimed to feel renewed and more powerful than ever. The album was great, but it lacked the technicality of their 2005 self-titled album which had amazing drumming courtesy of Kevin Talley and blistering guitar solos in every song left and right. "Six" was a masterpiece of a song off of "Resurrection" and truly proved that this band has potential, so I gave their new album "The Infection" a listen and it turned out to be great. It was, however, somewhat different for Chimaira.
One major aspect of this album is that the tempo is all over the place. In some songs, like "Secrets Of The Dead" and the lead single "Destroy and Dominate", the riffs are as heavy as ever but the speed of how the music is presented is slowed down for a more darker, sinister, and effective feel. The albums opener, "The Venom Inside". presents a beautiful guitar intro before vocalist Mark Hunter blasts in with his growling and screaming vocals that have topped of this bands trademark sound. The band also presents some catchy hooks, such as on the chorus of "Frozen In Time", which has a great groove and overall feel.
Mark Hunter has "taken it up a notch" from the last album. Hes already proved that he can scream and growl well and his clean vocals arent bad at all. On songs like "Coming Alive" and "Walking On Broken Glass", he presents the listener with guttural vocals that sound almost like he could be in a death metal band. Some might not think this fits in with Chimaira, but I thought it was a cool addition to the bands sound on this record. His clean singing proves to be very effective in this record, especially when it is used the most on the track "Impending Doom". The song is dark and creepy and the vocal work is some of the best on the record.
The Guitars on this album are as good as they were on the previous record, but for a true demonstartion of how good Rob and Matt can shred, check out their self-titled album. Songs like "Secrets Of The Dead", "The Venom Inside", and especally the instrumental "The Heart Of It All" display catchy riffs and heavy distortion that make you bang your head. However, the instrumental is the only song on here that truly shows the listener that these guitarists can really shred with the best of them.
Jim MaLarca's bass is nearly non-existant on this record, but it never really has been a standout part of Chimairas music. During parts of "The Venom Inside" you can hear it in the background quite well but other times you have to listen hard yo hear it over the crunching guitars. Hopefully in the future Chimaira will make the bass more present in their music, but it does seem unlikely.
The drums are definetly an important part of how this album sounds. Andols Herrick truly is remarkable behind the kit. On the Chorus of "The Venom Inside" he takes the pace from slow in the verses to really fast in the chorus and then suddenly slowing down again. On "Frozen In Time" he even uses blastbeats and techincal drumming usually found within death metal. It's definetly an important part of th music for Chimaira. Electronics are also a key factor on the Infection. On "Secrets Of The Dead", Chris Spicuzza adds dark and sinister electronics that add a great feel to the song, especially in the outro. On "Destroy and Dominate", there is a nice, beautiful piano from the keyboard that gives way to the haviness that is to come. Give almost any song on this album a listen to see how the electronics provide a great backdrop to this bands music.
"The Infection" is, overall, a fun listen. If you are a fan of Chimaira I strongly reccomend you pick it up. I enjoyed it just bit more than "Resurrection". The band definetly made their music a bit heavier this time around but some might not like how more of the songs are slow-paced heavy throughout. Some might take it as a step down from their previous releases, but give it a few listens. Its diffferent, but some of it is still really good.