Apr 262016

Chimaira 2011


(Every now and then Andy Synn shares with us lists of favorite things that come in fives, and this is another one, though he stretched the number a bit this time.)

You may have noticed that my usual output has decreased somewhat over the last week or so. There’s no need to worry, it’s just been a combination of work/band/personal commitments all coming at the same time, requiring me to shift my priorities around a bit, meaning that NCS has had to take a bit of a backseat for a moment.

That should be coming to an end very soon, however, and I have a bunch of different reviews and columns lined up for May that I think you’ll all really enjoy.

In the meantime, however, since I’m still a little pushed for time and opportunity to write, I’ve dashed off this little piece in tribute to a band I’ll always have a soft spot for. Continue reading »

Oct 312013

In July of this year, Chimaira released their seventh studio album, Crown of Phantoms, and NCS writer TheMadIsraeli reviewed it here. Recently he got the chance to interview Chimaira’s main man Mark Hunter via Facebook chat, covering such topics as Crown’s place in the Chimaira discography, the band’s most recent line-up changes, what Hunter listens to when he’s not in Chimaira mode, action movies, and more. Here we go:


Mark Hunter: Hello! I am here and ready when you are.

TheMadIsraeli: Alright so, to be brief with this, this conversation is going to be completely unedited except for typos and I might format stuff to make more sense.  I don’t like censoring shit or leaving shit out so…

MH: Sounds good to me.


TMI: So let’s get the Chimaira related shit out of the way, I’d like to make this more of a general interview about metal in general as well as other stuff.  Crown of Phantoms. How do you feel about where it sits in the Chimaira discography?

MH: I am extremely proud of the album. The entire recording process was a blast and I learned a lot. I hear sonic trademarks that ensure the name “Chimaira” is represented well, and I also think the songwriting as well as musicianship is at its finest hour. I’m excited to write more as I feel we only cracked the surface. Continue reading »

Aug 072013

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Chimaira.)

This album was really difficult for me to accept.

Chimaira have had their hooks in me since The Impossibility of Reason, back when that stupid “New Wave of American Metal” label was popular (or as I like to call it, the term for all the genuinely good metalcore that was more metal than core), and have had a sound that to me has been unequaled, uncompromising, and never imitated accurately.  Chimaira were a band with a mission, a real sense of what they wanted to do.  When they released Resurrection (one of those all-time favorite albums of mine), in an odd move unlike other bands Chimaira didn’t claim they were pushing the envelope, going to the next level, or any of that typical PR bullshit.  They openly stated Resurrection was their peak, and there was no use in trying to top it.  They just wanted to have fun.

We got The Infection, a far cry away from their thrashier inclinations but an excellent album that saw them experimenting.  However, when it came to The Age of Hell I think it was pretty obvious that the band as we’d known it were losing steam.  Original bassist Jim Lamarca and keyboardist/backup vocalist Chris Spicuzza left before the album was released due to simply getting tired of doing the band thing in the digital age of music, and this seemed ultimately to be what led to the departure of most of the rest of the band’s members, sans vocalist Mark Hunter.

You’d have to have been into these guys from the beginning to understand that this was a band that had a definitive lineup, a cohesion and persona all their own.  Dudes who’d played together since they were teenagers.  For all intents and purposes, this seemed to be the end for Chimaira, period. Continue reading »

Jul 292013

The morning has delivered a slew of premieres, including a new Gorguts song and a new Cattle Decapitation video. And in this post, we bring you two more new videos. The first comes from . . .


The video from this stand-out Canadian band (which premiered on Pitchfork) is for a song named “Secret Vasectomy” from their 2013 album Entrench (which can be streamed and purchased on Bandcamp here). When the song first debuted, guitarist/frontman Jesse Matthewson said this about it:

“Secret Vasectomy” was one of the first songs we put together during the Entrench writing sessions, but more particularly it was the first that we truly collaborated on with Andrew [LaCour], as the other three songs we finished in that first get-together were largely made up of riffs that I’d constructed going into the session. To me, it’s a punk song; a nasty, nasty punk song. Lyrically speaking, I’m sure everyone can relate to the situation of needing to produce, yet feeling utterly uninspired to write anything of any perceived value whatsoever; this is the tipping point. When you refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room as a muse and instead you slump in your chair and shoot blanks.

The video is an interesting one to watch, with scenes of children manically drawing and coloring, accompanied by animation of their creations. Let’s just say it’s not fun happy playtime. The band have explained that this is only the first part of a two-part “music video saga”. Here it is: Continue reading »

Jul 242013

Here are a few things I’ve seen and heard recently that I think are worth recommending. I’m in catch-up mode on these round-ups, so there will be a second one a bit later today.


Chimaira have a new album, Crown of Phantoms, coming on July 30 via eOne Music. Yesterday my comrade Andy Synn alerted me to the fact that Chimaira had released a re-make of “The Dehumanizing Process” from their second album, The Impossibility of Reason (2003). It’s sub-titled the “Slow and Low Mix”, and man, it caught me off guard. It’s like Chimaira-meets-Gojira.

I approve. If you’re going to re-do one of your own songs, you might as well really re-do it, especially if you’ve now got guitarists Emil Werstler and Matt Szlachta to put their spin on the original. This is a heavy-bottomed, heavy-grooved, vicious little monster. I’d like to keep it as a pet.

I don’t see this song on the new album’s track list. According to Chimaira’s mainman Mark Hunter, “No, we’re not remaking the record. This was just for fun to celebrate 10 years of Impossibility.” Well, mission accomplished: this is fun. Listen next. Continue reading »

May 152013

Chimaira have had their ups and downs over the years, but at their strongest they’ve made some powerful, compelling music, and I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing a couple of their live shows that were an absolute blast. In recent weeks they’ve grabbed press attention with a successful indiegogo campaign to finance a special fan edition (a combined CD/DVD) of their next album, Crown of Phantoms, which will be released by eOne on July 30; they exceeded their $30,000 goal in less than two weeks. And now they’ve started streaming a new single and video.

The song is called “All That’s Left Is Blood” and it will appear on Crown of Phantoms. Like much of what Chimaira have done in the past, it’s a genre-bender. It incorporates elements of hardcore and melodic death metal, with hammering riffs, thundering breakdown moments, and a flashy guitar solo by new guitarist Emil Werstler (Daath, Levi/Werstler).

And speaking of new members, the band has basically been reinvented since their last album in 2011, with Mark Hunter recruiting an entirely new line-up. The current membership of Chimaira is: Mark Hunter (vocals), Emil Werstler (guitar), Austin D’Amond (drums), Matt Szlachta (guitar), Jeremy Creamer (bass), Sean Zatorsky (keyboards).

Check out the new song next . . . . Continue reading »

Oct 212011

I just wanted to use my favorite word in a post title today. Actually, that’s only part of the reason for this. The other part is that I saw Chimaira last night, headlining a show in Seattle that included Impending Doom and Revocation. Chimaira played “Power Trip” and about 10 other songs.

[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/04-Power-Trip-Album-Version.mp3|titles=Chimaira – Power Trip (Album Version)]

After full audio immersion in the music of those three bands, my neck muscles were so destroyed when I woke up this morning that I had to strap on the custom-designed NCS neck brace, the one with the heated gel packs on the inside and the drinking straw attached to a pouch of chilled Stoli.

Chimaira had the strobe lights flashing and the smoke machine pumping and Sean Z (Daath) on keyboards, carpet-bombing the crowd with more bass drops than I’ve ever heard before and growling backing vox, and it was fucking glorious. A packed crowd on the floor was in non-stop mosh mode, and the Chimaira dudes looked like they were having the time of their lives on stage. And speaking of glorious . . . Continue reading »

Aug 162011

(Today marks the official release of the new album from ChimairaThe Age of Hell — and Andy Synn provides this review.)

Brothers and sisters, the time is at hand, The Age Of Hell is here… but what, precisely, does this mean, both for fans of the band and the group themselves as they enter this “new age”?

For a long time Chimaira have been a band in search of an identity, from their early days as a semi-industrialised scrappy contender, through their more epic aspirations, their stripped down thrash-based years, their expansive and ambitious resurrection and their darker, more death-tinged recent days of darkness. Perhaps then both the greatest strength, and the greatest weakness, of the band remains their occasionally amorphous style?

No one sounds quite like Chimaira, this is true, yet by the same token it’s often difficult to describe what exactly the Chimaira sound is. Though the crushing, powerhouse core of the band always remains intact, the accentuating sonic characteristics of the band are often diverse to the point of diffusion.

I can see this being a particularly polarising record for Chimaira fans, and would be interested to see how it divides the fan-base along certain lines. This is due to the band’s conscious choice to reach back into their own past to recall certain older styles and influences into service. Different tracks recall moments from each of their albums, from the electro-stomp of Pass Out Of Existence right up to the monolithic lumbering death-metal the band toyed with recently on The Infection. True to their mythical namesake, this record is a chimaera of all the styles the group have employed thus far, serving almost as a “best of” collection, updating and improving on all aspects of their sound, yet without ever really defining itself definitively. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 012011

June is behind us, July lies ahead. Here in the U.S., we’re about to start the long weekend leading up to Independence Day, when Americans celebrate the birth of the nation by buying explosive ordinance wherever fine explosive ordinance is sold and lighting up the night sky (in addition to blowing the shit out of objects and sometimes themselves). People will also be exposing unsightly parts of their bodies wherever sun can be found and eating large quantities of health food prepared on outdoor grills. Our Founding Fathers would be proud of what they wrought!

Because the last month has ended, that means it’s time for another installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album during May or preceding months, we wrote about them in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that we overlooked. Continue reading »

Jun 202011

Surely, I’ve done stupider things here at NCS than I’m about to do, though I can’t remember when.

So, in catching up with metal news this morning, I found a whole bunch of shit that peaked my interest. To decide whether it was all worth sharing with you, I needed to listen to some music. I reached for my trusty iPod to get the earbuds and plug them into my laptop, and . . . no fucking iPod. No fucking earbuds.

I’m in Texas visiting my mother and brother, and I think I left my iPod at my mom’s place yesterday, but at the moment I’m earless (and my hearing is too shot to make out very much from the tinny, crappy little speakers on my laptop). But I decided, fuckit, I’m going to share the items I’ve found with you even though I haven’t heard most of them. Maybe you’ll tell me whether it was worthwhile.

Here’s the line-up: Chimaira has debuted two new songs from The Age of Hell album, which is due for release in late August by Long Branch Records in Europe and eOne Music in NorthAm. One is streaming exclusively at MetalSucks (here) and one at Revolver (here). You can buy both of them at iTunes right now. As I said, I haven’t heard them, though I’m a Chimaira fan. I hope they’re good. I bet they will be. If you haven’t already heard, the new Chimaira line-up includes two of the dudes from DaathEmil Werstler (on bass!) and Sean Z. (on keyboards!).

After the jump . . . performance videos from Mayhem and At the Gates at festivals this past weekend, plus news about full-album streams from In Flames and The Devin Townsend Project. Continue reading »