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CHIMAIRA – The Infection

  • Review by: Madhav R

There comes a time in your life when everything around you starts looking stale and musty, you lose all hope for change and the world around you seems to have gone astray. So when you get a fresh blast of metal comes your way, what do you do? You’d get up, let down your hair and swirl your head around in a crazed frenzy, right? Chimaira’s new album ‘The Infection’ is a that fresh blast of metal and it’s like nothing you’ve heard for a long time. You’d better start headbanging.

The first thing you’ll realize about ‘The Infection’ is that its slower than Chimaira’s previous albums. That’s not to say it’s as slow as sleep, but the songs are pretty down tempo, save a few rapid break-downs and riffs. The songs have a hint of an oncoming storm, sounding darker and more sinister than any of their previous records. The anger is still there though, and some of the riffs are pretty damn brutal. Mark Hunter sounds like a Panzer on meth and the guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries have come up with some pretty crushing riffs that makes this album stand out from the rest of the pack.
‘The Venom Inside,’ which is the first song on the album starts with soft guitars leading into a blast from Hunter’s vocals. There’s a strong bass presence (which is non-existent on the other tracks) and sets the tone for the album to come. The next track, ‘Frozen In Time’ rates as probably one of the best on the album. Massive riffs, menacing keyboards and blistering drums make this very powerful, and being only the second song on the album, you just know how much better it’s going to get. ‘Coming Alive’ leads into ‘Secrets of The Dead,’ which is a tribute to some of the best metal grooves I’ve heard in a long time. There’s a vague ‘underwater’ sorta atmosphere, courtesy Chris Spicuzza on the keyboards and you gotta headbang or at least bob your head up and down to this. ‘The Disappearing Sun’ with its knifed breakdowns and ‘Impending Doom’ with its clean yet creepy vocals just go show the levels of variation in this album. Every song carries a signature Chimaira sound, and yet they all sound so different from each other. ‘Destroy To Dominate,’ which comes after another classic song ‘On Broken Glass’ has some nice, beautiful keyboards that lead in to heavy distortion. I cannot imply enough the drumming on the songs and the synchronization between the band members. ‘Try To Survive’ moves on pretty quickly and we’re finally face to face with ‘The Heart Of It All,’ is the last song on the album. This is pretty much a showcase for the band’s instrumentalists, with keyboardist Spicuzza holding his fort against the onslaught of the twin guitars. 14 minutes is a bit too long for an instrumental and I lost interest half way through the song but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a kickass end to a kickass album.

It’s always interesting to hear electronic elements on a metal track, especially when it’s done as well as on this album. The keyboards act as a backdrop to the music, setting the mood and tone in a way that a guitar never can. Every member of the band stands out in their own way, each of them contributing their bit towards bringing out this album. Among their peers, Chimaira have set the bar and it’s now time to see which band will step up to the challenge…