Sound — 9
Chimaira is a band I only recently got into (we're talking this year), but it's proven very addictive and I'm working on collecting all of their albums. I find that each one I get seems to surpass the last one, and I've currently been going backwards trying to find their older releases. So while browsing through CD's at my local Best Buy, I was shocked to see a Chimaira CD staring me in the face with a cover I had never seen before. I turn the disc over and sure enough: It's a new album. I checked UG for reviews and I found none. (...What?) Amazon had a positive ones listed at the top, so I quickly skimmed over two of them on my smartphone and brought the album up to the front register and popped it in my car stereo. I was certainly not dissapointed. For those who are unaware of the bands recent history, the bassist, drummer and keyboardist have all left the band for personal reasons. This leaves just the two guitarists and vocalist left in tact, luckily for past Chimaira fans, these people are the main song writers of the group, meaning that the sound fans have come to know and love has remained in tact. Furthermore, in an attempt to not alienate fans, the lasting band members decided it would be best to use their newly recruited replacements on stage for now, and get them into the studio for their next album. This means bass duty went to the guitarists and drumming duties went to their drum tech. Smart move on their part. The sound reminds me of "The Infection", infused with some new usage of clean vocals (new on Chimaira's part). While I am a Bury Your Dead fan, I can appreciate clean vocals if they're used right, and boy are they.
Lyrics — 8
Unlike the aforementioned Bury Your Dead, Chimaira is a band I really admire for lyrics without clear meaning, but an overall understood message each song has to deliver. "Clockwork" is possibly my favorite song on the album with its clean chorus vocals that sort of make you feel as though you're "drifting" (to rip off a sample adjective that very song uses). "I'll keep the earth below, drifting through eternity." Despite being metal, that feeling is something I retain while listening to the whole album. It's feel-good metal, if there is such a thing. The singer is showing clean vocal talent. A lot of metal fans take exception to that, and I find that unfortunate. there's a time and a place for everything in music, and I feel Chimaira explores new ground with their latest album without wandering off of the beaten path and turning off everyone completely. Well done.
Overall Impression — 8
I hear a lot of different bands when I give this album a spin. I hear MyGRAIN style vocals, I hear the sludgy rhythm guitar from DevilDriver or Stardown with a little Shadows Fall lead guitar on top, and the drumming although standard fare for the bands I listen to, is good. They're a talented group. I don't think anybody can argue that. This isn't an entirely new direction for them, as stated before, but they manage to work a bit of something new in. They cared a lot about not alienating their old fan base, but still not compromising their own creative wants. And that alone counts a whole lot towards my respect for them as a band, and is yet another reason why I wholeheartedly wish to support them by buying their music instead of ripping it off of a torrent or streaming low quality recordings from YouTube. This album NEEDS to be heard loud and clear. Every song shows that. I don't think you'll catch me saying that any album is "Chimaira's best work". Their best work would be something I'd compile for myself onto a disc from all their other albums. But this is one to own for sure.