Sound — 8
Chimaira tend to evolve some with every album. First came Pass Out of Existence which was a nu-metal masterpiece (compared to mainstream nu-metal anyway). Thankfully, they moved on with IoR which was metalcore. Then came their self-titled which was thrash influenced metalcore. I have not personally listened to Ressurrection yet but have heard good things. Chimaira has since returned with 'The Infection' which is probably their most solid album to date. Thankfully, they have evolved again. The Infection is slower, heavier, and much better than anything they have ever released. The opening track entitled 'The Venom Inside' is a monster of a song that has some obvious death influence during the chorus. Then comes Frozen in Time which has 2 of the best breakdowns I've heard in quite some time. Not being a huge fan of breakdowns, I was pleasantly surprised with these two. The only downfall to The Infection is that it has a definite standout track which is 'Impending Doom.' This song is by far the best that the band has ever created and could set a standard for the years to come. The album kicks the bucket with a very impressive instrumental entitled "The Heart of it All" which is nearly 15 minutes long but doesn't seem like it at all. Chimaira took the time to think about composition with "The Infection" instead of all-out brutality or technicality. For example, guitar solos are few and far between on this record but impressive nonetheless. This is undoubtedly their best album. Even if you don't much care for it at first (which I didn't), keep listening and let it grow on you. I promise you that it will.
Lyrics — 9
Mark Hunter has always written vicious lyrics. That doesn't change this time around. Thankfully, he chooses to be vicious without being unnecessarily crude or violent. The lyrics to 'The Venom Inside' are excellent. The most impressive vocal performance is in track 6 entitled 'Impending Doom.' It is the only song I can recall with a dose of Mark's clean singing. His singing voice isn't outstanding so it's good that he just threw it in once during the album. Mark is a beast of a harsh vocalist though and it shows through in every song except the instrumental.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is one of the best metal albums I have bought this year. I am definitely surprised that it came from Chimaira. Aside from this album, I only have their self-titled which is a beast of a record but didn't force me to buy their other albums. I'll state once more that 'Impending Doom' is the standout track and if you don't hear the entire album AT LEAST hear that song. In the end, I'm very satisfied with this release and I hope Chimaira continues to grow and evolve. The Infection shouldn't' be their apex if they do so. I certainly hope they continue to get better.