The Infection Review

artist: Chimaira date: 09/02/2009 category: compact discs
Chimaira: The Infection
Released: Apr 21, 2009
Genre: Groove Metal, Metalcore
Label: Ferret Music / Nuclear Blast
Number Of Tracks: 10
Chimaira once again churn out chunky, turbocharged metal from the cold, bitter depths of Cleveland, Ohio. The Infection is a full-on, full-out and full-bore metal assault that never takes a breather. Exhaustion never felt so good!
 Sound: 7.7
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 7.7
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reviews (3) 61 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8
The Infection Reviewed by: UG Team, on april 22, 2009
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Infection is an efficient album. Opening with an ominous, semi-epic instrumental the passage, the album aims and fires without much apprehension. With 10 tracks, the guarantee of all killer, no filler is one that can easily be made. Cleveland's Chimaira have always knocked on the door of mainsteam metal success that has been opened by the likes of Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God and As I Lay Dying, but the six-piece has never fully entered the room and crashed the party. There's no real reason for that, as the band is deft with manufacturing metal songs that are raw enough to chafe the first layer of cells from your skin. The guitar work is good. The screaming is good. The drumming is, and we mean no offense to those who are heavily medicated or institutionalized, f--king insane; it's the anchor of The Infection, with it's super-precise patterns. The Infection is easily the band's most brutal to date; the opening salvo, The Venom Inside, is slightly blackened, while Frozen in Time is threaded with an ever-so-subtle keyboard melody that is often reserved for European metal bands. About three minutes into this song, there's a haunting, creeky part that will make the baby fine hairs on your spine stand on end; it's creepy, eerie and thoroughly metallic. Chimaira are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, into their sonic stew and the band ends up with a blackened and deathy American metal record that should shut the mouths of naysayers who tried to classify Chimaira as nu metal in the past. // 8

Lyrics: It's as though vocalist Mark Hunter raked his larynx over burning hot coals and spit the resulting blood, scabs, bile, infection (pun intended) and ash onto the record. There's nothing clean or goes down easy about Hunter's delivery on the whole of The Infection. The quiet-loud vocals that appeared on The Impossibility of Reason, which is arguably the band's most focused and best record, are nowhere to be found. Instead, Hunter is spitting with more piss and vinegar than ever. While it's hard to decipher what he is saying without a lyric sheet, there are moments, like his yell It was my mistake and the I'm coming alive part of I'm Coming Alive that allow for singing along, this album is mostly for the headbangers who prefer the growl and the groove. Impending Doom, which is the sixth track on the record, is the only song that could be considered a single thanks to what can be loosely termed as accessibility, but for the most part, Chimaira hover as close to the underground with going completely subterranean as possible. // 8

Overall Impression: Guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries prove to be a formidable tandem on The Infection, which is driven by both Slayer and classic Metallica-influenced riffs. It's as though every member of Chimaira stepped up to the plate and knocked it outta the park when it came to writing and playing their parts on the album. Hunter's ferocious; drummer Andols Herrick is a machine holding down the rhythm section with Jim LaMarca; Arnold and DeVries squeeze out riffs that could cut plate glass; and Chris Spicuzza, who handles the electronics, has enhanced the record with his touches and flourishes in more obvious, audible ways than ever before. Check about four minutes and beyond of Secrets of the Dead for a real taste of what Spicuzza adds to Chimaira's overall sound! Chimaira have gotten more metal with age and this is one Infection you'll want to succumb to! // 8

- Amy Sciarretto (c) 2009

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overall: 7
The Infection Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 23, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: One of the few bands I listen to that never seems to make the same album twice, Chimaira's latest release takes things in a new direction for the band. One thing you will quickly realize is the tempo of the songs--slow, atmospheric and heavy. For those who liked their self-titled and Resurrection this may be a turn off, as a few of the songs such as Secrets of the Dead and Destroy and Dominate trade speed for the 'heavy' factor, resulting in songs that are for a large point groove oriented (it will be interesting to see the moshing that will come at concerts to these songs). Another factor that seems to stand out is the verse-chorus transition. In The Venom Inside the transition from the verse to chorus seems forced, as if it is missing something to tie it altogether. While not a standout issue, again it might leave a bad taste in some fan's mouths who prefer well structured songs. Like in most of Chimaira's releases, the bass is largely ignored in favour of the guitar onslaught, and while both guitarists do a good job (The Heart of it All being a example), some of the riffs feel overused or boring, unable to hold your attention to the song and otherwise diminishing it's replay factor. There is no question to the druming being superb, and many of the tempo changes and drumming techniques present could be described as reminiscent of the death metal genre. // 7

Lyrics: Probably the second largest change in The Infection has come in Mark Hunter's singing... Err screaming. His vocals are more guttural in this record, trading screaming for growling, giving the record a death metal feel in areas (Coming Alive is a good example of this). This change from simple screaming will probably turn some more fans off, but there is no question it fit's with the tempo of the songs and does not hinder the music much in any way. Mark's clean singing is also not that bad, and fit's well in Impending Doom during the 'lull' sections of the song. Lyrics are like most of Chimaira's: cheesy to some and acceptable to others, depending on your taste and views. Overall they are the usual metal fare (just look at the song title names if you have any doubts), and do not affect the record much in general. // 7

Overall Impression: While a big change for Chimaira in terms of music, the Infection is a reasonable record that has some minor hiccups that will probably be seen as bad for some fans. While not superb, The Infection is still alright, and some songs (minus their defects) are good listens. To get a taste of this record listen to The Venom Inside, Frozen in Time, The Disappearing Sun and The Heart of It All. Having gone from Nu-Metal to some twisted version of thrash-metalcore (for lack of a better term) and finally death metal-esq groove, it will be interesting to see what the boys from Chimaira will come up with after this for their next record. On a final note, listen to this album several times before making a decision on it, as many of these songs do have a habit of growing on you, as they certainly have for me. // 7

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overall: 8.3
The Infection Reviewed by: kellen.dobmeier, on september 02, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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