Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chimaira – The Infection

Since their third, self titled, release Chimaira have been on somewhat of a downward spiral. 2007’s Resurrection, though a stunning album, didn’t receive half the accolades that it so richly deserved. It remained very much in the shadows of one particular metal album released that same year. But also, their touring schedule seemed to decline incredibly and found themselves supporting bands that should have been supporting them.

That said, it’s now 2009 and Chimaira are back with fifth album The Infection, a reasonably good modern metal affair – it doesn’t reach the heights of The Impossibility Of Reason though. “The Venom Inside” opens in grandiose fashion and then pounds its way into the verses and killer chorus. The pace slows slightly with “Frozen In Time” and the momentum wanes further by fourth track “Secrets Of The Dead”, it utilises Chris Spicuzza’s electronics much more but is overall a weak track.

“Impending Doom” creates a haunting air and the guitar work and vocals make it a mini-epic. “Destroy and Dominate” pulls out the same card and the ambitious nature plays out with the keyboards meanwhile Mark Hunter spits out his guttural vocals effectively. These are two standout tracks, along with “The Venom Inside”.

On this occasion the spotlight is stolen by Rob Arnold. His leads are the most impressive aspect of The Infection, these seen on the shred of the “Coming Alive” and the excellent soloing throughout the whole record, in fact.

This release is a collection of hits and misses. It reaches moments of satisfyingly punishing metal but then falters on tracks like “On Broken Glass” and “The Disappearing Sun” which sound too much alike and sticks to a worn out formula.

But final track, an instrumental, “The Heart Of It All”, which I believe works on the same premise as “Implements of Destruction” (closer from TIOR), is amazing. Once again Rob Arnold stands out, the track may seem a tad unnecessary at times but then the towering shred and riffs hit and remind you that Arnold is one of the most underrated guitarists in metal today.

The Infection is a mediocre album but should hopefully set Chimaira back on the path of destruction they’ve been on before.


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