CHIMAIRA — The Age of Hell (review)

CHIMAIRA — The Age of Hell album cover Album · 2011 · Groove Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"The Age of Hell" is the 6th full-length studio album by US thrash/groove metal act Chimaira. The album was released through E1 Music in August 2011. After a couple of lineup changes Chimaira is back with a new hard hitting assault. I´ve followed the band sporadically over the years and while they´ve always maintained a quality level higher than most of their contemporaries, my interest in their releases has been a bit up and down. I think they´ve had a hard time topping "The Impossibility of Reason (2003)", which IMO is their best album. "The Age of Hell" is fortunately in the better end of the scale when it comes to releases by Chimaira.

The music on the album is not easy to tag, as it is essentially a hybrid of thrash, metalcore, deathcore and alternative metal. It´s always been like this with Chimaira though, so it´s not like they´ve changed their core style much on this album. However they´ve written more memorable tunes than usual this time around and I find myself greatly enjoying the album. The groovy mid-paced riffing, the occassional fast paced thrashy Slayer-type riffing, the ultra heavy breakdowns, the aggressive vocals (which a few times are close to growls), which are occasinally spiced up by clean Alice in Chains-type clean vocals, and the powerful sound production are all elements that make this album quite the effectful listen if you desire to have your head bashed in, but also desire an occasional more commercially assessible sound. The tracks aren´t terribly adventurous, sticking pretty closely to a vers/chorus formula, but there are little surprises along the way that keep the album fresh. An example is the ambient part a couple of minutes into "Clockwork".

I wouldn´t say Chimaira have reinvented themselves or anything like that, but they´ve upped their game with "The Age of Hell", and the album is certainly a worthy purchase if you´ve enjoyed earlier releases by the band but it would also be a great starting point if you are new to the band´s music. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.
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