Mark Hunter proves Chimaira still have the goods after a rough year.
The new crowd funded Chimaira album, Crown of Phantoms, is surprisingly Chimaira for the amount of members the band has lost over the last year and a half. Lead singer Mark Hunter remains the last original member, but new contributors Jeremy Creamer, Matt Sclachta and Austin D’Amond seem to latch on to the pre-conceived Chimaira formula with a solid grasp. Emil Werstler and Sean Z are back for a second dose of Chimaira and inject their feature qualities into a beast that is clearly not yet ready to call it a day.
The lead work on show by Emil Werstler is nothing short of outstanding. The phenomenal young guitarist continues to prove that he is undeniably one of the best six-string virtuosos in the current age of metal. He has a tendency to create solos that sound like leads, and creates leads that sound like solos. He blurs the line between the two which makes for such interesting and intricate guitar-work. Tracks to check out regarding Werstlers distinguished playing include Plastic Wonderland and Wrapped In Violence.
The Transmigration is a bridge track that sounds like it was ripped straight from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. It transitions nicely into the title track which, oddly enough, is mostly uninteresting, whilst No Mercy is set to be Chimaira’s latest live favourite for fans. Spineless is likely to satisfy those looking for Chimaira at their most ferocious.
The use of keys in Chimaira has always been somewhat of a trademark for the band. They provide an atmospheric backing to a wall of distortion and relentless metal drumming. It is very rare that you’ll find a Chimaira song where the keys provide the focal point. Although this album is no exception to that rule, the outro to Kings Of The Shadow World is haunting and well-placed, allowing the listener to break free of the track and make their own melodies be heard.
Crown of Phantoms is a more solid and overall whole effort by Chimaira in comparison to their last album, The Age Of Hell and is worth picking up for any undecided Chimaira follower or fan of modern metal.
Crown of Phantoms is out now.