Chimaira - The Age of Hell
Right away the albums eponymous opener rushes listeners into a session of sterile ear pummeling, from there on we are taken into a dark and brutal world where fury, hated and thrash-inspired insanity rules. A good example being the pulverizing battle song Time is Running Out with it's furious yet victorious riffs, as well as the perfect balance between Mark Hunter's triumphant screams and smarmy low pitched clean vocals. Single, Trigger Finger also sees the band thrashing things out, making an impassioned sound in the process, which also allows listeners to truly marvel guitarist Rob Arnold's skills on bass guitar, as he creates an astounding galloping bassline.
This albums sees a return of the bands slower and deeper sounding riffing from The Infection, which is heard in tracks such as Beyond the Grave and the much more stronger, yet still as doomy and sludgy Powerless, a song which is pretty much owned by Matt DeVries on rhythm guitar.
As well as these tracks, the album is filled with some more unexpected and bizarre songs. Clockwork for example sounds like the result of Killswitch Engage and Nine Inch Nails combining their sounds together and Scapegoat shows a total contrast between the dramatic slow verses and the pummeling yet bouncy chorus, which chooses to end on a serious note by ending with an outro played on an acoustic guitar and a series of string instruments.
A personal highlight would be the previously reviewed Born in Blood, which amongst it's aggression delivered largely through guest vocals by Whitechapel's Phil Bozeman, shows Matt and Rob at their most deluded, taking their insanity out on their guitars. It's a joy to listen to.
Final thoughts on The Age of Hell, while it shows Chimaira doing what they do best, wether it shows them at their best must to be put into question. For me, it doesn't, but then Resurrection is simply one of my favourite metal albums ever and this album doesn't surpass the sheer excellence and fury that album had. However, this is no album to be shunned though. The Age of Hell is a brilliant Chimaira album combining elements from previous styles into this furious, hate filled, yet enjoyable experience. An experience that is just like Hell. So this album really does live up to it's expectations.