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Monday, August 15 2011 00:00

CHIMAIRA - THE AGE OF HELL (Album Review)

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ageofhellIt's hard to believe that it's already been nearly twelve years since a then-unknown band called CHIMAIRA rocked the stage on the short-lived Farmclub on the USA Network. I was watching the show as it aired for the first time - when the band performed Dead Inside, a song that I later acquired through Napster in demo form and would later appear on their Roadrunner debut PASS OUT OF EXISTENCE in 2001. Now the Cleveland band finds themselves re-birthed with a new lineup, a new label, and a new album that just may be their best since 2003's THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF REASON.

While their first album felt flat, their second hit a stride that the band never really seemed to recapture. There were always some great moments, but the focused attack was never  again delivered with such precision until now.

THE AGE OF HELL (out this week via eOne Music) is a sonic beast that is worthy of your full attention. From the opening samples on the title track, which feel like a throwback to the earliest days of the band, this album collects the best parts of CHIMAIRA and assembles them for a new decade with some new bells and whistles.Losing My Mind bends the slow heavy grooves, while Year of the Snake sounds as if CHIMAIRA joined with ALICE IN CHAINS for some kind of sinister sonic Voltron. Born in Blood feels like an homage to the might of SLAYER with it's opening riff, while managing to lift a riff from MEGADETH's Skin O My Teeth at the 2:01 mark. Trigger Finger, one of the first new songs to be performed live and land on YouTube, is ferocious - with the band working to seamlessly allow each element of their personality and instrumentation to have perfect balance and breathing room.

Bottom Line: With 50% new members, CHIMAIRA sounds closer to their original form than they have in years. A great album.

Rating: 4/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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