Resurrection - CHIMAIRA

CHIMAIRA is a rejuvenated band and they are about to release what is sure to stand as one of the best metal albums of 2007, "Resurrection". Though I have always appreciated the quintet's music, particularly the work subsequent to 2001's "Pass out of Existence", I found myself shocked at the excellence achieved on "Resurrection". When the situation with Roadrunner seemingly began to sour and the band released 2005's defiantly heavy and decidedly less accessible self-titled album, one wondered where the band would go next. The answer is in a far more confident direction that combines the best elements of all previous albums and that finds CHIMAIRA pinpointing its true identity, that of an immensely talented, fire-breathing metal band on "Resurrection".

"Resurrection" is a complete album in every sense of the word. Unrelentingly ferocious, infinity memorable, and defined by remarkably accomplished arrangements. The album-opening title track is an immediate classic with its thrash-based riffing, catchy chorus, and a vocalist in Mark Hunter that sounds as though he is exorcising a lifetime's worth of demons. "Pleasure in Pain" and "Worthless" continue in a frighteningly heavy and rage-driven vein, the former incorporating effective clean (not crooning) harmonies on the pre-chorus, the latter boasting one of the album's most intense solos. It is on "Six" though that the group truly shines. The nine-and-a-half minute cut perfectly balances thrashing brutality and soul-baring lyrical hatefulness with an air of beauty, compositional majesty, and seamless tempo variation. It is also one of several tracks, along with the symphonic-laced "Empire", that shows keyboardist/sampler Chris Spicuzza taking a more active, though in no way disruptive, role.

Andols Herrick's return to the drum stool does nothing to detract from the band's resurgence either, even following the mighty Kevin Talley's efforts on the self-titled album. His double-bass work on songs like "The Flame", one that recalls FEAR FACTORY for the syncopation, is earth shaking. As for the rest, it is a matter of take-your-pick, as momentum is never lost and quality remains consistent, whether on catchy thrasher "Black Heart" or the spine-tingling "Killing the Beast".

That each nearly flawless track warrants discussion speaks volumes about the fact that the band has created its watershed album. "Resurrection" is one of those rare discs that beg the listener to return for repeat spins over and over again. It leaves me wondering if a rating of 9 is even high enough.

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