Chimaira may have gotten pretty popular for a while when this album came out, which will always lead elitist snobs to dismiss them or any popular band as mere teenage music to be derided or at least not taken seriously; however the reason Chimaira got the attention they deserved was partly because they were always good to their fans and of course largely because musically, they are just that damn good!
This album is very Chimaira sounding without being unoriginal, it maintains all the key ingredients that their previous albums had used and builds upon them to create a strong and interesting album; with inventive riffs, memorable solos and absolutely astounding drumming from the now reunited Andols Herrick.
Vocalist Mark Hunter requires special praise on this record. His vocals do always become better with each passing album and every time he has a much more varied range of voices here than in the past. When he sings on this album, you can just imagine him commanding the audience on stage, ever a truly excellent front man.
The music is a little more technical and complicated than some of their previous albums, and more driving and angry than the Self-Titled album which directly preceded it. This is no bad thing however, as it allows all of their albums to maintain their own individual feel and stop them becoming samey or repetitive as a band.
The album is thankfully very long and though it may not sink in entirely on first listen, after a few spins you will begin to understand what a huge album this is, with such attention to detail and an especially high standard of song writing.
There are plenty of stand out songs here, including the long and eastern tinged semi-epic ‘Six,’ the heavy ‘Killing The Beast,’ and the catchy ‘Worthless.’ The absolute highlight of the album and arguably even their career however, is the punishing and emotionally intense track ‘The Flame,’ with its sexual-abuse lyrical themes, amazing riffs and hammering chorus, musically everything about the track is perfect and conspires to create on of the best tracks the band has written to date.
This album as a whole is just heavy as hell, and despite requiring a few listens to fully appreciate its charms, it is probably one of the best albums the band have released and certainly a must have for existing fans of the band. Highly recommended.
***If you can, try and get the special edition DigiPak which comes with an excellent, (if slightly tongue in cheek at times) Making-Of Documentary. ***