Chimaira Albums Ranked

Hate list features? Feel free to skip this article and others in this series.

Here I’ll be ranking the albums by certain bands in order from Best (actually my subjective favourite) to worst/least good (subjectively, in my opinion). Number 1 is obviously the best. The lowest number is my least favourite.

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DAY 5 – CHIMAIRA:

01. The Infection (2009) – This album is the perfect distillation of everything the band had done up to this point, blended together with perfect flow, and the best song-writing of their career. 2009 may have been one of the best years for this type of music.  Everything about this album slays. The lyrics are more tasteful than usual. The production makes everything sound massive. The balance of groove, punch and speed is optimal. Every time I hear that opening guitar line I get chills. I feel like this album didn’t get enough credit as being the genre defining masterpiece it was, but I’ll never stop repping for it, this is one of my favourite albums of the past 20 years.

Best songs: ‘The Venom Inside,’ ‘Destroy & Dominate’ & ‘The Disappearing Sun.’

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02. Chimaira (2005) – There’s an argument to be had that all the best Chimaira albums have Andols Herrick on the drums, but this album definitely bucks that trend. This album was a bit darker, grander and more technical than their breakthrough album. There was more atmosphere, more mood and more variety than the previous record, but it still kept everything that worked and did it harder and on a bigger scale. Some reviewers and fans weren’t just as keen on it as the previous record back in the day, but it’s a grower and time has been kind to it. For me it was love at first listen and its only got better since.

Best songs: ‘Save Ourselves,’ ‘Left For Dead’ & ‘Lazarus.’

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03. The Impossibility Of Reason (2003) – When you think of this subgenre, this is one of the album covers that pop up in the collage of your mind’s eye. A classic. Iconic. A must-have. The fact that its only number 3 on my list tells you everything you need to know about how good I think numbers 2 and 1 are. This album is really dear to me. I bought it when it was really new and got to see the band grow in size all through the album cycle, I was the first person in my peer group that got into it and really enjoyed trying to convert other people to the cause, and then when their Dehumanizing Process DVD came out and showed the story of the band making and touring it, it was like a crowning moment. I watched that DVD over and over and over again for years. The band members have become like fond sitcom characters in my mind.  None of that overshadows the quality of the material though. The lead guitars are superb, the riffs and double kicks are thrashier than a lot of their peers, the vocal patterns are hooky. The electronics make them stand out from their peers and the overall song-writing was really futuristic and exciting at the time. There’s basically no song on here I wouldn’t want to see live. If you were to assemble a best of playlist almost any song on here would fit. This is definitely the album to try first if you are new to the band.  

Best songs: ‘Cleansation’ ‘Power Trip’ & ‘Implements Of Destruction.’  

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04. Resurrection (2007) – Basically a clever combination of the darker attitude of the self-titled album with the ass kicking metallic nature of Impossibility’ – Resurrection is a must have for any fan of this band. Its one of those albums that is even better than you remember it. The fast songs are fast. The slower songs are impressive. It sees the guitarists really expanding their scope and broadening their range. Its not exactly progressive, but its certainly ambitious and adventurous. There’s also more strings to singer Mark Hunter’s bow, who finds more ways to utilises his voice without resorting to big radio rock choruses like a lot of bands from this subgenre do. And hey another album in the top half of their discography with Andols behind the kit, nailing it.

Best songs: ‘Six,’ ‘The Flame’ & ‘Killing The Beast.’

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05. The Age Of Hell (2011) – This album gets a bit overlooked. After the pure bliss that was The Infection this is a solid follow up, but the press around the album cycle was too focused on the band falling apart at the seams and the audience getting tired of this style of music, and not enough on the album itself.

Maybe it suffers from not having Andols (or an actual band member) on drums – producer Ben Schigel played drums here, or not having Chris Spicuzza on keys and electronics… or indeed not having Jim LaMarca on bass, it really was quite a line-up shift. Maybe the track listing, starting off with the less heavy material first and scaring away part of the fanbase was a mistake. Maybe there’s too many guest musicians – most notably Emil Werstler of Dååth (who would later join the band), and Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel. Maybe the songs just aren’t quite as good as before, but people didn’t seem to go for this album the way the did for the previous four.

Ok, they have made better albums, but I still enjoy this one a lot. I caught them live on this tour, and songs from here fit really well in with the fan favourites. That being said, don’t make this your first Chimaira record.

Best songs: ‘Year Of The Snake,’ ‘Trigger Finger,’ ‘Born In Blood’ & ‘Samsara.’

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06. Crown Of Phantoms (2013) – If The Age Of Hell is overlooked and had a significant line-up change, then Crown Of Phantoms makes it look like business as usual by comparison. Basically every member of the classic line-up except singer Mark Hunter is now gone. Half of the band used to be in Dååth. Additionally, it felt like absolutely no-one got on board with this album at the time. Critics, bloggers, fans, casual concert goers. It felt like everyone just gave up on the band. Which was totally unfair. This is still a good album, and the band really didn’t deserve the fate they got, I was gutted when they split up. I really regret not seeing them live when they toured it, I almost bought tickets but it was in a venue I hadn’t been to before and was afraid to go at the time. One of my many concert regrets.

Considering the album features almost all new members, it still sounds really like Chimaira, arguably more so than even the album which preceded it with more original members. If they had have stayed together for longer and released more records under this line-up it would’ve helped it be less of an odd duck and more of a new era. Its actually got a lot of good material and I hope that history judges it fairly. If they ever get back together, I hope they still keep tracks from this in the set and not act like it never happened. It may have been painted as just a contractual obligation at the time, but its much more than that.

Best songs: ‘All That’s Left Is Blood,’ ‘Plastic Wonderland’ & ‘Wrapped In Violence.’

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07. Pass Out Of Existence (2001) – This album is stylistically a lot close to Nu Metal than the albums they would become famous for. As such, its slower, less heavy and there are far fewer guitar heroics on display. The production is also comparatively dated sounding. The main problem however, is that the songs just aren’t up to the same high standard as the band’s future works. Its not without its merits, and songs from it can work live, but it’s a tougher album to listen to all the way through than all the others.

Best songs: ‘Severed,’ ‘Painting The White To Grey’ & ‘Dead Inside.’

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08. This Present Darkness EP (1999) – Like most people I got this free with The Dehumanizing Process after the fact. Maybe that’s played into why I havn’t listened to it as much as I perhaps should have. Not going out and choosing to get it somehow devalued it. Or then again, maybe its just not their best work. It’s an independent EP. A lot like Killswitch’s debut independent album, songs from it were rerecorded later, it’s the roughest and most hardcore the band have ever sounded, its short and its an interesting historic document for fans but not the go-to starting point. You can see where they were going, but they hadn’t quite gotten there yet.

Best songs: ‘This Present Darkness’ & ‘Painting The White To Grey.’

1 Comment

  1. Great reviews! Couldn’t agree more with the lists order. The solo on “the heart of it all” is perfect! If you haven’t listened to it do yourself a favour! Had high hopes for this band, such a shame they broke up after The Infection.

    Like

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