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chimaira crownofphantoms
Artist: Chimaira
Title: Crown Of Phantoms
Genre: Groove Metal
Release Date: 12th August 2013
Label: Long Branch Records / SPV

Album Review

"The time has come to reboot the machine/ Watch it thrive, Living the high life." These lyrics could not be more true about metal titan CHIMAIRA and their sixth full length album ‘Crown Of Phantoms’, an album that few thought would ever see existence. After the 2011 success of 'Age Of Hell' and the announcement of almost all the original members' departure from the band, fans felt the groove metal outfit was done for, or would move on to new members but with a different name. 'Crown of Phantoms ' was a bit of a secret for some time, but when it was announced on forums and release lists two months before that CHIMAIRA were going to unleash a new album, fans were excited and sceptical. Aside from vocalist Mark Hunter, everyone else was going to be a new member, and new members usually mean a new sound. Already fans had seen what the integration of the former members into bands like SIX FEET UNDER had done- which was pretty much giving CHIMAIRA's sound a death metal effect- so it was uncertain how 'Crown...' was going to sound.

Fans should be quite pleased though with the album. While it is not CHIMAIRA's most experimental piece- 'Age of Hell' had a lot more experimental moments, this current album can be considered CHIMAIRA once again at the top of its aggressive prime. Hunter has done away with the clean vocals- which usually appealed to the mainstream crowd- and with the musicians at his back unleash a furious storm of rhythm driven metal tunes that will definitely appeal to those who liked albums such as 'Impossibility Of Reason'. Track after track is straightforward, rage driven, but sensible music. Highlights such as ‘All That's Left Is Blood’ and ‘I Despise’ are perfect examples of classic CHIMAIRA, and at the heart of the instrumentation it really doesn't sound like a shift at all. The new members fill the roles perfectly and just keep everything melded into place without derailing from the original sound that has made CHIMAIRA a staple in the metal community for the last ten years or so.

Of course there are a few experimental pieces here and there so the album doesn't sound like a monotonous machine. The title track has a great Egyptian sounding lead in that will appeal to fans who liked the self-titled album's ‘Lazarus’, and some classical instruments make their appearance on tracks like the interlude ‘The Transmigration’ which is reminiscent of ‘Stoma’, though not as trippy, and ‘Kings Of The Shadow World’ feature piano bits that are definitely going to keep the more eclectic fans happy. It is definitely proven that CHIMAIRA- in its new form- didn't want to deviate too much from their traditional sound because they wanted to test the waters and fan reception with the new members in place, but perhaps a bit more experimentation might have made this album more unique than it presently is. At heart, it feels like a mix of 'S/T' and 'Impossibility.' CHIMAIRA also stride away from including an epic instrumental as a way to close the album; a small disappointment ever since 'Resurrection,' but it isn't too much of a let-down.

In the long run, 'Crown of Phantoms' is a well-deserved staple in the CHIMAIRA legacy and won't disappoint fans at all. The beast still evolves and still presents good metal, which is definitely a testament to the possibility that the band truly will never die despite the odds of almost losing all its members. Few music groups have that possibility, and with a new shape, CHIMAIRA is stronger than ever.


01. The Machine - 4:01
02. No Mercy - 4:34
03. All That's Left Is Blood - 3:17
04. I Despise - 3:46
05. Plastic Wonderland - 5:04
06. The Transmigration - 2:26
07. Crown of Phantoms - 3:58
08. Spineless - 3:17
09. Kings of the Shadow World - 5:22
10. Wrapped in Violence - 4:22
11. Love Soaked Death - 4:16


Mark Hunter- Vocals
Emil Werstler- Guitars (lead)
Jeremy Creamer- Bass
Austin D'amond- Drums
Matt Szlachta- Guitars

Sean Zatorsky- Keyboards


Cover Picture

chimaira crownofphantoms


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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