Since 2001, Ohio’s Chimaira has released six albums under several labels, including Roadrunner and Nuclear Blast. They are well known for their extreme sound, which includes aggressive vocals, heavy guitars and powerful drums. Their style is best categorized as metalcore, mixed in with groove metal. After a successful 2011 release, the band has now dropped its latest offering, Crown of Phantoms, which has several characteristics that make for an astonishing release.
The songwriting, for one, is notably well constructed. Generally speaking, the arrangement of the music takes listeners on an entertaining journey that is nether predictable nor sloppy. At times, deviating from traditional song arrangements can leave artists sounding awkward, but Chimaira has ensured this is not the case. The progression is quite strong, and it gives this release a fundamental distinction that makes it stand out from other metal releases.
Thankfully, Chimaira has also chosen to experiment quite a bit. Throughout the release, there are prominent uses of electronic ambiance. “Wrapped in Violence” is a fantastic example, as the entire track features a notable electronic, futuristic sound. Other tracks, such as “The Transmigration,” offer softer, cleaner and instrumental sounds to the album. Perhaps the best thing Crown of Phantoms has going for it, though, is the memorable and well-executed guitar solos. The song “Kings Of The Shadow World” is a fantastic example, as the solo is technically mind-blowing and demands the listener’s attention.
As far as the negative aspects, there isn’t much to complain about. A few songs, such as “All That’s Left Is Blood,” sound rather generic and at times, boring; this is mostly due to the suppression of the successful experimentation that occurs on other tracks.
Overall, Chimaira has been successful in creating a distinct and fresh new release for their discography. Even if the metalcore subgenre is a turn off, this album is likely to come as a pleasant surprise because of how different it sounds from its subgenre mates. For those looking to hear something particularly uncommon, look no further than Crown Of Phantoms.