THE PHOENIX AND THE FLAME 


It’s no coincidence that Chimaira named their latest album Resurrection. The Cleveland metalcore sextet needed a new beginning after 2005’s self-titled release failed to capitalize on the success of 2003’s The Impossibility of Reason.

“We really worked our asses off, and put everything we had into it, almost killed each other making it,” says singer Mark Hunter. “For Roadrunner [Records, the group’s label since their debut in 2001] to drop the ball the way they did was very disconcerting, and was like, ‘Well, we just wasted 10 months of our lives.’”

To see the kind of label support they wanted, Chimaira needed only to look across the bus at ’05 tourmates Every Time I Die, who were signed to Roadrunner rivals Ferret Records. Both bands premiered new albums within a couple of weeks of each other, but while Every Time I Die’s previous album “sold half of [Chimaira’s previous release],” according to Hunter, ETID saw a far greater push.

“We were like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ Right then we knew Ferret had stepped up the game and become a legit label,” Hunter says.

Chimaira’s move to Ferret the next year has been vindicated not only in the tight, brutal throb of Resurrection – their most accomplished disc to date – but in sales as well. Even in a down market for album sales, Resurrection outsold their last disc and even cracked the Billboard Top 20. The album is on pace to become the best-selling release of the
band’s career.

There’s plenty of night-black rumble in the relentless “Worthless” or the piercing, churning crush of “The Flame,” yet the effect feels more modulated. Keyboardist Chris Spicuzza always injects eerie electro-texture into the molten ferric core, but the greater use of gray makes the darkest shades seem that much more impenetrable.

“That’s just maturity,” says Hunter. “I think that goes back to the balance … either I really want to make the part technical, so you’re challenging yourself to be creative as possible, or the other half [of] the time you’re like, ‘Let’s write stuff that’s going to make dudes want to slaughter each other.’”

It’s an approach epitomized by the epic, nearly 10-minute “Six,” which melds contributions by each of the group’s three main songwriters: Hunter and guitarists Matt DeVries and Rob Arnold. The song began as an experiment near the end of the recording sessions. Instead of writing separately, as they had been, each would write three minutes of music and they’d mash them together.

“I figured it’s either going to be a complete waste of a day, or it’s going to turn out awesome,” says Hunter. “It’s just one of those magical moments that happens right there on the spot.”

Hunter’s just happy to have regained their momentum. “We got a fresh start and were able to just go back to who we were before we had all the bullshit and drama,” he says. “And now we’re playing the best and biggest shows of our career.”

music@orlandoweekly.com

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