Chimaira – Crown of Phantoms


Review by Paul Castles

eOne Music

Chimaira’s turbulent history is such that many questioned whether we’d heard the last of them. With the release of their seventh studio album, Crown of Phantoms, we now know we haven’t! Not for the first time the band’s driving force Mark Hunter has been busy conducting more job interviews than a high street recruitment agency with pretty much a new line-up now in situ since their 2011 release The Age of Hell. Just why the Cleveland crew has gone through so many line-up changes down the years is unclear but whatever the line-up Chimaira have always delivered their own distinctive brand of hardcore metal.

Crown of Phantoms opens with a mechanized drum intro for ‘The Machine’ and even before Hunter’s vocals kick in the sound is instantly recognisable as classic Chimaira. With a grand symphonic backdrop the album has a powerful feel to it right from the off with Hunter barking out the cry of ‘Do you feel alive?’ as the opener builds to a climactic frenzied finish. ‘No Mercy’ maintains the momentum with the kind of sing-a-long pit plunging chorus that Chimaira have diligently delivered down the years. Hunter steps up the aggression when crying out “take a look at the sky” at the start of ‘All That’s Left is Blood’, another chunk size Chimaira bite although this one slightly uncharacteristically contains a wild guitar licking solo mid-song. There are one or two new diversions from the new look band with a harmonic choral intro on the short instrumental ‘The Transmigration’ followed by some delicate guitar picking. Ultimately though that’s not why people venture out on a dark winter night to see Chimaira. Rather than surround himself with young musicians, Hunter has gone for experience over enthusiasm and the new faces have already established reputations in this field. Guitar wizard Emil Werstler and Sean Z from Dååth have certainly helped take Chimaira up a notch technically while former Bleed The Sky drummer Austin D’amond more than makes his mark here.

Chimaira have always been healthy bedfellows for pure aggression and nothing’s changed on that front with brutal offerings such as the knuckleduster ‘Wrapped on Violence’ which pounds along heavily with a real sinister evil edge to it. Whether this album matches the sheer venom and vitriol of the epic The Impossibility of Reason I’m not sure. It would be great to see how some of this material stacks up live. Unfortunately for Hunter the metal world has evolved over the past decade and Chimaira may no longer be seen as the force they once were. The line-up changes probably do little to maintain a band’s presence and stature among their fanbase. Fortunately Hunter has sufficient pull and appeal to ensure the old fans will still turn out the next time they cross the pond.

Chimaira 20137 out of 10


  1. The Machine
  2. No Mercy
  3. All That’s Left Is Blood
  4. I Despise
  5. Plastic Wonderland
  6. The Transmigration
  7. Crown Of Phantoms
  8. Spineless
  9. Kings Of The Shadow World
  10. Wrapped In Violence
  11. Love Soaked Death
  12. New Apocalypse (bonus)