19th March 2012
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
Those who thought that Chimaira had ridden the New Wave of American Heavy Metal as far as it could go, particularly with the departure of various core members over the years, were forced wipe the salt from their eyes last year when The Age Of Hell broke with the fury of a maelstrom.
Shame we didn’t bring a towel.
Feet are still thin on the ground in Norwich when Neosis take to the stage, but those that have made it down this early seem pretty amicable towards these guys from Geneva. Theirs is a bass-led djent groove with electronic undertones that is more drink-in than rock-out.
A cry of ‘you might know this one’ is met with a glass-eyed response, but kudos has to be given to a band of such obvious musical talent.
In the space of a set change the pace ups as Revoker ride in on the coattails of oldest-of-school classic Thrash and Metal. Sure they’re not even close to reinventing the wheel, but there’s an element of sheer joy and fun about them that is sometimes over looked this day.
Unfortunately this might not be the crowd for them, but the infectious riffs manage to coax out some nodding heads and pumping fists.
Vocally Jamie Mathias is not as sparkly as on the album Revenge For The Ruthless, and when his voice starts to fail on the screams of penultimate track ‘Stay Down’ you have to wonder if he’s done himself a mischief. It perhaps also explains the relatively short feeling set, although with only one album to burn through this was never going to be a long one.
If you shoved a flute in a whale’s blowhole you’re close to the filler, and if you like opening, sound to Chimaira’s entrance. Whether this is intentionally lowering the crowd’s guard is anyone’s guess, but either way as opener ‘Power Trip’ snaps out of those speakers you can feel the impact.
Founding member and trooper Mark Hunter has dug out some of his vocal best for the show, and the current line up has also scrubbed up well. After more than a decade Chimaira’s groove based sound has wound ever tighter, but when it drops this is still the kind of heavy that packs its own gravity.
For a tour that is touted as celebrating the release of The Age Of Hell, only a handful of tracks in the set come from the album itself. Whilst it’s true that audiences often moan when bands favour new material over old, the decision not to include certain songs seems slightly amiss – but ‘Year Of The Snake’ and ‘Born in Blood’ offer a solid argument, not least due to keyboardist Sean Zatorsky adding the guttural roars to the latter.
‘Nothing Remains’, ‘Losing My Mind’, and ‘Severed’ should keep most of the audience happy, topped off with a closing one-two knockout of cathartic anthem ‘Pure Hatred’ and ‘Resurrection’. There’s no encore though – but then you’d be hard pressed to pick which tracks would want to get in the ring after those.
They say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and as a band that have been through a rough time in recent years Chimaira’s performance tonight would suggest that rings true. It surely hasn’t been an easy ride, but by the crackle in the pits tonight we’re sure glad Chimaira hasn’t put on the brakes yet!