Album review

Chimaira :
The Impossibility Of Reason
- 2-Disc Collector's Edition

Roadrunner Records

Chimaira : The Impossibility Of Reason - 2-Disc Collector's Edition For the last quarter century, prog-rock has been about as popular as a fart in a diving suit. Yet over the past few years it's been staging a sly comeback, reasserting its peculiar brand of cerebral complexity through artists as diverse as Radiohead, The Mars Volta, Muse and Martin Grech.

Last year's The Impossibility Of Reason showed that metal was just as vulnerable to the virus. Not only was it a concept album based on the themes of 'rejection, revenge and repercussion' - it also culminated in a thunderous eleven-minute instrumental epic, Implements Of Destruction.
    Chimaira have always claimed to come from a separate tradition to the nu-metal contemporaries, and it's true that their second album probably owes more - musically - to Metallica than it does to Korn. The guitars are ever bit as pulverizing as you'd expect, the vocals conform to metal's standard satanic growl - but there are keyboard lines, moments of weird experimental electronica and even the odd dabs of vocal melody and harmony in amongst the sturm und drang. Themes and lyrics remain firmly high-school sociopathic, though. "Motherfuck it all," remarks singer Mark Hunter half way through Pure Hatred. "Everyone makes me sick." Bless.

Arguably, though, it's the latest repackaging of this second album which underlines Chimaira's affiliation to the prog-metal monsters of the past. Extras on this special limited edition package include not only bonus track Army of Me but videos for Down Again, Pure Hatred and Sp Lit, a DVD-style 'behind-the-scenes featurette' and a second disk - subtitled Reasoning The Impossible - with ten tracks of out-takes, demos and live cuts including a very listenable cover of The Cure's Fascination Street.

Chimaira probably won't thank us for drawing a line back from this album to the excesses of the early seventies - and it's true that the stylings are vastly different. This is metal, after all, and this band are about frustration and anger, not Eastern philosophy and fantasy literature. But The Impossibility Of Reason - especially in its new expanded format - is every bit as ambitious, every bit as pretentious and every bit as uncompromising as something by Yes, Rush or ELP.

:: Clare O'Brien

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