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Chimaira

Chimaira (Roadrunner)

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"Can't sleep with this frustration," Chimaira frontman Mark Hunter growls midway through his band's fourth LP, sounding like he hasn't had a good night's rest in about two years. And in a way he hasn't. After touring for nearly 20 months straight after the release of 2003's The Impossibility of Reason and becoming national headliners, the band went right into the studio, knocked this disc out, and hit the road two months before its release.

Chimaira's rising status has heightened expectations -- not to mention the band's blood pressure. Hunter's pained bark is more guttural and distinctive. He avoids cleanly sung notes as if each took a year off his life. New drummer Kevin Talley heightens the velocity with blast beats. And guitarist Rob Arnold makes his bid for the cover of Guitar Player with persistent shredding, highlighted by his knuckle-busting, minute-long solo on "Save Yourself." The songs here are longer -- just one track clocks in at under five minutes -- and are equally impenetrable and anthemic. It should make Chimaira the belle of the Headbanger's Ball.

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