Chimaira seemed like third-tier nü-metal, at best, on its 2001 debut album. Within two years, the Cleveland band had traded baggy jeans for bikers' beards, long hair, and tattoos, and begun riffing in earnest; The Impossibility of Reason and 2005's self-titled release were two of the strongest albums in the Roadrunner catalog. Drummer Kevin Talley, formerly of Dying Fetus, lit a fire under them on that third disc, allowing their blend of metalcore and electronics to ravage the listener ever more brutally. There's been upheaval of late, though; original drummer Andols Herrick is back, and the band recently parted ways with its label. Safe to say that a band this fierce probably won't stay unaffiliated for long.
Every city's got a Mushroomhead -- that one group that's worshiped by hometown fans but can't quite manage to break nationwide. The band's raw musical creativity is undeniable, but those Kroenen-from-Hellboy masks just aren't gonna make the ladies juice their jeans. It's been three years since their first major-label disc; maybe they'll showcase some new material. Skip the Autumn Offering, one more Victory metalcore act no better than its name. That goes double for the inexplicably long-lived Dope.