Chimaira (pronounced /kaɪˈmɪərə/) is an American heavy metal band from Cleveland, Ohio, formed in 1998. The band is a notable band in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Their band name is derived from the name Chimera, a monstrous creature in Greek mythology.
Early days (1998–1999)
Chimaira was formed in 1998 by rhythm guitarist Jason Hager, and vocalist Mark Hunter. The pair recruited Jason Genaro on drums and Andrew Ermlick on bass to complete the line-up.
After a few practice sessions, the band decided it needed a thicker guitar sound, and was recommended by Ermlick to Rob Arnold, whom he had previously played in a band together called Common Thread, and whose current band called Sanctum had recently split. Rob joined the band soon after.
The band recorded its first demo in January 1999, and during the recording, Rob recommended to Mark and "Hager" that they replace Genaro with Rob's former drummer Andols Herrick in the band Sanctum. After hearing a tape recording featuring Herrick, the band agreed to drop Genaro in favor of Herrick. Herrick came in and recorded the drums for the demo the very next day.
The band spent much of 1999 doing various live shows around America, and during that year Andrew Ermlick left the band to concentrate on his college studies, and was replaced by Rob Lesniak.
The band recorded a second demo during that year, and it began to receive widespread airplay on several college radio stations around the area. After landing a spot performing "Dead Inside" on the short lived USA Network show Farmclub.com, Chimaira was signed to Roadrunner Records.
This Present Darkness and Pass out of Existence (2000–2002)
Eventually, the band recorded its first EP, called This Present Darkness, which was released in 2000, during this process they replaced bassist Andrew Ermlick with Rob Lesniak. Later on Ben Schigel, the band's producer and studio keyboard/turntables/electronics provider joined them live temporarily. Banking on the success of the EP, the band was signed by Roadrunner Records and quickly recorded its debut album Pass out of Existence in 2001, by this time Jim LaMarca was now bassist and Chris Spicuzza was handling all electronics duties. Shortly after the release of the album and the tour that was to follow, Jason Hager left the band when he found out he was going to become a father. Matt DeVries, from another local band called Ascension, was recruited to take over as rhythm guitarist.
The Impossibility of Reason (2003–2004)
The band returned home in late 2002 to begin writing and recording its next full-length album, The Impossibility of Reason. The making of the album was documented and later seen on their debut DVD release called The Dehumanizing Process. After the release and ensuing tours, drummer Andols Herrick decided to leave the band. As evidenced in the DVD documentary, Herrick appeared to be unenthusiastic about constantly being on the road. He returned home to attend college to obtain a music degree.
Chimaira eventually welcomed Ricky Evensand as its new drummer. Evensand, hailing from Sweden, was probably most notable for being a part of Soilwork for a short time. Evensand's stay in Chimaira was relatively short-lived. Due to visa problems and his temperamental nature, Evensand eventually left the band. Going on advice from Slayer guitarist Kerry King, Hunter contacted Kevin Talley, an experienced death metal drummer who had previously been in the bands Dying Fetus and Misery Index. With Talley on board, the band finished its remaining tour dates before returning home for some downtime. They soon began the writing and recording process on their next album.
By the first quarter of 2005, the band had finished most of its next release and hit the road once again. The self-titled album, the first (and only) one featuring Talley, was released in August 2005 while the band was taking part in the inaugural Sounds of the Underground tour. Hunter and DeVries had also taken part in another musical project that year, Roadrunner Records' twenty-fifth anniversary CD entitled The All-Star Sessions. Also taking part in the recording of several songs was former drummer Andols Herrick. These recording sessions reignited Herrick's interest of being in a full-time band. Eventually, in early 2006, Herrick and the members of Chimaira conversed and Herrick was welcomed back into the band. Talley's split from the band was amicable, as he was already being offered spots in several different bands and projects (The Red Chord, Misery Index, DÅÅTH).
In 2006, the band was released from its contract with Roadrunner Records and eventually signed with Ferret Records for United States distribution. They also struck a deal with Nuclear Blast for international operations. The band was said to be excited about its new deals, and its fourth album Resurrection was released on March 6th, 2007. The band feels rejuvenated after its split with Roadrunner and the readmission of Herrick on drums. The only downside of this happy event was that the band decided to call off the Eastpack Antidote tour with Soilwork, Sonic Syndicate and Caliban. Chimaira was replaced by Dark Tranquillity. In 2008, Chimaira joined Brendan Small on the Dethklok tour 2008 as a guest appearance.
The Infection (2009 onward)
Before the release of the album, the band had been posting short clips on the webpage from the upcoming album, which was written in Cleveland, Ohio with producer Ben Schigel, who previously produced the band's album The Impossibility of Reason and their self titled album. The new album, entitled The Infection, is mixed by Zeuss, who mixed and produced albums for Hatebreed and Shadows Fall. Chimaira recently stated that they are pushing for an April 21, 2009 release date on the new album. At its annual Chimaira Christmas show on December 30, 2008, they debuted a new song entitled "Secrets of the Dead."
The first single of the album "Secrets of the Dead" was released March 3rd 2009.
On March 6th, 2009, at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival in Dubai, Chimaira played the song "Destroy and Dominate" for the first time in front of a crowd.
The Infection was released worldwide on April 21, 2009 and debuted at number 30 on the Billboard 200.
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