Chimaira: Show No Mercy
“It’s alive!” Chimaira’s Mark Hunter roars on their new disc. After a band mutiny, the frontman tells BLUNT about resuscitating the metallic beast.
Even for a band which had experienced considerable drama, 2010-2011 was a period of unparalleled upheaval for Cleveland metallers Chimaira, as five-sixths of its membership departed. This left founding vocalist Mark Hunter facing difficult decisions; namely, whether to continue at all. However, while keyboard warriors widely requested their demise, said punters didn’t consider the serious repercussions of him pulling the pin.
“There’s just no complete understanding of the spectrum of what that meant to throw in the towel at that particular time,” the singer ponders. “It would have been disastrous. We would have owed record labels hundreds of thousands of dollars; just a big, ugly legal mess and personally, I didn’t really feel that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off… But there really wasn’t time to think about that too much when there’s five new guys bringing in a whole new atmosphere. You just don’t really have time to think about the past at all. These guys are top-notch players and ridiculous at what
Soon after said resignations public blame was quickly assigned to the frontman, deeming him the common denominator. Phrases like “egomaniac” and “difficult to work with” were regularly bandied about. When inquires about such criticism, he’s audibly not fazed.
“People are free to have their own perception I suppose, and if I was that difficult to work with I wouldn’t be able to have the types of relationships I do have,” Hunter explains. “I wouldn’t be able to work with the same producer for over 20 years. The band line-up that I’m with at the current state, everybody’s super happy and there’s no drama; there’s never a negative word said amongst anybody about anything. That’s been maintained for over a year-and-a-half.
“In regards to the previous members, while we definitely had our differences, and I’m sure that I have been difficult and those things… Of course, who hasn’t been guilty of letting their ego get the best of them from time to time? I don’t take it personally in the sense that I just know who I am, and I know what’s what,” he chuckles. “You have to expect it, and I don’t get mad about it. I tried to maintain as much dignity throughout the whole thing as possible. While we can get a little sick of each other after 10 years, we had a good run together, and it was just time to move on.”
Enter the new personnel – Emil Werstler (guitars), Matt Szlachta (guitars), Jeremy Creamer (bass), Austin D’Amond (drums) and Sean Z (electronics). The current incarnation tested the waters at Soundwave 2012 before progressing to create crushing new album Crown Of Phantoms.
“That was the first test and a very successful venture for us,” the growler enthuses. “The shows were great; the audience was so receptive to us. It just felt that nobody wanted this band to go away anytime soon. It could have been a disaster in Australia; it could have been a disaster right after that tour. We could have fought in the studio and broke up or something.
“It almost felt like a clean-up crew; ‘Yeah, we have this commitment, but we’re serious and we want to move forward.’ Everyone has taken it serious since that moment. It just grows stronger. We get better at what we do; faster and more efficient at how we do it. We’re focusing on making this as successful as humanly possible until it’s just not possible to do it anymore.”