Last updated
Chimaira performing at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona in 2009
Background information
Origin Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1998–2014, 2017 (one-off reunion)
LabelsEast Coast Empire, Roadrunner, Ferret, Nuclear Blast, eOne Music
Past members Mark Hunter
Jason Hagar
Andrew Ermlick
Jason Genaro
Rob Arnold
Rob Lesniak
Andols Herrick
Chris Spicuzza
Jim LaMarca
Matt DeVries
Emil Werstler
Richard Evensand
Kevin Talley
Austin D'Amond
Matt Szlachta
Jeremy Creamer
Sean Zatorsky

Chimaira /kˈmɪərə/ was an American heavy metal band from Cleveland, Ohio. Formed in August 1998, the group was a member of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal scene. [1] The band's name is derived from the word Chimera, a monstrous creature in Greek mythology. Throughout its history, the band had numerous line-up changes, leaving vocalist Mark Hunter as the only constant member. The band dissolved in 2014, but announced a one-off reunion in late 2017.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Ohio U.S. state in the United States

Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus. Ohio is bordered by Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Lake Erie to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast.

Chimera (mythology) mythical creature

The Chimera according to Greek mythology, was a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It is usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat protruding from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake's head. It was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.



Early days (1998–1999)

Chimaira was founded August 1998 by guitarist Jason Hager, and vocalist Mark Hunter. The pair contacted friends and recruited Jason Genaro on drums and Andrew Ermlick on bass to complete the required positions for a line-up. [2]

Mark Hunter (musician) American musician

Mark Hunter is an American musician and photographer and is the vocalist for the heavy metal band Chimaira.

After a few practices, the four decided that the band needed to thicken their sound and Ermlick recommended that Rob Arnold, a former bandmate from his time in Common Thread, could be recruited into the band as a guitarist. Arnold's band at the time, Sanctum had recently split, and he was available to join Chimaira. By 1999, Arnold joined the band soon after as lead guitarist to which Hager was then moved down to play rhythm. [2]

Rob Arnold American musician

Rob Arnold is an American musician, best known for performing as the lead guitarist of the metal band Chimaira and later the rhythm guitarist of the death metal band Six Feet Under. In an interview with Roadrunner Records, he named Kirk Hammett, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman and Kerry King as being influential to his playing style. Some of his favorite bands include Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Pantera, Sepultura, and Cannibal Corpse.

The band recorded its first demo in January 1999, and during the recording, Arnold recommended to Hunter and Hager that they replace Genaro with Arnold's former drummer Andols Herrick in the band Sanctum. After observing a cassette recording featuring Herrick's percussion, the band agreed to replace Genaro in favor of Herrick. Herrick then came along to the studio with the other four and recorded the drums for the demo the very next day. [2]

The band spent much of 1999 doing various live shows around the United States, and during that year Andrew Ermlick left the band to concentrate on his college studies, and was replaced by Rob Lesniak. [2]

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, Chimaira was signed to Roadrunner Records. [2]

<i></i> television series was an American TV show on USA Network. The show featuring the "IT" musical artists of the moment and promoting unsigned bands through national exposure and website interaction. The show featured moments such as the return of N.W.A., with Snoop Dogg filling in for the late Eazy-E.

Roadrunner Records is an American record label that concentrates primarily on heavy metal and hard rock bands. It is a division of Warner Music Group and is based in New York City.

This Present Darkness and Pass out of Existence (2000–2002)

Eventually, the band recorded their debut EP, This Present Darkness , which was released in 2000 via independent label East Coast Empire, and charted in the top 10 at Metal Radio. Shortly after the release of TPD, Chimaira aligned with manager and A&R scout Thom Hazaert (who would go on to run prominent independent labels Corporate Punishment Records and THC : MUSIC), a longtime friend of sampler Chris Spicuzza, and continued to tour the US, playing consistently with bands including Hatebreed and God Forbid. The band recorded demo versions of several new tracks including "Dead Inside" (which the band performed on Farm Club and would go on to become a fan favorite), "Severed", and "Taste My ...", as well as a cover of The Cure's "Fascination Street", which Hazaert shopped, eventually gaining interest from several major labels. During this time, the band also contributed a cover of the Accept classic "Balls to the Wall" to the ECW Wrestling album Anarchy Rocks Vol. 2.

The band went on to sign with Roadrunner Records and quickly recorded its debut album Pass out of Existence in 2001 with Producer Mudrock. 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 discovered he was going to become a father. Matt DeVries, from Cleveland's Ascension, was recruited to take over as rhythm guitarist. Released October 2, 2001, Pass out of Existence would also feature a guest appearance from Deftones' guitarist Stephen Carpenter on the track "Rizzo".

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. Hailing from Sweden, Evensand was a part of Soilwork for a short time. Evensand's stay in Chimaira was relatively short-lived. 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. Songs from the album were featured on MythBusters for the episode "Talking to Plants".

Chimaira (2005–2006)

By the first quarter of 2005, the band had finished most of its next release and began to tour 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.

Resurrection (2007–2008)

In 2006, the band was released from its contract with Roadrunner Records and eventually signed with Ferret Records for United States distribution. The band also inquired a deal with Nuclear Blast for international operations. The band was said to be excited about its new deals, and its fourth full-length studio album Resurrection , which was released on March 6, 2007. The band has stated they felt "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 Brendon Small on the Dethklok tour 2008 as a guest appearance.

The Infection (20092010)

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 stated that they were 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." [3]

I think that we've been a band that over the past fourteen years encapsulates the best elements of heavy metal. In our music you can hear elements of death metal in one instant only to hear influences from classic thrash metal the next moment. Chimaira has always been a hybrid metal band and we'll continue doing that. We're a band that never quits, no matter the odds.

—Mark Hunter, on the essence of Chimaira [4]

The first single of the album "Secrets of the Dead" was released March 3, 2009. The Infection was released worldwide on April 21, 2009 and debuted at number 30 on the Billboard 200. During a number of European tour dates supporting The Infection, Chimaira had Emil Werstler of Dååth filling in for Matt DeVries, as DeVries' girlfriend had their first child.

The 10th annual Chimaira Christmas show was held at the House of Blues in Cleveland Ohio on December 27, 2009 and was filmed for a live DVD titled Coming Alive, which was released in 2010.

In late 2010, bassist Jim LaMarca retired from the band. Chimaira released the following statement regarding his departure "After a decade of good times and achievements, our friend and band mate Jim LaMarca [bass] has decided to retire from CHIMAIRA. We wish him nothing but the best as he settles in and starts a family. As for seeking a replacement ... we'll cross that bridge down the line. In the meantime, consider it 'business as usual' with the CHIMAIRA you know and love." [5]

The Age of Hell, line-up changes, Crown of Phantoms, and split (20112014)

On January 24, 2011, it was confirmed that Chimaira were signed to eOne Music. [6]

Chimaira finished recording their 6th album in March 2011, [7] expected to be released in August 2011.[ needs update ] [8] Also in March, Chimaira released a cover of The Troggs' "Wild Thing" as a single on YouTube and iTunes, [9] [10] in response to the "Charlie Sheen phenomenon." [11]

On April 5, 2011, keyboardist and programmer Chris Spicuzza announced he would be leaving the band (a decision he made in January), citing a "negative environment" and the general state of the music industry. He also announced his next project, a mobile gaming startup called IRL Gaming. [12] Spicuzza did not contribute to the new album. [12]

On April 13, drummer Andols Herrick announced that he too would be leaving the band due to differences. [13] He was asked to leave by the other members of the band. Andols has technically been out of the band since December 2010 (prior to Chimaira Christmas 11). It was not announced until April 2011, however. Herrick was asked to rejoin the band, but he declined. He has said he looks forward to moving on with other musical projects. He said that there is no bad blood between the band and himself, and that they all remain friends. Herrick did not contribute to the new album, however he was around during the time of the song-writing and assures the fans through his Facebook page that the new album is sounding pure as ever. On May 28, at Peabody's in Cleveland, OH, the new album was revealed to be titled The Age of Hell that was met with the debut live performance of the song "Trigger Finger" which will be included on the record.[ citation needed ]

The Age Of Hell is a transitional album. The songs on it aren't that bad, but the fire and the passion simply wasn't there. It was more about holding on to something that was falling apart and recording those emotions. I think it's still a decent metal album, but Crown Of Phantoms is really special to me, because of all the fire and passion. The Age Of Hell was basically me and Rob (Arnold) recording an album with a stand-in drummer. It isn't a good representation of what we are all about. If fans had the chance to name an album which shouldn't have the Chimaira mark on it, I'd suggest The Age Of Hell would be the appropriate album.

—Mark Hunter, on The Age of Hell and line-up changes [4]

The Age Of Hell was released in the US on August 16, 2011. Frontman Mark Hunter states, "Words can't express what it took to create this album. We hope you love it as much as we do. Turn it up loud, this is Chimaira at [its] finest." [14] The album was also released in the UK through Metal Hammer magazine. In November 2011, Mark Hunter released a statement stating that guitarists Matt DeVries and Rob Arnold are leaving Chimaira after Chimaira Christmas '11. He added that they are leaving for 'personal reasons'.

It was confirmed that Emil Werstler will be replacing Rob Arnold as the lead guitarist, meanwhile Matt Szlachta from Dirge Within [15] and Jeremy Creamer from Dååth will be handling rhythm guitar and bass duties respectively.

On December 29, 2012, Chimaira Christmas 13 revealed a new song from the upcoming 2013 album, titled "I Despise". The same day an official teaser for the new album was added to YouTube, titled Chimaira 2013. [16] On April 18, 2013, the band released a teaser video on their YouTube channel revealing the album title, Crown of Phantoms , and a release date, July 30, 2013.

On August 31, 2014, Emil Werstler departed to pursue a solo career. The rest of the band mutually decided to part ways. [17]

On September 4, 2014, Mark Hunter announced the formal break-up of Chimaira. [18]

Reunion (2017)

On June 20, 2017, Rob Arnold, on his RobArnoldWorld Facebook page, posted a picture showing the numbers "1514688300". [19] It was later revealed to be a Unix timestamp of the date and time of the band's reunion show. [20] On June 21, 2017, announced that a one-off reunion of the band's "classic" lineup would take place on December 30, 2017, which would be seven years since the line-up performed together. [21] The band later shared this news on their official Facebook page, confirming the news.

On December 15, it was announced that drummer Andols Herrick would no longer be a part of the reunion show due to health issues, and that former Chimaira drummer Austin D'Amond would be his replacement. [22]

Musical style

Chimaira's early music is considered nu metal, [23] [24] [25] groove metal and metalcore, Chimaira's music has elements of groove metal, death metal, thrash metal, hardcore punk, industrial metal and metalcore. [23] [26]

Band members

Final lineup

Former members

Line UpYear(s)(Year of) Releases
Mark Hunterlead vocals

Jason Genaro – drums

Andrew Ermlick – bass guitar

Jason Hager - guitars

Rob Arnold - guitars

19982 Song Demo (unreleased)
Mark Hunterlead vocals

Andols Herrick – drums

Rob Lesniak – bass guitar

Jason Hager – Rhythm guitar

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

1999 - 2000 This Present Darkness
Mark Hunterlead vocals

Andols Herrick – drums

Jim Lamarca – bass guitar

Jason Hager – Rhythm guitar

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

Chris Spicuzza - Keyboards, programming

2000 - 2001 Pass Out of Existence (2001)
Mark Hunterlead vocals

Andols Herrick – drums

Jim Lamarca – bass guitar

Matt DeVriesRhythm guitar

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

Chris Spicuzza - Keyboards, programming

2001 - Early 2004 The Impossibility of Reason ,(2003)

The Dehumanizing Process (2004)

Mark Hunterlead vocals

Richard Evensand – drums

Jim Lamarca – bass guitar

Matt DeVriesRhythm guitar

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

Chris Spicuzza - Keyboards, programming

Early - Mid 2004 The Impossibility of Reason (Re-Release Live Tracks) (2004)
Mark Hunterlead vocals

Kevin Talley – drums

Jim Lamarca – bass guitar

Matt DeVriesRhythm guitar

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

Chris Spicuzza - Keyboards, programming

2004 - 2006 Chimaira (2005)
Mark Hunterlead vocals, Rhythm guitar (Studio 2006)

Andols Herrick – drums

Jim Lamarca – bass guitar

Matt DeVriesRhythm guitar

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

Chris Spicuzza - Keyboards, programming

Emil Werstler - Rhythm guitar (Fill in for Matt DeVries in 2009 for paternity leave)

2006 - Late 2010 Resurrection (2007)

The Infection (2009)

Coming Alive (2010)

Mark Hunterlead vocals

Andols Herrick – drums

Emil Werstler – bass guitar

Matt DeVriesRhythm guitar

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

Chris Spicuzza - Keyboards, programming

Late 2010Touring Only
Mark Hunterlead vocals, Keyboards

Rob Arnold – lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, bass guitar

Matt DeVries - Rhythm guitar (Touring Only, didn't participate on the writing or recording of the album)

Session Musicians:

Ben Schigel – drums

Tony Gammalo – bass guitar on Track 6

Emil Werstler Lead Guitar and Guitar Solo on Track 12

Phil Bozeman – Additional vocals on Track 7

Lauren Dupont - Additional Keyboards

Jeremy Creamer - Remix ( The Age of Remix Hell )

2011 The Age of Hell ,

The Age of Remix Hell

Mark Hunterlead vocals

Rob Arnold – lead guitar

Matt DeVries - Rhythm guitar

Emil Werstler - Bass Guitar

Austin D'Amond - Drums

Sean Zatorskykeyboards, synthesizers, programming, backing vocals

Early 2011 - Christmas 2011 Wild Thing Bonus track on The Age of Hell
Mark Hunterlead vocals

Emil Werstler – guitars

Matt Szlachta - guitars

Jeremy Creamer - Bass Guitar

Austin D'Amond - Drums

Sean Zatorskykeyboards, synthesizers, programming, backing vocals

Early 2012 - Late 2014 Crown of Phantoms
Mark Hunterlead vocals

Matt Szlachta - guitars

Jeremy Creamer - Bass Guitar

Austin D'Amond - Drums

Sean Zatorskykeyboards, synthesizers, programming, backing vocals

September 2014Inactive
Mark Hunterlead vocals 2014Inactive (Disband Shortly After)




Studio albums

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