Chimaira @ The Metro Theatre (Sydney), 18 Jan 2010

Chimaira infect a rabid Sydney crowd with an unrelentless onslaught of pure hatred, while leaving nothing behind.

The first few months of the year are quite busy for the Sydney music-goer, whose options and choices range from the many festivals and their sideshows to the individual artists who are hitting our shores. One of those artists is Cleveland metal merchants Chimaira who, after a few visits supporting other bands, finally come out for a headlining tour of Australia. These guys did not disappoint.

Due to recently reunited metal legends Fear Factory playing down the road on the same night (and despite Chimaira being announced quite a while before), I wasn't sure how many people would be in attendance. But there were plenty of people there to see Chimaira.

Opening the proceedings were Melbourne four-piece Humonic who feature former Damaged/Terrorrust drummer Matt 'Skitz' Sanders within their ranks, their material was a mixture of grind, thrash and a bit of hardcore (which was interestingly performed without a bassist) and got the punters who were inside already fired up for what was to come. Their set was not too bad, but it tended to sound a bit of the same after a while. Interesting thing was that they did not havbe  Although having some diversity is always good on a metal bill, Humonic really seemed like the odd band out compared to the main support and headliner.

Next up were the national support, Adelaide's own Double Dragon who delivered a blistering set of their brand of metal and the growing crowd were quite appreciative and responsive. Due to hard amounts of touring, it seems that they get better with every gig, their playing was tight and frontman Lee Gardiner is quite affable and charismatic up on the stage, and really got the crowd going. As enjoyable as it was, the mix was a bit hit and miss at times but DD's set really seemed to fly by. They played a mixture of older material from their album Devastator and some newer material from their upcoming album, which proves to be quite promising and translates well to their live set, it also seemed that they may have gained some new fans after their performance as well.

After the changeover, the room started to fill up with a lot more people, then the lights dropped and the introduction of the crushing opener The Venom Inside started to play over the PA, the crowd amped up and Chimaira hit the stage for a long overdue headlining set to a rabid crowd in a sea of black t-shirts, headbanging and moshing.

Even with the darkened stage and strobe lighting, it was easy to see why Chimaira are considered one of the shining lights in today's modern metal scene and the set absolutely slayed from the beginning to the end, playing a bit of everything. The set-list ranged from older material such as Severed, Power Trip, Cleansation, Pure Hatred, Nothing Remains and Salvation, to newer material such as Secrets Of The Dead, On Broken Glass, The Flame, Resurrection and Worthless. The closing 10-minute instrumental piece Implements Of Destruction, which is impressive on CD, but takes on another element live, was an excellent choice for a closer as it gave the crowd a chance to soak in Chimaira's musicianship.

Despite the mix being a bit off in the first few songs, the band sounded excellent and it was extremely tight in its performance. Guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries' riffs were precise and mechanical and Arnold's lead work was fluid and technical, bassist Jim LaMarca kept the low end rumbling while being quite animated and drummer Andols Herrick is a freak behind the kit, despite screwing the start up of one of the songs. Sampler/keyboardist Chris Spicuzza adds his own twist on the material with some off the wall sounds and bass drops which gives Chimaira another dimension compared to a lot of their peers. Frontman Mark Hunter is an angry and dominant frontman (and additional guitarist during Implements Of Destruction) who got the crowd going by getting circle pits and people jumping, while at other times, you could not wipe the smile from his face. The whole band as they looked honoured with the reception they got from the Sydney crowd which hopefully warrants another visit on their next album cycle.

Once Chimaira finished their onslaught, the crowd went yelling and shouting into the night. The fans were satisfied, casuals were converted and nay-sayers were proved wrong. Let's hope Chimaira stick to what they are doing: putting out solid albums and delivering one hell of a live show.