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CHIMAIRA NEWS ROUND-UP: MARK HUNTER HURTS HIS ANKLE, NEW MEMBERS ANNOUNCED, FREE REMIX EP

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So it looks like Chimaira kept pretty busy while we were away.

First: as announced in November, last week’s twelfth annual Chimaira Christmas marked the band’s final performance with guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries. And, unfortunately, DeVries’ parting gift to vocalist Mark Hunter — who is now the band’s sole remaining original member — was to knock him over in the middle of “The Age of Hell,” resulting in Hunter taking a nasty spill and spraining his ankle. You can watch video of the incident below courtesy of The PRP (the fall comes just after the 1:18 mark), and see a photo of Hunter’s swollen ankle here.

Potentially better news is that while Hunter had thus far remained mum on his plans for Chimaira’s future, the band has since announced replacements for Arnold and DeVries.

In news that should shock exactly no one, Dååth lead guitairst Emil Werstler — who has been handling bass duties in Chimaira for the past year or so — will now slide over and take Arnold’s spot. Werstler is an amazing, amazing, AMAZING guitar player, so as much as it sucks to lose Arnold, who wrote many of Chimaira’s most famous riffs, it’s hard to be too bummed out by the addition of such a fantastic replacement.

Meanwhile, Werstler’s now-vacated bass spot will be filled by Dååth’s Jeremy Creamer… which means that Eyal Levi is now the only member of Dååth who has never been in Chimaira (Dååth vocalist Sean Z. is currently acting as Chimaira’s keyboard player, while Dååth drummer Kevin Talley recorded and toured with Chimaira for their 2004 self-titled release). Again, hard to be too bummed by this news — Creamer is a great bass player.

And finally, Matt Szlachta, formerly of Dirge Within, will be taking over the second guitarist spot from DeVries. Szlachta is the biggest question mark in my book, and not just because I can’t figure out how to pronounce his last name. ‘Cause I really, really do not like Dirge Within. But I also have absolutely no idea if Szlachta actually wrote any of that band’s material or what. And it’s not like Chimaira is suddenly gonna start performing DW songs on the road, so whatever I guess.

No no no, I have doubt these dudes can all make old Chimaira material sound great on the road. The real issue — and we may not know the answer to this for some time, if ever — is whether or not these new members can help Hunter make a new Chimaira album that lives up the legacy the original line-up has left behind. I guess we need to wait and see.

And as if all of this wasn’t enough for you, the band is currently giving away a free The Age of Hell remix EP right here, which includes versions of songs from that album as re-imagined by Hunter, Sean Z., and Creamer. I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, but a) it’s free so why wouldn’t you at least download it? and b) The Age of Hell was one of my favorite albums of 2011, so I’m curious to hear what these dudes came up with. Get it here.

-AR

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