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Published: Friday, 4/15/2005

Rockers churn out music with attitude

Cleveland band Chimaira encourages audiences to scream along:  I hate everyone. 
Cleveland band Chimaira encourages audiences to scream along: I hate everyone.

Consider this a warning:

The degree of sheer metal mayhem that will be on the stage at Headliners Tuesday night make ultra-hard rockers like Black Sabbath and Metallica sound like soft rockers.

Not to take anything away from the veteran purveyors and inventors of hard rock, but metal has evolved to a point that bands like Chimaira and Trivium are so relentless in their attack - so fast, precise, and nasty - that they make the old guys sound like, well, old guys.

Start with the headliner Chimaira, a Cleveland band that goes through drummers like Spinal Tap. Unlike the fictional band, though, their stick men don't die from contrived misadventures. Judging from the revealing band documentary, The Dehumanizing Process, they just wander around in parking lots, pondering the meaning of life before quitting the band, or engage in frightening fits of anger before bailing.

Chimaira (pronounced kim-ear-uh) prevails, though, thanks to a refreshingly professional attitude among the remaining members and true commitment to their craft, which is brute force rock and roll loaded with big, mean hooks and riffs that never relent.

The band has a buzz right now, playing the most recent Ozzfest, appearing on numerous metal magazine covers, and touring with acts like Machine Head and Slipknot. Their live shows are lessons in organized chaos that are equal parts sweat and craft, with a nod to KISS in the guitar histrionics.

The fact they encourage their audience to scream "I hate everyone" is telling.

Trivium is a fierce band from Orlando, Fla., whose ability to make crisp, whiplash metal fueled by the flying fingers of guitarist and lead singer Matt Heafy is belied by their age. These guys are teenagers; their bio says they met in 2000 when they were in middle school.

The arrangements of the band's songs on the new disc "Ascendancy" are wound tight, alternately knocking you back in your seat before inspiring awe with their turn-on-a-dime ability to veer from pummeling to more intricate structures.

Heafy's a first-class screamer, as well a serious talent on lead guitar. Even better, the guy's only 18.

Both Chimaira and Trivium record on the Roadrunner label.

The lineup is rounded out by Stemm, a Buffalo, N.Y., group that has been building a steady following thanks to its reputation as a powerful live band, and DeadEven.

Tickets for Tuesday's 7 p.m. show at Headliners, 4500 North Detroit Ave., are $14 in advance and $17 the night of the show. They are available from Culture Clash, Allied Records, Freon Beats, and Ticketmaster. Information: 419-693-5300.

Contact Rod Lockwood at:rlockwood@theblade.com

or 419-724-6085.

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