Chimaira's Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter Reflects On Chimaira’s Past Rivalry With Ill Niño & Coining ‘New Wave Of American Heavy Metal’


Chimaira vocalist Mark Hunter has reflected on helping coin the genre movement known as the ‘New Wave Of American Heavy Metal’ back in 2001. After several years of chart-topping dominance, the nü-metal scene that ruled the late 90s had begun to lose steam as fans gravitated towards the then emergent metalcore and groove metal bands like Lamb Of God and Killswitch Engage that had begun their ascent.

With Chimaira themselves also evolving away from their nü-metal influences, they notably printed the aforementioned phrase on their shirts in 2001. Speaking recently with Metal Hammer recently for a retrospective on that scene, Hunter commented on the buzz phrase:

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“It was just a marketing trick. When I bought CDs back in the day, a lot of albums had a tag that said New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, and I thought it was really cool. I’d never seen anyone promote themselves that way over here.

We were working on [Chimaira’s second album] ‘The Impossibility Of Reason‘ at the time and transitioning from the ‘nu metal’ of ‘Pass Out Of Existence‘. We loved Morbid Angel, Deicide and Suffocation, so being labelled ‘nu metal’ stung a little bit. The marketing around Impossibility… became about being metal and this whole new feeling of it. Coincidentally, a lot of our peers were doing the same thing: they were starting a new feeling, a new movement, themselves.”

When asked if he ever felt any rivalry with their then labelmates at Roadrunner Records, Hunter offered:

“I felt that with Ill Niño. I remember thinking, ‘Son of a bitch! Not another band that tries hard and looks good!’ Ha ha! We were on Roadrunner at the same time and we could definitely see them getting preferential treatment. From a business perspective, Roadrunner were making the correct decision: Ill Niño had radio songs and they could do things with them above and beyond the metal scene. But, at the time, that really ground my gears.

Slipknot were the most fun I ever had with another band. Clown had an aversion to clocks. I was standing side-stage and saw him charging towards me with a fucking bat. I thought, ‘What’s happening here?!’, then BAM! He hit the clock next to me with his bat.”

Discussing why the band’s classic era lineup disintegrated around 2010-2012, Hunter stated:

“It started with Andols [Herrick, drums]. He’s always had these intermittent issues with health and insecurities about his playing. His performance started slipping. To our fault, we brought it up and gave him an ultimatum, which he didn’t take and just left. [Chris] Spicuzza, our keyboardist, didn’t care for how we handled it. Matt DeVries [rhythm guitar] moved and wasn’t a part of recording ‘The Age Of Hell‘, so he didn’t get paid for it and got mad. Rob [Arnold, lead guitar] and I weren’t on the same page in the studio.”

When asked if he experienced any backlash for rebuilding the band and soldiering on, Hunter responded:

“Worse: nobody was talking about it. We were out of the [conversation]: ‘Deathcore’s here. Who cares about those New Wave Of American Heavy Metal bands anymore? They’re all breaking up, who cares?’”

You can find the rest of the conversation with Hunter, which covers his own health issues, the potential for anymore reunion shows and more here.

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