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Chinchilla: The Last Millennium

The band's name may come from a small, burrowing South American rodent that looks like a cross between a squirrel and a hamster. But Chinchilla’s brand of Iron Maiden-meets-Blind-Guardian-by-way-of-Queensryche metal certainly shouldn’t be dismissed on the basis of an unfortunate name. In fact – despite The Last Millennium’s battled-drenched lyrics – Chinchilla’s fourth album (the second released in the States) is one of the most rousing metal albums I’ve heard in 2002.

These five Germans dabble in social commentary with the nuclear nightmare-filled “War Machine,” which also evokes memories of Sept. 11 (“I saw them clean this planet now with fire and their force/To create their holy humankind only under their control”), while “Nighttrain of Death” addresses the loss of humanity in war-ravaged countries (“Warmaniacs are on the run/Destroying countries with their guns/Children’s eyes fulfilled with fear/’Cause war sirens howlin’ for death"). Other songs tempt immortality (“Victims of the Night”), beg for final absolution (“Father Forgive Me”) and imagine Armageddon ("After the War"). This is heavy stuff, to be sure, but the subject matter of all these songs is overwhelmed by the music -- verses are loaded with melodic turns of phrase and adrenaline-rush choruses linger in your head long after your ears have absorbed them. About the only dud here is a questionable and out-of-place cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.”

The tight rhythm section of bassist Marc Peters and drummer Steffen Theurer, atmospheric keyboards courtesy of Marc Steck, and guitarist Ude Gerstenmeyer -- whose playing at times sounds like two or three guys -- provide a high-octane showcase for Thomas Laasch’s Hansi Kürsch-inspired vocals. Sadly, though, I’m willing to bet my neighbor’s cute little hamster that this album won’t be heard by nearly as many metal fans as it should.

Added: June 8th 2002
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Chinchilla's Official Web Site
Hits: 2796
Language: english

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