Released: 2003, Metal Blade
Owning one of the dumbest names in the history of metal, Chinchilla have surely suffered over the years. Naming yourself after a small smelly furry rodent-like creature is about un-metal as you can get. Unfortunately some people will judge a band on their look, name or album cover and dismiss a band arbitrarily. I have no doubt some fans have passed on this band because of their moniker. That is ultimately a shame because after 15 years and six releases, Chinchilla are a really kick-ass metal band and it is only in the new millennium that they are getting some of the exposure and recognition I feel they deserve.
I had heard of the band years ago but like many people I did not really get a chance to listen to them until they signed with Metal Blade and released their fourth CD MADNESS. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It is good to see Metal Blade wake up to the reality of the underground and start signing and championing real metal again. Metal Blade have helped take bands like Symphorce and Brainstorm to the next level and they have done it again with Chinchilla.
The packaging and presentation is well done with lyrics and credits, pictures and several computer animations. I’m not a big fan of computer animation covers (Jag Panzer) because they look, well cheap to me. The logo is a bit dull too. The band had a number of guest stars drop by, people from Mystic Force, Motorhead and Insanity and a handful of others who add back vocals. The production is thick and full and sounds great loud with lots of power, not too clean like some bands.
Madtropolis is thirteen tracks of fantastic classic heavy metal. Chinchilla is another of those bands I will point people too when they says, “Metal died in the 90’s”. The album is framed by two instrumental tracks, ‘The Arise of Madtropolis” and the closer ‘The Fall of Madtropolis’. At first glance I thought this might be a concept CD but it is not. Lyrically the band touches on a number of topics, money, power, music and catastrophe. This five piece German ensemble is firmly run by lead guitarist Udo Gerstenmeyer. He acts as guitarist, manager, promote, producer and he wrote almost all of the music and lyrics. One exception is the mid-tempo and extremely catchy power ballad called ‘Satellite’ that was written by the keyboardist, Artur Diessner. At track six it is placed perfectly on the album to break up what is an up-tempo and crunchy power metal album. It adds that extra dimension so the songs don’t all run together into a blur. The chorus is so catchy, I’d like to see him write more material.
One of my favorite tracks is called ‘Heavy Metal’. No, it is not a Priest, Hagar or Helloween cover tune. It is an original cut with lyrics praising the power and glory of metal. It doesn’t get any better than that. Many of the cuts have a solid and traditional metal sound,with lots of good solos, thundering drums, galloping riffs and keys used sparingly to good effect. Another excellent track is ‘When The Sand Darkens The Sun’, probably one of the more powerful tracks.
If you are one of those older Judas Priest, Iron Maiden fans who ask, “Where did all the traditional, conventional metal bands go”?, this is for you. No weepy chicks, no violins, no dudes in make-up hissing about the ancient winter frost, no rap, no core, no hairspray nad lipstick, just balls of steel, power metal and might. Visit their site at http://www.chinchilla.rocks.de.