Roadrunner - 2005 - 54 minutes

Bludgeon metal is very difficult to play and just as hard to make memorable. Chimaira, the band who gave the New Wave of American Heavy Metal its name, have perfected the former, but on their third album the latter sounds a long way off.

Having built up a following and stockpiled the plaudits with 2002's 'The Impossibility of Reason', the Ohio sextet had free rein to take their sound in any direction they wanted. The one they've chosen is a masterclass in power and precision, but also predictable and tiresome.

Dispensing with the idea that you can lull a listener into submission, singer Mark Hunter and bandmates opt instead for relentless pummelling - and you're weary long before the end. While they couldn't raise the ferocity index any higher than opener 'Nothing Remains', they should have created more songs in the mould of 'Salvation' and experimented with pace and texture. Instead, you're as wise five minutes in as you are 45 later.

The most memorable albums from the most memorable outfits of the last 20 years - Metallica, Pantera, Slayer - had the ability to pull fans in different directions and had the same intensity whether slow or fast. Three albums in, Chimaira have played it too safe by being too savage - and have a long way to go if they want to scale the heights of their inspirations.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Nothing Remains - Save Ourselves - Inside The Horror - Salvation - Comatose - Left For Dead - Everything You - Bloodlust - Pray For All - Lazarus