Crown Of Phantoms wasn't very good to my ears, simply because it was rather Daath feat. Mark rather than vice versa, and I'm not really a Daath fan. They traded in the hardcore-fueled thrash riffing for jazz proggy stuff. Meh. I much more liked The Age Of Hell for it's classical influences in Rob's guitar work.
I'm not a fan of The Age of Hell but Crown of Phantoms is a really great record. It just came at the very tail end of their career with only Mark and sounded like Daath (of course) with Mark on vocals. Like all Chimaira fans I miss the Resurrection era lineup but let's not forget how great Crown of Phantoms was.
I think what really happened is that the guys in Chimaira aged, and so did the music with them - they matured. The Age Of Hell is heavily bashed for whatever reasons, but then you look at the people who bash it and they're not usually very open-minded. Chimaira's last two albums were very different in style and direction, sure, but with an open mind they're still very good albums. Sadly most metalcore kids just seem to be listening to that music through "phases" or because that's what's popular atm. TAoH was very influenced by classical music, especially as far as Rob's guitar work go. It was just too light for the hardcore kids out there, and metalheads are mostly conservative up their own asses. It didn't help that most 2000's metalcore bands were exchanged in favor of more deathcore bands around 2010 or so either. And as far as band chem go, Mark Hunter always seemed to be somewhat of an ass. Just watch their DVD:s and see how he treated people. Rob seemed to be his counterpart.
Three things happened: 1) After Resurrection, they kinda lost some steam and put out some albums that were still good, just not self-titled/Resurrection top-tier metalcore good. 2) As a result of that, people just stopped going to their shows. They were having absolutely abysmal ticket sales, which is unusual considering that their music was MADE to be moshed to. 3) Mark Hunter was obviously getting older and more tired. His vocals post-Resurrection were far less angry, less passionate, less of a stand-out as before. Conflicts in the bands rose and his vocals weren't very good by the end. Chimaira has always had a volatile band roster outside of Mark (and previously Rob), so when the entire band fell apart yet again, he didn't have the motivation to rebuild the band yet again, especially after just one album. It's a shame, Year of the Snake was the best song they ever released and Crown of Phantoms was a step in the right direction. RIP :(
I believe that Chimaira, just like God Forbid, was simply too metal, too hardcore = too heavy for the big masses. They didn't have enough radio-friendly melodic guitar work or boy-band vocals like As I Lay Dying, for instance.
A sadly underrated band. Hugely influential to the American metal scene, but they suffered the worst kind of band death. People just stopped going to their shows, which is a huge shame. These guys have the fattest, heaviest, most brutal grooves I have ever heard.
Funny thing is that the only, to me, supposedly metalcore bands that I like or ever listened to (beyond like one or three songs) are Chimaira, Lamb of God and Machine Head, with mid-era Trivium thrown in as well. People always keep debating on the respective shoutbox whether those bands are metalcore or, for most part, not. I can agree that I don't view them as anything in particular but groove or (post-)thrash anyways, but these bands have still been heavily involved in the movement which has been labeled "metalcore". Now I'm certainly not a genre purist, I hate that stuff, but due to the fans of these bands often denying the metalcore tag, I certainly cannot put my finger on what "metalcore" can possibly be (like naming a band of the genre).
Well, Chimaira is more groove metal rather than metalcore... If you want something similar try Machine Head, especially first 2 albums. If you want metal blended with hardcore, you can also try Merauder or Hatebreed.