In the new documentary Down Again (released today for World Mental Health Day and available for streaming for free here), Chimaira frontman Mark Hunter shares his personal story about how the band and making music have helped him deal with his personal struggles and bipolar disorder. The film juxtaposes Chimaira's history with Hunter's life events and lyrics, and features pro-shot live footage from the group's 2017 one-off reunion show.
"It's unfortunate to note the past couple of years have been tough on the music community," Hunter has said of the movie, directed by Nick Cavalier (Forced Perspective). "We lost a lot of talented people to their struggles with depression. I hope the viewers of our film will take away a story of healing and feel the impact of dealing with mental health issues head-on."
In line with that hope, we asked Hunter to participate in our ongoing "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day, in which artists share songs that have helped them through dark times. Below is what he offered up.
I love the melody on this song. On one hand, it sounds like something you could listen to on the beach while soaking up "some tasty waves and a cool buzz." But there's also a dark and lonely sadness to it. The way the guitars bend is melancholic. I can easily meditate and lose my thoughts to it.
I'm a bit of a soundtrack junkie. Especially ones that are droney and atmospheric and allow my mind to travel. I totally dig the space and gravity on this one. It's one of the coolest songs out there.
I don't think there's a sadder song on the planet. If you want to relate to another human who truly had deep inner pain and a powerful voice, this is the apex of the pyramid.
This is my breakup song. Not sure what the song is even about, to be honest. I barely know the lyrics. It just hit me during a bad breakup, and whenever things go south, or relationships fail, I tend to turn to it.
Breakup song No. 2, but when you're moving toward getting over it. This is that extra push. That "fuck you" I'm "moving on from the past" moment.
Sometimes you wanna crush the world but need a soundtrack to do it. I use this song when I lift heavy in the gym. There's nothing better for mental health and wellness than exercising.
Oh, what a surprise another soundtrack song. Epic is the only way to describe The Fountain soundtrack. And on a personal level in some ways, the movie mirrors life with my girlfriend who suffers from severe Crohn's disease. I used this track as an intro during the Chimaira reunion show as I thought the title was the perfect message.
I listened to this song a lot when trying to keep Chimaira alive. It had a positive message, but it also had a ton of different layers. I felt like I was always walking a fine line and this reminded me of it for some reason. Plus, I'm Metal Moses and "Exodus" hits home — haha.
If you're ever in a band and have to start over, this song is a good reminder that, in addition to being possible, it can be great. Strive for greatness if you get a second chance. The song itself lyrically doesn't mean anything to Phil, but it was a massive hit. Check out the story behind it.
There's no better song on the planet to cheer you up.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.