Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "I.O.U Nothing"

Rating out of 10

Coal Chamber – Rivals

Release Date: 19th May 2015
Napalm Records

Another band with a high profile return in the metal scene is Coal Chamber. Having split in 2003, it seemed destined that we were never going to hear from the Nu Metal outfit again. In fact, for such a long time frontman Dez Fafara was completely against the idea as he recorded 6 albums with his new band DevilDriver. Clearly something changed as the band reformed in 2011 to play various festivals and 4 years later we have ‘Rivals.

From the initial listen, the first couple of tracks on this new Coal Chamber album, ‘I.O.U Nothing‘ and ‘Bad Blood Between Us‘ both just sound like a simplified DevilDriver release with a slight industrial twist to it. It’s definitely that “Boots and Cats” style beat in ‘Bad Blood Between Us‘ that gives it that industrial feeling, though Fafara’s distinctive voice also has more of that “cut throat roar” feel to it that he used for DevilDriver, instead of the creepy,  unnatural sounding vocal style he used for the majority of his time in Coal Chamber.

Light in the Shadows‘ however does take us back to the Coal Chamber of old as Fafara uses that creepy voice and restores that eeriness to their nu/industrial metal mashup sound. Fafara switches between the two vocal styles throughout the album to match the mood of the music; the harsh vocals for the heavier grooves and the creepy twinge for the more atmospheric sections. Title track ‘Rivals‘ mixes the 2 styles perfectly with a soft, almost spine-chilling feel to the song throughout the verse. The twang of the guitar’s melody certainly helps the mood alongside the somewhat unearthly vocals. Then the riffs get instantly heavier for the chorus as “RIVALS” is repeatedly shouted by Dez in the monstrous way that we’ve come to recognise from him in recent years.

Quite simply, this new long awaited release from the Los Angeles 4-piece will get your heads banging, the pits moving and fans shouting along to the somewhat repetitive but catchy choruses that are easy to pick up o,n in tracks like the title track and ‘Worst Enemy‘.

Rivals‘ is a heavier album than anything they have released before and it is closer to being a straight up metal album than the cornered niches of nu metal and industrial (though the influences are still there). On a whole, ‘Rivals‘ is a pretty solid comeback! After 13 years without releasing any new material, Coal Chamber show they still have what it takes to make a decent album by mixing nostalgic styles with a few newer influences and staying relevant to current trends.