Although they have been the ever-lasting image of Nu-metal (every jibe aimed at the Million$ selling genre will either be accompanied by a picture of Coal Chamber or that photo of Robb Flynn in his best red tracksuit) Coal Chamber never made it to the premier league of their craft. Sure they had ‘Loco’ and a handful of cool tracks but they burnt out as fast as the Big Truck rolled onto the scene.
So what are they doing back here, then?
Well, despite reports to the contrary… quite a lot of people are fond of their Nu-metal years. A whole generation of metalheads who now listen to Lamb Of God and Mastodon on heavy rotation were hooked in through Durst, Shaddix and the rest of them. And whether it be a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder or not; nothing ever sounds as good as those first bands you got into when you were still at school.
But however cynical you want to be, there’s no point coming back for more than 5 minutes if you have nothing new to offer.
‘Rivals’ comes to us well over a decade after we last heard anything new from CC. Having tested the water last year with some re-union shows, the band have gone all-in and come back with a new album. A brave decision for Dez who has seemingly been trying to rid himself of the Coal Chamber scars in favour of an all-out metal overlord image ever since CC first disappeared.
‘I.O.U. Nothing’ crashes through the speakers like they’ve never been away. A down-tuned guitar riff and Dez’s familiar throaty growl make-up a typically simple Coal Chamber song to get things started. ‘Bad Blood Between Us’ bounces off in another through and through Nu-metal patented direction and we start to see where this is going…
‘Suffer in Silence’ has a guitar tone that screams 2001 and there’s lots of crunchy guitar on here that rekindle the flame of the new millennium. ‘Another Nail in the Coffin’ has a galloping groove on it until Dez flattens it with his fierce vocal delivery. You can’t fault Coal Chamber for getting back in the mind-set but… the songs just aren’t that memorable. There’s not a lot here to rival their biggest hits and there won’t be many of these tracks being eagerly awaited on the upcoming tour.
For those out there who have been craving a new Coal Chamber album, this will fit the bill just nicely. It is a natural continuation of what the band were doing before they went their separate ways. ‘Rivals’ isn’t going to convert many to the cause however. This is very much a re-union for the fans and if you weren’t going Loco the first time, then this isn’t going to change your mind.