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Album Reviews : Coal Chamber – Rivals

By on July 14, 2015

Coal-chamber-rivalsI never got down with the sickness of, or jumped the fuck up to, or was ready for, or broke anyone’s face to, Coal Chamber when they were at their peak. I just sort of missed them. When I found them a few years later (after they’d broken up), I had a bit of spookycore fling, but never found myself enjoying them to the point I’d dye my dreads blue, or get dreads at all. But what I always liked was the manic metaphorical colour they seemed to infuse their gothy sounds with; the songs sounded like a pissed off rainbow. Now the songs sound bored and tired.

It seems like nu metal is the genre that we can’t shake – it’s still bigger than thrash (arguably), but it never made way for metalcore, and now we’ve got Slipknot and Korn headlining festivals after questionable releases, and bands like System Of A Down reforming for… some reason. Probably money.

Coal Chamber sound like they don’t know why they got back together. Every song just sounds grey, plodding along to a slightly depressed tempo that lacks all the angsty flair of their original releases. It takes about four songs until it starts to sound even remotely silver-jeans-in-a-mosh-pit appropriate, and even then, it’s just kind of… dad-like. They eventually get back into some creepy and more introspective songs, but whether they don’t hold up on their own merits or it’s just the preceding 20 minutes souring the experience, they don’t give me the same cool vibe I got from their earlier albums maaaaaaaan.

It makes sense for festival headliners to reform; even if you don’t like them, someone does. And they can make a bunch of cash. But smaller bands reforming only makes sense if they don’t sound like they’re fucking doing it begrudgingly. Coal Chamber sound annoyed to be in my ears, and if that’s the case, then they can piss right off out of them.


Mitch is a 26 year old vegan, socialist, atheist, utilitarian, reductionist metalhead, stand up comedian and philosophy major that hates labels. When he isn't being politely ignored at dinner parties he's being politely ignored on comedy nights around the country.