It has been over ten years since spookycore outfit Coal Chamber fell apart quite messily, with frontman Dez Fafara going on to form metal titans DevilDriver. Well, it’s now 2015 and, after announcing their return last year, Coal Chamber are back with their long-awaited new album, Rivals. So, have they recaptured their glory days with Rivals, or would it have been better to let this particular sleeping dog lie?

Well, having listened to Rivals, it’s fair to say that it sits closer to Fafara’s work with DevilDriver than it does the dayglo nu-metal of Coal Chamber. Placed somewhere in between the two, the material on Rivals is dark, in fact, it’s fucking dark. The riffs may have that repetitive nu-metal bounce but they’ve got that dirty, scum-under-the-fingernails, grime of DevilDriver and, as for Fafara’s lyrics, well, when he describes them as “saving him thousands in psychotherapy,” it’s hard not to see where he is coming from when you hear the brutal sneer of “The Bridges You Burn” or album opener “I.O.U. Nothing.” Elsewhere, “Orion” sounds like something Pantera would have spat out during Anselmo’s darker years whereas the title track of the album does show some Gothic leanings that will be familiar to fans of Coal Chamber’s latter day output.

With over ten years having passed since Coal Chamber split in 2003, Rivals is the sound of a band that have buried the hatchet and are ready to take up where they left off. Whether or notRivals is any indication of where the band were heading had they not imploded, it’s still worth a listen for fans of both the DevilDriver and Coal Chamber camps, and will make those who wrote the band off from day one sit up and take note that Coal Chamber are back.

Track Listing:

01. I.O.U. Nothing
02. Bad Blood Between Us
03. Light In The Shadows
04. Suffer In Silence
05. The Bridges You Burn
06. Orion
07. Another Nail The Coffin
08. Rivals
09. Wait
10. Dumpster Dive
11. Over My Head
12. Fade Away (Karma Never Forgets)
13. Empty Handed

Run Time: 41:42
Release Date: May 25, 2015

Check out the song “The Bridges You Burn” here.

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.