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ALBUM REVIEW: Coal Chamber – Rivals

Photo Credit: Dan Santoni
Photo Credit: Dan Santoni

WORDS: Katie Needham

13 years after releasing album Dark Days and four years after reforming, Californian nu-metallers COAL CHAMBER are returning hard and heavy with the highly anticipated release of Rivals.

As song I.O.U Nothing opens the album, it is immediately clear that COAL CHAMBER have stuck to their old ways in that this track is absolutely oozing nu-metal. Drummer Mike Cox’s talents shine through along with bassist Nadja Peulen, who combined, keep the track insanely heavy and upbeat. For fans that have been around since the beginning, I.O.U Nothing is classic; filled to the brim with catchy riffs, up tempo heavy beats and angsty lyrics, it sounds like something you’d hear in a 90’s rock club.

Frontman Dez Fafara’s vocals appear to be on top form with the release of Rivals. Songs such as Light In The Shadows include a mass amount of nasty snarls in the chorus and haunting clean vocals throughout the rest, combined with heavy riffs from guitarist Miguel Rascon, providing a violent listening experience for fans.
Bassist Nadja Peulen consistently shows us just how well she can keep the rhythm going, with Bad Blood Between Us standing out the most; proving that taking the place of Rayna Foss many years ago was a priceless move. Thankfully for this album, the usage of fillers was kept to a bare minimum, unfortunately it seems they were put in the wrong places.

Final track Empty Handed proves that 13 songs are definitely plenty for this album. Keeping up with the consistency of the other tracks, Fafara’s vocals are still snarly as ever with repetitive lyrics, however, guitar work comes across much more intricate. With small, catchy riffs right before the chorus, this suddenly becomes a song that could quite easily end up stuck in your head. A great track it may be, Empty Handed didn’t quite seem to fit as a final track, with everything ending abruptly and heavily.

After so many years it would be expected that a new album would stand out and be different from old material, but overall Rivals shows that COAL CHAMBER did not want to stray far from their classic sound. Without a doubt it has incredible nu-metal influence and is consistently good, the only real difference being lyrical subject matter.

Rating: 7/10

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Rivals is available now via Napalm Records.

Coal Chamber are currently touring the UK in support of rivals

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