There are reunions that we all want and then there are those that just happen. I don’t want to put words in my fellow musics fans mouths, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in saying that Coal Chamber fall into the latter category. It may just be that I missed them first time round, I was eleven when they broke up, but I just don’t care.
Despite my apathy, there obviously is a demand for Dez Fafara’s first band and they are back with a new album, Rivals. Which quite frankly sounds like Coal Chamber. Other bands might feel the need to come back and reinvent themselves or do something new, but apparently that memo left these guys behind, because they are still doing the exact same thing that they were doing when they called this a day.
What that means to you, will presumably depend on how much you like Coal Chamber and how much you feel that their first three albums didn’t give you enough of that. If you still go loco to ‘Loco’ then maybe this is the album for you. It is jammed full of bouncy riffs and Dez doing his thing over the top. Even the most cynical critic will find it hard to not bang their head to ‘Bad Blood Between Us’.
However, it does all leave you wondering whether this is it? In the last thirteen years, has absolutely nothing happened to these guys that might make them want to say something a bit different? As ‘The Bridges You Burn’ declares that ‘If I start now I don’t know where it will end or what it will become’ it’s hard not to think, fair enough, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that before. Coal Chamber may as well have never been away and it leaves Rivals feeling a lot more cynical than it necessarily is.
Simply put, there is very little wrong with Rivals and in fact, I liked it a lot more than I expected to. It’s fun and sometimes that is all music needs to be. Will I go back to it? No and I honestly don’t know who out there will. It is fun to shout along to tracks like ‘Another Nail in the Coffin’, but the second it is over it is over. There’s nothing here that sticks around and it ultimately makes this album just feel like filler. Coal Chamber may well be back, but it’s safe to say it is with a whimper rather than a roar.