Sound Advice: Coal Chamber with Fear Factory, Jasta, Saint Ridley and Madlife

Saturday • Bogart’s

click to enlarge Coal Chamber
Coal Chamber

To hell with bachelors and bachelorettes dry-humping their way to faux decisions about potential partners for the rest of their lives (or the season). For real drama, we need a reality show about the travails of actual bands, and Coal Chamber would be a great featured act. Starting out an amazing 22 years ago, Coal Chamber was a wild Gothic/Nu Metal success with a dysfunctional “family” dynamic all at once and right from the start. Although the band was inactive for eight years, its confrontational passion has rarely abated.

In 1992, vocalist Dez Fafara and guitarist Miguel Rascon started She’s in Pain, reconfiguring and changing the name to Coal Chamber the following year. The band’s demos were championed by Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares, which helped secure Coal Chamber’s contract with Roadrunner, but Fafara left when he and his wife fought over his band membership. But then he left his wife and returned to Coal Chamber. The band released its eponymous debut album in 1997.

Two years later, Coal Chamber shifted to a more Gothic-Metal direction on sophomore album Chamber Music. Bassist Rayna Foss split before Chamber Music, marrying Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose and getting pregnant; she was replaced by touring bassist Nadja Peulen. Foss came back for Coal Chamber’s third and most accessible album, 2002’s Dark Days, but left to raise her daughter, and reportedly quit for good due to newfound religious convictions. During a show in Texas, Fafara and Rascon fought onstage, but reconciled in time for a summer tour; that fall, the band fired drummer Mike Cox, officially dismantling Coal Chamber after 2003’s demo/remix collection, Giving the Devil His Due.

Fafara formed DevilDriver in 2003, releasing six albums in seven years, while Peulen started a T-shirt company and Rascon and Cox played in several other bands. In 2008, Fafara and Rascon resolved their issues, and, three years later, revived Coal Chamber with Cox and bassist Chela Rhea Harper. In 2013, Peulen rejoined the lineup, and last year the band signed with Napalm Records, which released the fourth Coal Chamber record (and first in well over a decade), Rivals, in May.

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