After a 13 year lapse, Devildriver front man Dez Fafara returns to his premier band Coal Chamber to release their third studio album, Rivals. In this 13 year hiatus, Coal Chamber maintains a lucrative Nu Metal sound on their new album. It is apparent and anticipated that Coal Chamber and Devildriver may carry similar vocal facets, but Rivals has much of the same sound and instrument qualities of some Devildriver albums.
The opening track “IOU Nothing,” also an exclusively released track, has vocal texture similar to their earlier single “Loco” off of their debut record. But it displays catchy hooks and chorus increasing to its appeal to make it easily the strongest track off the entire album. There are essentially, all heavy, fast and driving tracks throughout Rivals, but “Orion,” a brief 1:12 track in the middle of the album, seems to serve as a slightly less aggressive intermission track between heavier tracks. “Rivals,” the single and title track, applies provocative guitar effects in the verses and strong vocal growls in both low and high pitches. They illustrate diversion between relaxed verses and powerful bursts into the chorus, but there could have been a stronger single from the album.
Overall the latter half of Rivals is the most successful at sticking to the Coal Chamber Nu Metal sound. “Wait” and “Over My Head,” carry the listener through to the concluding track “Empty Handed.” Foundationally, Rivals is a considerable effort for a third studio album and a general gain for Coal Chamber. (Macie Bennett)