Sunday, March 29, 2015

Coal Chamber at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Dez Fafara
Vocalist Bradley "Dez" Fafara and guitarist Miguel "Meegs" Rascón formed the band She's in Pain in 1992 in Los Angeles, California. Within two years, the duo moved into a more nu metal direction and formed Seal Chamber, soon to be renamed Coal Chamber. Coal Chamber was possibly the first darker-themed nu metal band, featuring a gothic image rather than the more common street image. Internal disputes, including a violent altercation onstage in Lubbock, Texas, fractured the band in 2003 after three albums. Fafara formed Devildriver and has so far recorded six albums with the band. Fafara and Rascón settled their differences in 2008, and began reforming Coal Chamber in 2011. Coal Chamber presently features its 2002-2003 line-up, with Fafara, Rascón, bassist Nadja Peulen and drummer Mikey Cox. Rivals, Coal Chamber's first album in 13 years, will be released on May 19, 2015.

Headlining at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom tonight, Coal Chamber rediscovered its mojo. The 15-song set pivoted on older work, introducing only two new songs: the first single, "I.O.U. Nothing," and the title track of the forthcoming album. The set included deep cuts and a few surprising omissions (no "Shock the Monkey," Coal Chamber's biggest radio song). Coming on stage to emergency-like flashing red lights, backed by three large video projection screens, Coal Chamber launched into the band's first two singles, 1997's "Loco" and 1998's "Big Truck." Fafara sang, rapped and screamed into a vintage-styled radio microphone, as Rascón and Peulen paced back and forth across the stage, alternately standing on risers or spinning around. Rascón tuned down his guitar and used flanger, phaser and delay effects for a gritty, hard and heavy sound; sometimes it crunched, and other times it leaned towards an industrial resonance. Overall, Coal Chamber successfully recaptured its crass and crude metal sound for a new generation of fans.

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