Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Coal Chamber at Irving Plaza

Dez Fafara
Vocalist Bradley "Dez" Fafara and guitarist Miguel "Meegs" Rascón formed the band She's in Pain in 1992 in Los Angeles, California. A year later, they formed the hard-rocking Coal Chamber, which recorded three well-received albums before disbanding in 2003. Fafara went on to lead Devildriver for six albums and also sang on movie soundtracks, while the other members tried unsuccessful music paths. Coal Chamber reunited in 2011 and presently consists of the familiar line-up of Fafara, Rascón, bassist Nadja Peulen and drummer Mike Cox. Coal Chamber's fourth studio album, Rivals, was released on May 19, 2015, and is the band's first studio album in 13 years.

Headlining at Irving Plaza tonight, Coal Chamber appeared on the dark stage to the sound of eerie sound effects. Once the four members were in position, Fafara greeted the audience, Cox started a hard drum beat, blinding strobe lights flashed into the audience from behind the band, a fast moving video image displayed on a large screen behind Cox, and the band was on its way to launching the set with the industrial rock sound of its oldest hit, "Loco." The band followed quickly with the heavy thudding "Big Truck." Starting with two older songs meant the veteran band was back, but then the blistering new track "I.O.U. Nothing" indicated that the band also came with a present and a promising future as well. Fafara's harsh growl and lion-like roar, along with Rascón's coarse and crunching guitar tones, crossed between brutal nu metal and industrial goth. The songs worked gritty headbanging grooves so fluidly that song endings seemed abrupt. The band commanded visual attention as well: the heavily tattooed, face-painted and nose-ringed singer worked the audience while howling into a vintage-looking microphone (and a digitally-lit megaphone on "Rowboat"), the mascaraed guitarist played to the edge of the stage, the bassist in the sexy dress spun around in circles with her long red hair leading the way, and the muscled, bare-chested drummer often played standing up. Coal Chamber closed with a rousing version of its anthemic "Sway." Coal Chamber's raw performance was much more dynamic than the band's more polished recordings, so hopefully the band will remain together for a while and live out its potential.

Visit Coal Chamber at www.coalchamberofficial.com.